[whatwg] Codecs for <audio> and <video>

Philip Jägenstedt philipj at opera.com
Wed Jul 1 10:01:02 PDT 2009

On Wed, 01 Jul 2009 18:29:17 +0200, Peter Kasting <pkasting at google.com>  

> On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 2:41 AM, Anne van Kesteren <annevk at opera.com>  
> wrote:
>> On Tue, 30 Jun 2009 21:39:05 +0200, Peter Kasting <pkasting at google.com>
>> wrote:
>>> There is no other reason to put a codec in the spec -- the primary  
>>> reason
>>> to spec a behavior (to document vendor consensus) does not apply.   
>>> "Some
>>> vendors agreed, and some objected violently" is not "consensus".
>> The "vendor consensus" line of argument seems like a very dangerous
>> slippery slope. It would mean that whenever a vendor refuses to  
>> implement
>> something it has to be taken out of the specification. I.e. giving a  
>> single
>> vendor veto power over the documentation of the Web Platform. Not good  
>> at
>> all in my opinion.
> I am merely echoing Hixie; from his original email in this thread:
>> > At the end of the day, the browser vendors have a very effective
>> > absolute veto on anything in the browser specs,
>> You mean they have the power to derail a spec?
> They have the power to not implement the spec, turning the spec from a
> useful description of implementations into a work of fiction.
>> That's something I would have considered before the advent of Mozilla
>> Firefox.
> Mozilla also has the power of veto here. For example, if we required that
> the browsers implement H.264, and Mozilla did not, then the spec would be
> just as equally fictional as it would be if today we required Theora.
> My sole goal was to try and point out that the situation with codecs is  
> not
> equivalent to past cases where vendors merely _hadn't implemented_ part  
> of
> the spec; in this case vendors have _actively refused_ to implement  
> support
> for various codecs (Apple with Theora and Mozilla(/Opera?) with H.264).
> PK

That is correct, we consider H.264 to be incompatible with the open web  
platform due to its patent licensing. For the time being we will support  
Ogg Vorbis/Theora, which is the best option patent-wise and neck-in-neck  
with the competition in the quality-per-bit section (especially with  
recent encoder improvements). We would love to see it as the baseline for  
HTML5, but in the absense of that hope that the web community will push it  
hard enough so that it becomes the de-facto standard.

Philip Jägenstedt
Core Developer
Opera Software

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