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Internet Explorer Microsoft

Why IE9 Will Not Support Codecs Other Than H.264 436

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the time-is-of-the-ess dept.
jlp2097 writes "There is a new article up on Microsoft's IEBlog explaining why IE9 will support only the H.264 codec: 'First and most important, we think it is the best available video codec today for HTML5 for our customers. Relative to alternatives, H.264 maintains strong hardware support in PCs and mobile devices as well as a breadth of implementation in consumer electronics devices around the world, excellent video quality, scale of existing usage, availability of tools and content authoring systems, and overall industry momentum – each an important factor that contributes to our point of view. H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.'"
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Why IE9 Will Not Support Codecs Other Than H.264

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  • H.264 (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:18AM (#32072876) Journal

    This is actually the same thing that has been said in the older HTML5 discussions on slashdot too.

    Ideologically Theora would be great. It's open and patent-free (supposedly). But it's not as good as H.264. We have already used H.264 with Flash and MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 from MPEG LA. It hasn't created any problems and its technically better. It would be better to have an open source and free codec, but people need to work to create it. Ideology doesn't go far in corporate world, and in my honest opinion, H.264 is better for end-user because it uses less bandwidth and provides better quality and is supported in a lot more devices already.

    If MPEG LA would start asking website owners and end-users for fees it would basically mean this was their last iteration in video codecs. MPEG LA also uses patents owned by other companies, so they have a saying over it. I don't think they would be that stupid.

    • Re:H.264 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by liquidpele (663430) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:43AM (#32073150) Journal
      I fail to see how including other codecs would cause harm... it's not like H.264 suddenly stops working if it detects Theora on the system...
      • Re:H.264 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ircmaxell (1117387) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:56AM (#32073320) Homepage
        That's the key point here. The article is a PR spin to try to make it seem like MS is protecting users. But in reality, it's an artificial limitation. They could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose (in fact, they could make it semi-automatic. When it finds a video with a codec it doesn't have, it tries to find it, sort of how it works in Linux)... But no, they make the choice for us. It's the same with Apple's rejection of Theora... It's not about providing the best experience for users. It's about binding developers hands and removing choice. They tried to do it with ActiveX, but most sites rebelled which launched Flash into the limelight. They did it with their Quirks mode. They did it in IE8 by cherry picking the CSS 3 features they "thought were useful". Stop trying to make choices for us, and leave us (the developers) to choose what's best...
        • They could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose (in fact, they could make it semi-automatic. When it finds a video with a codec it doesn't have, it tries to find it, sort of how it works in Linux)...

          That's how Firefox works, and it's how most people install flash when it isn't included in the OS (Apple does this, ironically).

        • Trojan codecs (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tepples (727027)

          hey could quite easily make it a plugin system where it would ship with one or two codecs, and users could "install" others if they choose

          Malware posing as codecs is how you get shit like Antivirus XP [wikipedia.org] on PCs.

      • by Altus (1034)

        If Microsoft could be sued for including a format then that is a good reason not too. The implication has been that Theora might infringe on some patents. It may, it may not. I don't know and likely nobody here does either.

        MS has little to gain by including Theora and could put its self in a bad position down the road, they might even have inside information about companies bringing litigation against Theora.

        Now it seems to me that the best course of action would be to make all codecs modular and only sh

        • by loshwomp (468955) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:31AM (#32073808)

          If Microsoft could be sued for including a format then that is a good reason not too. The implication has been that Theora might infringe on some patents. It may, it may not. I don't know and likely nobody here does either.

          The same thing applies to h.264 or any other codec, for that matter. The only thing the MPEG license buys you is indemnification from the patents that the consortium knows about, and they explicitly make no guarantee that other unlicensed patents weren't infringed along the way. You're on your own for that.

      • Re:H.264 (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sillybilly (668960) on Monday May 03, 2010 @01:00PM (#32074850)
        It causes harm to the patent owners not being able to push it as the one and only standard, and then fully locking down all video content in the world. As long as there are other video formats to convert to, any patent assault simply creates a mass exodus. So this is a preemptive move to an oncoming showdown. They are growing frustrated at the inability to jerk the rest of the world around and tell them to pay up, so now we get abuses like this:using monopoly in one domain to gain monopoly in another. This is what happens when the Microsoft-Apple-etc. IP Consortium gets full monopoly, pretending to be straw-man competition to each other: All your content are belong to us, either to me, or my cousin right over here. So payup mofos. Maffiozo style. What changes in the world from yesteryear?

