Microsoft Gives Firefox an HTML5 Video Upgrade

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.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Dang, whats the name of the chick in the pic?
  • Old News.......

    Saw this at least a week ago on
  • Milleman
    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.
  • Marco925
    Renegade_WarriorOld News.......Saw this at least a week ago on
    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.
  • I spend less than half an hour each day "Looking" (not scouring) to see what's new each day.

    Tom's Hardware

    The rest of the day I spend doing what ever I feel like doing providing nothing else needs doing around the house or elsewhere.

    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.
  • firebee1991
    I think I only read Firefox articles to see that girl.
  • jisamaniac
    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.
  • rebturtle
    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?
  • cookoy
    the plugin will use WMP for any WMP supported format, not only H.264?
    WMP is kind of a resource hog
  • kancaras
    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.