[whatwg] on codecs in a 'video' tag.

Dave Singer singer at apple.com
Mon Mar 26 18:18:04 PDT 2007


sorry I wasn't responding last week;  I was out of the office, 
catching up today.  Thanks for all the comments!

On the question of whether a video or audio tag should mention the 
codecs:  we're really very supportive of the need for convergence and 
interoperability.  For example, I took a video iPod to an MPEG 
meeting a week or two after its intro, and at the meeting I got five 
companies, using their own H.264 and AAC and file format 
implementations, to build files that would play on it.  We've 
actively helped 3rd parties be compatible with the iPod and iTunes. 
We really do believe in this stuff.

We also have been sometimes openly critical of licensing terms and 
problems around codecs;  we supported the attempt to get a a 
royalty-free baseline for H.264, for example.  We recognize the value 
of research and invention, but we also realize that to realize a 
value from a use of those inventions, the use has to happen and make 
business sense.  It's a balance...

So, in a sense, you are arguing with friends;  we agree on the goal - 
interop and convergence - and maybe disagree on how to get there.  We 
do feel, however, that the HTML spec. is not the place to achieve it 
in video and audio.  Some have cited the SVG spec. and its mandate of 
Ogg, and broad adoption of SVG in mobile, as a positive example.  But 
alas, all this mandate did was cause 3GPP to write in their streaming 
spec., where SVG use is defined:

NOTE 2:	Only codecs and MIME media types supported by PSS, as 
specified in clause 7 and in subclause 5.4, respectively, shall be 
used. In particular, PSS clients are not required to support the Ogg 
Vorbis format.

We really feel that the HTML spec. should say no more about video and 
audio formats than it does about image formats (which is merely to 
give examples), and we should strive independently for audio/video 
convergence.  We'd really like to discuss the 'meat' of the proposal 
-- the tags, the CSS, and so on!

By the way, these three bodies are quite distinct:
1. MPEG, a working group of the joint ISO/IEC technical committee, 
that sets standards
2. MPEGIF, an industry forum that exists to promote MPEG standards
3. MPEG-LA, a commercial entity who represent a pool of IPR owners 
for licensing associated with some MPEG standards

Hope this helps...
David Singer
Apple Computer/QuickTime
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