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HTML 5 and the <video> tag!

July 11th, 2009

With Firefox 3.5, we get our first real chance to use the <video> tag. And man, it is awesome. If you’re using IE, Firefox 3.0, or Chrome, you won’t be able to see it. It seems there’s all kinds of debate about the codecs that the browser should support. Right now, Firefox uses ogg theora/vorbis.

Apple is apparently complaining about the ogg format. They say there are possible patent issues they want to avoid which is a weird claim since ogg is specifically designed to be free of such restrictions. More likely, they want to implement their own proprietary .mov format or possibly mp4. Either way, I’m sure it boils down to Apple wanting more money. This would also hamper open source project’s ability to use the video tag since there is no way to license the corporate proprietary formats.

Microsoft is strangely quiet about the whole thing. I’m guessing they’ll put out only WMV support and call it a wrap. They may just embed WMP into the webpage to handle the player. I wonder how long it will take to initialize that.

Anyhow, here is the video tag in action (OGG Theora variable bit rate, Vorbis: 96kb/s 2 channel):

Hopefully Sam and The Chin won’t mind me using this clip for a demonstration.

On a side note, is there a way to make Windows Media Player play H.264 encoded movies? Does it not support that capability?

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