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Microsoft Sides With Apple on HTML5 Video [UPD]

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 78 comments

Internet Explorer 9 to support HTML5 video ONLY in H.264

While Apple has been vocal about its push towards using HTML5 for video playback and leaving Flash out in the cold, Microsoft has quietly been keeping a similar stance.

Microsoft GM for Internet Explorer, Dean Hachamovitch, posted a note on the MSDN detailing what the plans are for browser video formats in IE9. Interestingly, Microsoft agrees with Apple, as it feels that the "The future of the web is HTML5."

Internet Explorer 9 will support HTML5 video playback encoded in H.264 only, matching up with the current support offered by Safari and Chrome. Those with the right hardware will also get GPU-acceleration, as previously demonstrated by Nvidia in a video here.

Even more interesting is that Microsoft seems to be motivated by certain weaknesses of Flash in its effort transition to HTML5 video. Hachamovitch notes, "Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance."

Check out the full post below:

HTML5 Video

There’s been a lot of posting about video and video formats on the web recently. This is a good opportunity to talk about Microsoft’s point of view.

The future of the web is HTML5. Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only.

H.264 is an industrystandard, with broad and strong hardware support. Because of this standardization, you can easily take what you record on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support (e.g. a PC with Windows 7). Recently, we publicly showed IE9 playing H.264-encoded video from YouTube.  You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here. For all these reasons, we’re focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264.

Other codecs often come up in these discussions. The distinction between the availability of source code and the ownership of the intellectual property in that available source code is critical. Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA.   The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press.  Of course, developers can rely on the H.264 codec and hardware acceleration support of the underlying operating system, like Windows 7, without paying any additional royalty.

Today, video on the web is predominantly Flash-based. While video may be available in other formats, the ease of accessing video using just a browser on a particular website without using Flash is a challenge for typical consumers. Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance. We work closely with engineers at Adobe, sharing information about the issues we know of in ongoing technical discussions. Despite these issues, Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web.

Dean Hachamovitch
General Manager, Internet Explorer

UPDATE: Microsoft has come under some criticism for its support of H.264 and only H.264 for its HTML5 video implementation, specifically regarding the future of the codec and when the free license expires in 2016. Hachamovitch has followed up with another blog post in response, which can be found right here.

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    ta152h , May 1, 2010 1:15 AM
    NeeKoIt wont go anywhere if GOOGLE does not join.


    Google owns Youtube, and Youtube is already moving towards HTML5. So, I don't think there are big issues there.

    The bottom line is, no one likes Flash. It's a proprietary product, that makes every company outside of Adobe a little uncomfortable. So, it's in the best interest of these companies to move from Flash to an open standard, and they will. It's already started, and progressing. It will happen.
  • 22 Hide
    djtronika , May 1, 2010 1:30 AM
    Soooo, you guys are now okay with apple not liking flash. God I love it. Long live the sway of the human mind.
  • 18 Hide
    omnimodis78 , May 1, 2010 12:57 AM
    Behold the beginning of the end of Adobe Flash.
Other Comments
    Display all 78 comments.
  • 18 Hide
    omnimodis78 , May 1, 2010 12:57 AM
    Behold the beginning of the end of Adobe Flash.
  • -6 Hide
    Bruceification73 , May 1, 2010 1:09 AM
    @NeeKo why? do you worship google?
  • 25 Hide
    ta152h , May 1, 2010 1:15 AM
    NeeKoIt wont go anywhere if GOOGLE does not join.


    Google owns Youtube, and Youtube is already moving towards HTML5. So, I don't think there are big issues there.

