[whatwg] The issue of interoperability of the <video> element

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmx.net
Tue Jun 26 09:46:17 PDT 2007

Jerason Banes schrieb:
>     * The spec can specify Theora as the baseline, very few browsers
>       will implement it, few users will use it (due to a lack of
>       support), and thus the intent of standardizing on a free format
>       will be lost.

Opera and Mozilla already have implemented (early) Ogg Vorbis and Ogg
Theora support.

Plus "what is lack of support"? Encoding apps for Ogg Theora are
available on basically every platforms, as are players (yes, even
Windows Media Player and QuickTime player can play it with the fitting
components installed, same goes for RealPlayer). It's absolutely trivial
to encode content for it.

>     * The spec can be practical about implementing the <video> tag and
>       specify H.263 or MPEG4 as a baseline. Existing multimedia toolkits
>       can be reused in implementation and thus all browsers can support
>       the standard. Users will use the format thanks to ubiquitous
>       support. The "tax" will be a non-issue in most cases despite
>       leaving a bad taste in the standard committee's mouth. Up and
>       coming browsers can choose not to implement that part of the
>       standard if they so choose or piggyback on an existing media
>       player's licensing.

Free Software like Mozilla cannot implement MPEG4 or H.263 and still
stay free. The "tax" *is* an issue because you can't buy a "community
license" that is valid for all uses.

Plus even if you implement H.263 or MPEG4 video - what audio codec
should be used with that? Creating valid MPEG streams would mean using a
MPEG audio codec - that'd be e.g. MP3 or AAC. Additional licensing costs
and additional un-freeness.

Don't get me wrong: MPEG technology is nice and well performing - but
the licensing makes implementations in free software impossible (or at
least prevents distribution in e.g. Europe or North America).

Maik Merten

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