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Microsoft Gives Firefox an HTML5 Video Upgrade

By - Source: Cnet | B 38 comments

Microsoft's helping out the non-Internet Explorer browser.

The next web video standards, particularly in HTML5, are not totally united. While the many of the browsers support H.264, such as Safari and Internet Explorer, Mozilla has chosen to not use H.264 due to its potential patent fees (even though it's supposed to be license-fee free for the foreseeable future).

This means that Firefox, the most popular 'alternative' browser, doesn't support what could be the most popular form of HTML5 video. While it's admirable that Mozilla is sticking to its guns for a long-term vision, those wanting to use Firefox H.264 could be disappointed – if it weren't for Microsoft.

In a very surprising move, Microsoft has created a plug-in for Firefox that enables H.264 video playback on Windows 7 machines thanks to a trick that uses Windows Media Player.

From the release notes: "The extension is based on a Firefox add-on that parses HTML5 pages and replaces video tags with a call to the Windows Media Player plug-in so that the content can be played in the browser. The add-on replaces video tags only if the video formats specified in the tag are among those supported by Windows Media Player. Tags that contain other video formats are not touched."

If you're a Windows 7 user with Firefox 3.6 or newer, grab the download here.

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  • 22 Hide
    Marco925 , December 21, 2010 2:43 AM
    Renegade_WarriorOld News.......Saw this at least a week ago on Softpedia.com


    And some of us haven't seen such news. Not everyone has as much time as you to scour the internet for news.

    To me this is New News. if you don't have anything relevant to say, don't say it at all.
  • 13 Hide
    rebturtle , December 21, 2010 5:05 AM
    Renegade_Warrior....But YES, Being DISABLED, I do spend most of my time on my computers of which sadly I have become bored with lately as I have spent the last 16 years both on and off line.


    Oooh, burn! Now that you've pulled the cripple card out we all respect you so much more and will go out of our way not to hurt your feelings.

    You do realize that using a minority status to demand legitimacy really undercuts your cause, right?
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , December 21, 2010 2:11 AM
    Dang, whats the name of the chick in the pic?
  • 6 Hide
    Milleman , December 21, 2010 2:14 AM
    I suspect that Microsoft is doing this only because they want to help kill the Adobe Flash in favor for their own Silverlight. That's just a gut feeling I have. Microsoft isn't just giving anyone a free beer.
  • 22 Hide
    Marco925 , December 21, 2010 2:43 AM
    Renegade_WarriorOld News.......Saw this at least a week ago on Softpedia.com


    And some of us haven't seen such news. Not everyone has as much time as you to scour the internet for news.

    To me this is New News. if you don't have anything relevant to say, don't say it at all.
  • 4 Hide
    firebee1991 , December 21, 2010 5:02 AM
    I think I only read Firefox articles to see that girl.
  • 4 Hide
    jisamaniac , December 21, 2010 5:03 AM
    Question. Is it just me or has no one been using thumbs up and down anymore? That is how i figure out which comments i want to read or not.
  • 13 Hide
    rebturtle , December 21, 2010 5:05 AM
    Renegade_Warrior....But YES, Being DISABLED, I do spend most of my time on my computers of which sadly I have become bored with lately as I have spent the last 16 years both on and off line.


    Oooh, burn! Now that you've pulled the cripple card out we all respect you so much more and will go out of our way not to hurt your feelings.

    You do realize that using a minority status to demand legitimacy really undercuts your cause, right?
  • -1 Hide
    cookoy , December 21, 2010 7:14 AM
    the plugin will use WMP for any WMP supported format, not only H.264?
    WMP is kind of a resource hog
  • -3 Hide
    kancaras , December 21, 2010 7:22 AM
    WMP sux. wont it slow down the browsing in ff? MS should put an agreement for 100 years on a paper, for other browsers to be able to use it for free, not the damn plugin for WMP.
  • 3 Hide
    kancaras , December 21, 2010 7:23 AM
    btw thumbs up/down doesnt work.
  • -2 Hide
    Silmarunya , December 21, 2010 7:50 AM
    rebturtleOooh, burn! Now that you've pulled the cripple card out we all respect you so much more and will go out of our way not to hurt your feelings.You do realize that using a minority status to demand legitimacy really undercuts your cause, right?


    Actually, it doesn't. When a normal person without any form of disability spends all of his time behind his PC, he or she is extremely sad. When a disabled person does it, it's still sad, but at least he or she has an excuse for not doing anything relevant.
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , December 21, 2010 8:40 AM
    Microsoft do know how to catch the ball in internet browsing.
  • 3 Hide
    distanted , December 21, 2010 9:40 AM
    sportzlvr2006Dang, whats the name of the chick in the pic?

    Miss Direction
  • 1 Hide
    nukemaster , December 21, 2010 10:09 AM
    jisamaniacQuestion. Is it just me or has no one been using thumbs up and down anymore? That is how i figure out which comments i want to read or not.

    I guess i will thumbs up you for that :)  (to be honest, i am glad this is not becoming like youtube...thumbs up for >insert random quote here)

    Interesting plugin, not that i plan to need it just yet.
  • -1 Hide
    Horhe , December 21, 2010 10:15 AM
    Actually you can use thumbs up and down, but only if you read the comments on the forum, which I do because there are several advantages like:
    - more comments on a page
    - longer lines (it's a plus for me)
    - avatars
    - and now there is also the thumbs up and down thing
  • -2 Hide
    segio526 , December 21, 2010 12:55 PM
    MillemanI suspect that Microsoft is doing this only because they want to help kill the Adobe Flash in favor for their own Silverlight. That's just a gut feeling I have. Microsoft isn't just giving anyone a free beer.

    It's either that or the slightly less likely idea that Microsoft is actually trying to keep users happy regardless of the browser they're using. It probably took a single MS developer a half day to make it happen and it makes Microsoft look a little better in people's eyes.
  • -1 Hide
    rbarone69 , December 21, 2010 1:27 PM
    Renegade_WarriorOld News.......Saw this at least a week ago on Softpedia.com


    All knowing God of computers that you are. Everyone shall soon be like you and have the time to review all internet news and comment.


    This article is news to me, thanks Tom's for brining this interesting article that I enjoyed reading! Keep up the good work!

    sportzlvr2006Dang, whats the name of the chick in the pic?


    My wife's name is Amy.



    (That last comment is not related to the picture).

  • 1 Hide
    annymmo , December 21, 2010 1:28 PM
    segio526It's either that or the slightly less likely idea that Microsoft is actually trying to keep users happy regardless of the browser they're using. It probably took a single MS developer a half day to make it happen and it makes Microsoft look a little better in people's eyes.


    It's about money. Microsoft has patents and invested into H264. If everything supports H264, content makers are going to use that. The content makers have to pay fees of course. Those fees go to MPEG LA which distributes them among it's members including Microsoft and Apple. Couple this with the low investment resources and you see why Microsoft does this.

    The MPEG LA is going to get a lot of cash and if it holds a strong monopoly, the licence fees will go up and licence conditions will become more broad. Including viewers of content.
  • 1 Hide
    annymmo , December 21, 2010 1:29 PM
    Microsoft is not trying to get users happy. Microsoft is trying to get users hooked (dependent) on H264.
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