        By the way, I was born in a commie block country where we only had one government provided car model, stuck in the 50's design, the only difference being the color, if you were looking for variety. With a 7 year waiting list. The statistical planning committee of the 5 year communist economic congress has come to the conclusion that only manufacturing "the best", "the most efficient", and "most economical" car model cuts down on economic waste. All they had to do was weigh the pros and cons and vote on what this best thing for everyone is, and then there is no reason to make anything else that's "suboptimal." All knowing, all wise, omnipotent infinite wisdom. With pHd's in Economics from the top universities of Moscow, decorated with 50 golden stars, party achievement awards. Making everybody drive a shitty car stuck in the 1950's. Then the Berlin wall came down, and the Glasnosty and Perestroika were done with. Call it whatever you want, the car sux a fat one. I don't care about your ideology, if the stuff I'm sitting in sux, and don't tell me there isn't anything better, because I see you, Mr. Party official, ride around in a black Mercedes Benz. You don't even believe your own preaching, but you're telling me the car I'm sitting in is what the pHd economic summit committee declared as optimal. You know what, let's change, you ride around in this car, and let me ride around in that non-committee non-mandatory, customer-focus-driven, customer-picked free market produced, through all that "waste" of "unsuccessfull" models that were comparatively suboptimal.

        Come to the USA, there are many cars. No waiting lists. Arguably some cars are "better" than others, just like some video codecs are better than others, but there is a "price" you pay for "better" such as losing some freedoms that things like a Theora codec would provide. I abhor any kind of totalitarian centralized control. I love the jungle, the variety.
    • Hmm, yes, but how does the supposedly soon-to-be-open-source VP8 codec stack up?

      And if YouTube moves to VP8.. will Microsoft have a choice?
  • In other words.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jkrise (535370) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:18AM (#32072884) Journal

    Don't be surprised to see a spate of patent attacks on Ogg Theora... which we may or may not fund ourselves.

    • by chill (34294)

      For that to happen, Ogg Theora would have to be a threat or making enough money to make it worthwhile. It hasn't gotten anywhere near that point.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:47AM (#32073194) Homepage

      We may find many reasons to "hate microsoft" but I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever. Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case. Microsoft was first bitten by the software patent trend by the people who held the patent on "double-space" back in the day. There were a lot of people who were quite tickled and delighted to see the giant attacked for this. I was among them. I wasn't then able to see down the road to the hell of software patents that we are seeing today. Had we, the IT community at large, sought to limit and even deny software patents from the beginning, we might have less trouble than we have today.

      In any case, we might suspect Microsoft of funding attacks against open source technologies, I doubt Microsoft will ever directly assert software patents themselves.

      In my mind, in fact, I see Microsoft joining in the fight against software patents. It is as big a pain in their ass as it is for many others... probably bigger because they have a rather big ass.

      • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:04AM (#32073416)

        We may find many reasons to "hate microsoft" but I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever. Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case. Microsoft was first bitten by the software patent trend by the people who held the patent on "double-space" back in the day. There were a lot of people who were quite tickled and delighted to see the giant attacked for this. I was among them. I wasn't then able to see down the road to the hell of software patents that we are seeing today. Had we, the IT community at large, sought to limit and even deny software patents from the beginning, we might have less trouble than we have today.

        In any case, we might suspect Microsoft of funding attacks against open source technologies, I doubt Microsoft will ever directly assert software patents themselves.

        In my mind, in fact, I see Microsoft joining in the fight against software patents. It is as big a pain in their ass as it is for many others... probably bigger because they have a rather big ass.

        More likely, anyone with any possible patents against Theora is waiting for someone with money to implement it. RIght now, there's hardly any money in any of the companies doing Theora, and suing just gets you no money at all. Mozilla? Xiph? Relatively poor, and probably good lawyers to get patents overturned. Not a good result.

        But get a Google, Microsoft or Apple supporting Theora, and these guys have cash. Patent infringement? Cha-ching. Either licensing or back profits. Everyone and their dog with patents will be trying to figure out how they can cash in. Or any of the big hardware guys - Intel, ATI, nVIdia, plus all the others - Broadcom, etc.

        Not to say H.264 is any better, but there are patent pools and the like, and probably some form of protection against patent infringement.

        Maybe that's all that's needed - patent liability coverage - implement Theora and be covered against any potential patent lawsuits. It's one thing to say that no patents were infrtinged, but another to back it up. Hell, it can be funded by a smally royalty (they already pay for h.264).

