Robert J Crisler
rcrisler1 at unl.edu
Mon Mar 31 09:04:44 PDT 2008
I notice that HTML5's video section is incomplete and lacking.
The text under 188.8.131.52 could have been written ten years ago:
"It would be helpful for interoperability if all browsers could
support the same codecs. However, there are no known codecs that
satisfy all the current players: we need a codec that is known to not
require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with
the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to
be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for
large companies. This is an ongoing issue and this section will be
updated once more information is available."
The time has come for the W3C to swallow a bit of pride and cede this
control, this area, to the Motion Picture Experts Group. While MPEG
does not produce a codec that is free of any licensing constraints,
the organization has produced a codec, actually several, that are
world standards. You may have a digital cable or satellite service
(that's MPEG-2 or MPEG-4). You may have a DVD player (MPEG-2), or a
Blu-Ray player (MPEG-4). You may have an iPod (MPEG-4). And you may
have heard of MP3.
The time has come for the W3C, despite misgivings, to support an ISO/
IEC organization that is charged with the development of video and
audio encoding standards. We can't have a separate set of standards
for web distribution. It simply complicates workflows and stunts any
potential transition to the web as the dominant distribution mechanism
for such media.
Whatever the misgivings, it's time to say that the ISO/IEC standards
are preferable to proprietary codecs (Windows Media, Flash), and that
MPEG-4 AVC is recommended over other codecs for video. It would be
really great if an intrepid group of smart people were to come up with
something technically superior to MPEG-4, make it a world standard for
encoding audio and video, and make it available without any patent or
royalty constraints. That has not happened, despite some strong
efforts particularly from the OGG people, and it's time to acknowledge
that fact and stop holding out.
Again, the W3C should cede these issues to the ISO/IEC standards
organization set up for the purpose of defining world standards in
video and audio compression and decompression.
Robert J Crisler
Manager, Internet and Interactive Media
UNL | University Communications
321 Canfield Administration Building
Lincoln, NE 68588-0424
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