[whatwg] H.264-in-<video> vs plugin APIs

Gregory Maxwell gmaxwell at gmail.com
Sat Jun 13 12:47:12 PDT 2009

On Sat, Jun 13, 2009 at 3:06 PM, Frank Hellenkamp<jonas at depagecms.net> wrote:
> Well, the thing is (perhabs unfortunately because of patents and
> liscensing) that you can use h264 with the video tag (in safari and
> chrome), but at the same time you can send the same video to every old
> browser with the flash player 9 or 10, because it also supports h264,
> which means IE 6/7/8, old Safari, Firefox, Opera etc.
> And there is the iPhone and Android.
> With Theora, you cannot do this.
> All in all it looks like, it's very hard to beat h246 at the moment.

Although you *can* use the Theora file in every browser that has a
working JVM and a little surplus of cpu cycles.

For example: http://www.celt-codec.org/presentations/  <  A small bit
of easily added JS automatically replaces the video tag with an
alternative Theora player when video will not work.

It's also theoretically possible to also serve modern systems with
Flash 10 in this manner, but no one has written the software yet. (The
Vorbis support is done, the Theora support has not yet been done)
Unfortunately, though perhaps not surprisingly, the intersection of
people who care about open video standards and competent low level
flash applet developers appears to be the empty set.

Even old versions Safari, IE, firefox, etc also gain the ability gain
the ability to play Ogg/Theora if the user downloads and installs a
plugin (i.e. VLC; or a JVM for the above mentioned java approach).
Far from ideal— but the user installing a plugin is exactly how those
older systems got flash, so we have an existence proof.

I don't disagree that the current solution set for Theora has gaps,
but it's not as simple as "it can't do that" as you make it sound.


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