      • by init100 (915886) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:14AM (#32073580)

        I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever.

        Specific charges, with patent numbers specified, we might perhaps not see. Vague charges without specifics has already been seen multiple times, e.g. when they claimed that OSS infringed on hundreds of Microsoft patents, and that OSS will be made to pay in due time.

        Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case.

        It may have been reluctant at first, but soon they realized the FUD value in patents. Using your patents to offensively intimidate others (i.e. not defensively in response to a patent infringement lawsuit) clearly shows that whatever reluctance they may have had in the past is now completely gone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Bogtha (906264)

        We may find many reasons to "hate microsoft" but I seriously doubt Microsoft will actually assert charges of patent infringement against anyone... ever. Microsoft's involvement in the software patent arms race was quite reluctant and I suspect that is still the case.

        Microsoft has filed an action today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington and in the International Trade Commission (ITC), against TomTom NV and TomTom Inc. for infringement of Microsoft patents. [microsoft.com]

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          I thought TomTom started that patent infringement thing, and Microsoft responded to them by counter-filing?

    • Don't be surprised to see a spate of patent attacks on Ogg Theora... which we may or may not fund ourselves.

      Didn't Steve Jobs just say someone was preparing a portfolio to go after Theora [cultofmac.com]?

  • by microbox (704317) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:21AM (#32072906)
    None of us people who actually create things and do the work wanted to see software patents become a reality. But the businessmen and lawyers have had their way with us. Now we just have to do all the extra work to create working computer systems, while a few individuals go laughing to the bank.

    More than anything else, I think the H.264 nonsense demonstrates the lock-down that will mark a new era of the software industry.
    • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:26AM (#32072970)

      I wouldn't worry much. IE is becoming less and less relevant every day. For one it's loosing marketshare on the desktop, but also very importantly is the fact that mobile devices are quickly becoming the preferred medium that people use to interact with the web. I know lots of people who are doing their everyday tasks (check Facebook, email, bank balances, etc) on their phones and are barely touching their computers - if they even bother to have one. Microsoft (and with it, IE) has an absolutely dismal marketshare in that space, and they don't look to be improving.

      IMHO, while IE still has a (slipping) majority, if we're talking about something that's going to be used for the next decade, I'd be FAR more concerned with what Safari, Chrome, and to a lesser extent, Firefox, plan to do than IE.

      • by tepples (727027)

        Microsoft (and with it, IE) has an absolutely dismal marketshare in that space, and they don't look to be improving.

        That could change with Windows Phone 7.

    • by CowboyBob500 (580695) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:34AM (#32073044) Homepage
      Rubbish. As always during discussions like this you're only talking about the USA. There is a world outside where these problems don't exist. Maybe the US software industry will get locked down, but in reality, not only does the rest of the world not care, but it will use it to its advantage. Time to make sure your passport is up to date.
    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:57AM (#32073338)

      And it's not just video codecs. Want to create an application that stores, processes, or transmits credit card data? You had better have about $50k in cash ready ready to pay for PA-DSS or PCI-DSS Level I certification. And that is the starting point. The documentation process pretty much means that Opensource, by its very nature, will never be PA-DSS certified. We're in the process of taking an opensource project we forked and getting it PA-DSS certified. Small development team of 4 people and it is a nightmare. While we ship the source code on every install CD the development process itself is pretty much restricted to a BSD-like invite only approach.

      90% of PA-DSS is documentation. A lot of that documentation revolves around your development process including interviews with the developers to make sure that things like code reviews are indeed implemented and that requires at least 2 developers since the person who writes the code can't review the code, technical support cases are documented, if any cardholder data is used for troubleshooting, it is properly and securely deleted, etc..

      And I see more of this coming down the line in the name of "data security". While it won't kill Opensource, it is going to make it pretty damn hard for a weekend hacker to create something.

      Now don't get me wrong, after a year of dealing with PCI-DSS and six months of PA-DSS, I fully understand why their standards are the way they are and for the most part it's mostly a good thing. However the fact that it takes at least $10k (and as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars for PA-DSS) pretty much means that the project has to be maintained by a company that is making money off the product in some way.

      BTW, the only Opensource project I know of that is PA-DSS certified is Magento. And ONLY the Enterprise edition ($8995). The Community Edition is NOT.

