[whatwg] Codecs (was Re: Apple Proposal for Timed Media Elements)

Maik Merten maikmerten at gmx.net
Thu Mar 22 03:37:35 PDT 2007

Maciej Stachowiak schrieb:
> - As mentioned above, some devices may have a much harder time
> implementing Ogg than other codecs. Although a SHOULD-level requirement
> would excuse them, I'm not sure it's appropriate to have it if it might
> be invoked often.

Ogg Theora decoding has been demonstrated on a wide range of platforms,
including lower-end ARM hardware - and that's with ignoring all the DSP
and SIMD extensions the more funky ARM things have.

I'd be surprised if there was a device capable driving a reasonable
browser that couldn't somehow get Theora working.

> - Although the Ogg codecs don't have known patents that aren't RF
> licensed, it's not completely clear that none of the patents out there
> on video/audio encoding apply. Often, parties holding a submarine patent
> wait for a company with very deep pockets (like Apple, or Microsoft, or
> Google) to infringe on the patent before they sue. On the other hand,
> MPEG codecs have been implemented by many large corporations already,
> and no patents have appeared besides the ones that can be licensed from
> MPEG-LA for a fee. So, ironically, for a large company that has no
> problem the patent fees, Ogg may carry more patent risk than MPEG.

Theora was based on VP3, which was a commercial codec developed by On2.
VP6 is also based on VP3, so it seems (through VP4 and VP5) and is
widely deployed by Adobe in form of the Flash players. If submarines are
out there now would be a pretty good time to get after On2 and Adobe.

MPEG-LA gives zero security against submarine patents. Just ask
Microsoft what licensing MP3 did to increase their security. Plus big
parts of the free software world just can't pay the fees or are against
the very idea of having to license patents.

Anyway, trying to decide upon a codec by looking at submarine patents is
plain impossible by its very nature.

So instead of trying to avoid submarines the companies with deep pockets
should lobby a complete redesign of the patent system. Sooner or later
they'll get hit - if not by video codecs than by something else.

> - Placing requirements on format support would be unprecedented for HTML
> specifications, which generally leave this up to the UA, with de facto
> baseline support being decided by the market.

Unprecedented perhaps. That doesn't mean it doesn't make sense.

If there is no baseline format most browsers on most platforms can
support the whole idea of <video> becomes 100% uninteresting.

> We are very sympathetic to the desire for interoperability, and we would
> really like there to be a codec that every browser can feel comfortable
> implementing. But we are not sure such a codec exists at this time
> (except for really primitive things, if you want to count animated GIF
> or APNG as video codecs).

In case you can't be convinced there is a a suitable format what do you
propose? Dropping <video>?

More information about the whatwg mailing list