[whatwg] Some <video> questions

James Graham jg307 at cam.ac.uk
Tue Jan 29 15:20:28 PST 2008

Charles wrote:
>> [James]  Can you explain it again, because I'm not sure I fully
>> understand what you're trying to say and I don't seem to be the
>> only one.
> The <video> element doesn't appear solve the problem of how to embed video
> content in a player- and browser- agnostic fashion.
> HTML 5 provides an opportunity to normalize how video embedding is done for
> most scenarios, making it as easy to embed video as it is an image.  But as
> designed, <video> appears to only address an as-yet-undiscovered combination
> of container and media formats.
> This seems like a missed opportunity at best.  Technically, it doesn't seem
> like it'd be difficult to allow various media runtimes to register as
> first-class <video> clients
I'm not sure exactly what you want the spec to say here (perhaps because 
I'm no clear what a "media runtime" is - is a codec a media runtime? Is 
Flash? Is a Java applet? Is the mplayer plugin?).

Since browsers are free to implement native <video> support with a 
pluggable backend (which, indeed,  WebKit is doing by leveraging 
Quicktime and which Opera and Mozilla could in principle do by using 
e.g. gStreamer), registering different codecs to provide first-class 
video clients is already possible. A good implementation would prompt 
for codec download when no suitable installed codecs were found.

However I get the impression that this is not what you are after. Are 
you looking for a way for plugins, rather than the browser itself, to 
handle <video>? If so, why? It seems to me that plugins are limited in 
scope and provide a poor user experience compared to native support and 
it's not clear what advantages they would have.

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