  • by Phrogman (80473) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:24AM (#32072952) Homepage

    The last phrase quoted is likely the key one - Microsoft is very focused on providing as much DRM as possible, and if this codec has the most potential in that regard from their POV, thats likely why they are supporting it. I am sure the Entertainment industry has been talking to MS about this and urging them to keep pushing on DRM type solutions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by internic (453511)

      Maybe some of you in the know out there can enlighten the rest of us: What makes a codec more or less conducive to DRM?

      I would have thought DRM would be implemented outside the media data itself and the codec would only be come relevant once system has decided to give the user access and decrypted the data. Perhaps in some systems once they've doen the lossy part of the signal processing they do the compression and encryption as a combined operation? Or does the whole thing work an entirely different way?

    • by putch (469506)

      I'm pretty sure that quote actually addresses the IP rights to the codecs and not the content.

      However, DRM is probably a concern. But that doesn't explain why they'd exclude other codecs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dave420 (699308)
      Don't like DRM? Then don't watch DRM content. It's that simple. DRM doesn't give you less content, as people who currently use DRM simply won't publish anything unless they can use DRM. The choice is between having DRM & more content, or having no DRM & less content. DRM is not forced on everyone producing audio and video for the internet, it is, however, there should someone feel the need or desire to use it. It's an option.
  • by Pojut (1027544) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:25AM (#32072956) Homepage

    ::begin displaying ignorance::

    What advantage is there to restricting IE9 to only H.264? How can natively supporting more codecs be a bad thing?

    • Requires more effort on their part.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:45AM (#32073168)

      Microsoft doesn't want to touch Theora because they suspect (or know) it's about to be targeted for legal action. Natively supporting a codec that carries negative legal ramifications could come back to bite them in the ass later: no one wants to support another codec out of the goodness of their heart now, and especially one not widely used nor likely to benefit that many customers since nearly everyone else on God's green earth is using H.264, just so that they can get slapped with infringement suits later for including code that violates some arcane MPEG-LA patent. Supporting Theora would be an imprudent decision on Microsoft's part for now. H.264's patent issues are well known and can be bought off easily through licensing, on the other hand, and it's well supported by nearly everyone and immensely popular with consumers; Microsoft can cover itself legally and market its browser to the widest possible audience with H.264, so it's a smart decision on their part.

      Ideology matters little in the pragmatics of business, and Microsoft's not going to bend over backwards to clear up the currently clouded patent status of Theora and defend it against what's increasingly looking like inevitable attacks from well-funded groups of patent holders who legitimately or not (does it even matter anymore?) will shove a case through some godforsaken East Texas docket... especially not when there aren't more than a handful of people actively using Theora anyway. Hell, most people probably won't ever even see a Theora video in their whole lives. Why should Microsoft waste its time?

    • by keithjr (1091829)
      Beyond the engineering effort to make wider support happen, there's the question of what HTML5 will use as its VIDEO element. If nobody claims support for Theora, it won't wind up being the standard. So, it's not a bad thing, but this is MS trying to exert its influence over the debate.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Sleepy (4551)

      Because Microsoft made a deal with MPEG-LA, that's why. MPEG-LA makes money off patent licensing.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        FTFA:

        Several comments speculated about Microsoft’s financial interest in the codec. (Microsoft participates in MPEG-LA with many other companies.) Microsoft pays into MPEG-LA about twice as much as it receives back for rights to H.264. Much of what Microsoft pays in royalties is so that people who buy Windows (on a new PC from an OEM or as a packaged product) can just play H.264 video or DVD movies. Microsoft receives back from MPEG-LA less than half the amount for the patent rights that it contribute

    • backroom deals from patent holders?

  • youtube (Score:5, Funny)

    by alabandit (1024941) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:26AM (#32072966)
    in an unsurprising move, tomorrow morning Youtube and face book decide h.264 will not be used for video on there sites...
  • by masterwit (1800118) * on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:28AM (#32073000) Journal

    I for one am no expert in this subject, so here are some links I ended up reading:

    wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H.264/MPEG-4_AVC [wikipedia.org]

    a decent article that could provide one with some insight on the patent "wars to come": http://www.vcodex.com/videocodingpatents.html [vcodex.com]

    a random google search to a blog post with a good bit of information, but also opinionated: http://www.0xdeadbeef.com/weblog/2010/01/html5-video-and-h-264-what-history-tells-us-and-why-were-standing-with-the-web/ [0xdeadbeef.com]

    cnet on Microsoft's stance: http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20003838-264.html [cnet.com]

    Lastly, does anyone have a good article on Opera's stance? - I had heard they are against it, but not much more than that...

