Google has just picked a side in the fight over the supposed “standardization” of the HTML5 video tag. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it’s supposed to eliminate the browser plug-ins required to play video at the present time.
As I mentioned in a previous post (HTML5 – Easy On Them, Tough On You), browser companies are fighting over supported video formats that they will use as their standard.
For HTML5, Apple Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 will support the H.264 codec in MP4 video while Mozilla Firefox and now Google Chrome opt for Ogg Theora, with Google Chrome also supporting it’s own preference, WebM (VP8).
According to Google
Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.
These changes will occur in the next couple months but we are announcing them now to give content publishers and developers using HTML <video> an opportunity to make any necessary changes to their sites.
Make any necessary changes? And Google still hasn’t said if they will be supporting plug-ins that allow H.264 to play in their browser, since it’s not what Google and Mozilla consider “open codecs”. Plug-ins? I thought HTML5 was supposed to cure that.
All this infighting is placing a huge burden on webmasters all over the world! Now, instead of the old way of streaming video (a Flash player/container with either an FLV or MP4 video in it) we now have to create TWO videos, PLUS code that figures out which browser your visitor is using so it can stream the proper video, PLUS fallback code and/or video for those with older browsers PLUS maybe code for smartphones and THEIR OWN specially sized video. Sheesh!
I’m still looking for a web video player that will reliably do all that.
In the meantime I recommend publishing your videos to YouTube and, if you want, embedding them into your site. EVERY browser will play YouTube videos or face the wrath of web surfers.
For those of you, like me, with videos inside membership sites that can’t use YouTube, all I can say is I’ll keep you posted.
Google Chrome to drop H.264 support; roadblock to HTML5?
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