The HTML5 Video Wars

There is lots of HTML5 news this past week. Unfortunately, some of it is not good.

It appears that W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium) is finally looking to adopt this as a standard. They went as far as to release a logo for the standard (which appears on the graphics). This is a sign that this is leading towards the adoption of the standard, which most all browsers support already with the exception of Internet Explorer.

In examining the Firefox 4 Beta, it appears that the browser will support WebM video. A video standard announced by Google earlier last year. Allowing Firefox to support the standards of Ogg Theora and WebM. A sign that there seems to be multiple video support between browsers.

However there was a shocking announcement. Google announced that it's Chrome browser would no longer support H264. Apparently its due to Google not wanting to support the royalty system instituted by MPEG LA who created the codec.

This is not good news for the near future and implementation of the standard. One of the exciting things about HTML5 was that video would have native support in the browser. It was just a matter on which format was going to win over for all the browsers. Internet Explorer 9 was said to believe to be supporting H264, leaving Firefox and Opera as the only browsers who would not support the codec.

Google announcing that it was dropping H264 support was a step backward. It was understandable, but a step backward in how HTML5 video is being handled. Apparently there is some discussion on how open the WebM codec actually is, If it isnt, then this move was just marketing posture by Google rather than a cry for open source.

I sincerely hope Google really pushes this hard and becomes the bugle man for WebM. If so, this would settle the video wars once and for all and provide a solution that both developers and consumers would love.