    The bottom line is, no one likes Flash. It's a proprietary product, that makes every company outside of Adobe a little uncomfortable. So, it's in the best interest of these companies to move from Flash to an open standard, and they will. It's already started, and progressing. It will happen.
  • -9 Hide
    djcoolmasterx , May 1, 2010 1:16 AM
    The reason Microsoft is siding with apple on this is that they know how stubborn Apple is.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , May 1, 2010 1:19 AM
    I've always hated flash. It's a huge resource hog and it's really slow. Well actually I hate everything adobe ('cept photoshop.) I really want to see the established nonsense of adobe flash overthrown by html5 personally.
  • -1 Hide
    aletoil , May 1, 2010 1:25 AM
    I agree with leaving Flash in the dust. If it isn't the occasional "Shockwave Error," or a couple flash videos open taking obscene amounts of memory with it, or even better, having to use Task Manager to manually close Opera thanks to said flash, then there is...I forgot my point. Lets just say it makes my porn enjoyment suffer. Only porn.
  • 22 Hide
    djtronika , May 1, 2010 1:30 AM
    Soooo, you guys are now okay with apple not liking flash. God I love it. Long live the sway of the human mind.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , May 1, 2010 1:37 AM
    The linked video shows some pretty drastic performance differences between the two platforms. lol... Intel integrated graphics FTW!
  • 0 Hide
    brother shrike , May 1, 2010 1:43 AM
    If ie9 only supports H.264 HTML5, that's going to make it more difficult for FireFox's Ogg Theora implementation...
  • -2 Hide
    reklatsa , May 1, 2010 1:44 AM
    Did anyone here really expect a different outcome. Flash has had its time. The curtain is falling. See, the fat lady is clearing her throat.

    These final sabre rattles are symptomatic of death throes. Adobe could always get on board and create some useful, clean HTML5 authoring tools if they want to remain relevant.
  • 2 Hide
    reklatsa , May 1, 2010 1:47 AM
    brother shrikeIf ie9 only supports H.264 HTML5, that's going to make it more difficult for FireFox's Ogg Theora implementation...


    Sorry to say, Ogg Theora is currently horrible. Time will tell if improvements warrant its inclusion. I'm all for open, but please, let's not take backward steps.
  • -5 Hide
    applerocks , May 1, 2010 1:58 AM
    djtronikaSoooo, you guys are now okay with apple not liking flash. God I love it. Long live the sway of the human mind.

    Its so funny how hating flash is now ok, once Microsoft has given its blessing!
  • 5 Hide
    SAL-e , May 1, 2010 1:59 AM
    The problem is not the HTML5 it self. The problem is the H.264. I understand why MS and Apple want it, but we (as users) will make the biggest mistake if we don't stop it.
    Quote:
    Today, intellectual property rights for H.264 are broadly available through a well-defined program managed by MPEG LA. The rights to other codecs are often less clear, as has been described in the press.

    This is typical FUD from Microsoft. The 'other' codec referred here is Ogg Theora, which is based on VP3 codec from On2 Technology and all IP is donated to the public domain already.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theora
    The question why MS and Apple are blocking the use of Ogg Theora?
    On2 Technology had developed better codec VP8 and Google purchased On2 Technology in February 2010. The second reason and more scary for MS is if the Web is based on free codec Linux will continue to commoditize the desktop and drive the price of Windows down.
    Now is the time for Google to make most critical decision about their own future. They have to release the VP8 as open and free codec. Switch YouTube and work with hardware vendors to provide hardware acceleration. If Google fails to do this they will loose any chances to have long-term sustainable video business.
  • 0 Hide
    mayne92 , May 1, 2010 2:38 AM
    "Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance."

    Yeah, ummm..."some" issues? This basically covers everything that makes a product and adobe fails at them all...
  • 7 Hide
    rdawise , May 1, 2010 2:39 AM
    It's funny how Apple claims to eb all for "open", but supports H.264. If they were for "open" they would support the Ogg codec.

    Microsoft is probably trying to pressure Adobe to secure their programs. How many times have you see Flash needing to be patched?

    Interestly enough, the note doesn't state anything about killing Flash support. It just states that it believes in the use of the same codec as Apple, not that Flash is bad. The title seems a bit misleading....
  • -3 Hide
    sliem , May 1, 2010 2:41 AM
    Flash will be obsolete.
  • 13 Hide
    rdawise , May 1, 2010 2:41 AM
    TA152HGoogle owns Youtube, and Youtube is already moving towards HTML5. So, I don't think there are big issues there. The bottom line is, no one likes Flash. It's a proprietary product, that makes every company outside of Adobe a little uncomfortable. So, it's in the best interest of these companies to move from Flash to an open standard, and they will. It's already started, and progressing. It will happen.

    H.264 is not open, but is standard.
  • 11 Hide
    B-Unit , May 1, 2010 2:44 AM
    djtronikaSoooo, you guys are now okay with apple not liking flash. God I love it. Long live the sway of the human mind.


    When does IE9 come out? How far will YouTubes conversion to HTML5 be by then? How long has iPhone been out?

    I rest my case.
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