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

Christian F.K. Schaller christian at fluendo.com
Wed Mar 28 04:43:19 PDT 2007

On Wed, 2007-03-28 at 16:57 +0900, Dave Singer wrote:
> At 19:28  +0200 27/03/07, Christian F.K. Schaller wrote:
> >
> >That is a matter of perception. Flash player which is the de-facto
> >standard at this point provides support on at least linux, windows and
> >Mac. We do risk that if this element is provided it could replace
> >Flash video with something that only supports Windows/Mac like Quicktime
> >or Windows only like Windows Media. So this could turn out to be a step
> >backward for interoperability. And I do prefer Adobe as a neutral broker
> >to be our 'evil overlords' if that is the choice given than someone like
> >Microsoft or Apple which has a their operating system platforms to push
> >and thus has an inherent interest to make life hard for Linux and
> >Solaris users.
> I have a hard time believing what I am reading here.  A new video tag 
> cannot 'replace' flash support unless Adobe wishes it. 

I must have been more unclear here than I thought. So let me rephrase.
If people today want to put video inside a web page the de-facto
standard for doing so today is using flash video because  

a) Flash is very widely deployed so you don't need your users to
download something to view the video

b) its available accross all desktop platforms.

c) its fairly easy to make a nice looking 'player' gui to embedd in your
webpage using Flash.

If the video element becomes widely deployed then a lot of content
providers could decide that it is a better way to push their content
than using Flash video and either switch or if they are just starting
out just target this instead. Thus the market would replace the use of
Flash video with this video tag, no need for Adobe's permission.

So to make it clear I was not claiming that this video tag would replace
flash video inside flash or whatever you managed to think I was saying.

>  Apple has 
> neither power or desire to stop people implementing the video tag on 
> any platform, and indeed the whole point in helping develop open 
> standards is tyhat we want there to be broad support and 
> interoperability. 

Well so my point is that if this standard do not specify a free codec
set like Theora, Vorbis or Dirac as its baseline then it will up to the 
vendors out there to define the standard codecs through supporting them,
just like jpeg, gif and png are the de-facto standard image formats
today even though they not defined in the current specs. 

The chance is that with this standard not specifying any codecs the most
likely candidates for becoming de-facto standard is either a WMA/WMV/ASF
combo or a MOV/H264/AAC combo, as those are the options that will be
pushed by Apple and Microsoft.

But at least if Apple is willing to go out and state that Apple will
never sue anyone for trying to support the de-facto format on non-Apple
platforms even if it requires Apple IPR related to the media container
format and codecs that would be a good first step.

>  In many places, we openly encourage companies to 
> implement standards, or we open-source software to make it easy 
> (webkit, Darwin Streaming Server, to name but two).  Our interest in 
> multi-vendor multimedia standards is deep and long-lasting, 
> interoperable, and very open.
> Really, conspiracy theories are out of place here, please.

Not sure I agree that assuming that Apple's business philosophy is not
based upon altruism qualifies as a conspiracy theory :)


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