  • by onionman (975962) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:32AM (#32073028)

    From what I've seen of Theora, it's the performance limit, not the open source nature of it, which makes it a non-starter for many platforms. I've read some rumors about Google supposedly pushing their own open-source codec, but I haven't seen any actual products. Do they exist? Is there an open alternative that can compete with H.264 on a wide range of platforms?

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Yes.
      H.264 after we ban software patents.

    • by mcrbids (148650) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:38AM (#32073896) Journal

      From what I've seen of Theora, it's the performance limit, not the open source nature of it, which makes it a non-starter for many platforms.

      And what, pray tell, have you seen of Theora? Are you talking about the whiney, highly inaccurate piece [slashdot.org] here a few weeks ago that threw out just enough jargon to sound relevant, but managed to compare apples to bicycles in the process? Perhaps you should see the rebuttal [slashdot.org]?

      TL;DR: Many of the "points" raised were barely coherent, let alone verifiably accurate.

      Ogg is an efficient, open-sourced, non-patent-encumbered container format. Theora is an efficient CODEC for video. The way patents are worded, it's tough to prove the non-patent-encumbered nature of just about anything, but that's what it was designed to be, and there are certainly no particular technical issues with its adoption except perhaps that hardware implementations are still not commonplace, even if they are available.

      If the industry adopts H.264 widely, we'll all regret it in a few years.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Abcd1234 (188840)

        And what, pray tell, have you seen of Theora?

        Huh? That isn't even about Theora. You said it yourself, it's about Ogg, the container, and why it may or may not suck.

        Theora is a video codec, and is best compared to MPEG-2 in terms of performance. Compared to H.264, it's obsolete, and that would be the performance limit the OP was referring to. The simple fact is, Theora can't approach H.264 in terms of quality for low-bitrate applications, and guess what? Low-bitrate is the name of the game when it comes

  • by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble.hotmail@com> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:37AM (#32073084)
    Why IE9 Will Not NATIVELY Support Other Codecs Than H.264.

    From the article:

    Of course, IE9 will continue to support Flash and other plug-ins. Developers who want to use the same markup today across different browsers rely on plug-ins. Plug-ins are also important for delivering innovation and functionality ahead of the standards process; mainstream video on the web today works primarily because of plug-ins. We’re committed to plug-in support because developer choice and opportunity in authoring web pages are very important; ISVs on a platform are what make it great. We fully expect to support plug-ins (of all types, including video) along with HTML5. There were also some comments asking about our work with Adobe on Flash and this report offers a recent discussion.

    I love linux and think MS is rapidly falling behind, but let's not go overboard here.

  • There are several reasons for this decision. H.264 support in Windows is already paid for (if I'm not mistaken $25 million bucks annually) and taking into account the current software patents laws in the US Microsoft doesn't want any more headache facing lawsuits having implemented support for other codecs [read Theora] which patents status isn't entirely clear and there are no powerful organizations which will protect Microsoft if some company [troll] discovers Theora is infringing their patent portfolio.

    T

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tepples (727027)

      Microsoft doesn't want any more headache facing lawsuits having implemented support for other codecs [read Theora] which patents status isn't entirely clear

      Theora is patented by On2, a Google company. These patents are licensed permissively to the public.

      and there are no powerful organizations which will protect Microsoft if some company [troll] discovers Theora is infringing their patent portfolio.

      What organization will protect Microsoft, Apple, and other MPEG-LA members if some NPE not in MPEG-LA discovers that H.264 infringes?

  • MPEG-LA's patent portfolio is sufficiently mighty that a competing video codec would have to be designed from the ground up with the specific design goal of avoiding infringement in order to escape it's shadow. This has not been done with Theora or any other codec that I'm aware of.

    Combine this with the fact that MPEG-LA's licensing terms have been sufficiently reasonable that you can get $100-300 gizmos with hardware decoders built in, there's little reason why for anyone to oppose it on practical rather than philosophical grounds.

  • Ogg is inferior (Score:3, Informative)

    by wazzzup (172351) <astromac.fastmail@fm> on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:42AM (#32073142)

    The obvious reason Microsoft has standardized on h.264 is its support for DRM. However, Ogg Theora is inferior to h.264 by any standard of measurement except for licensing.

    Ars has a good article [arst.ch] summarizing a comparison study between Theora and h.264 [streamingl...center.com]. Basically, Theora produces much lower quality videos with larger filesizes and higher CPU utilization when compared to h.264 videos with identical bitrates.

    I've heard Theora advocates say "just jack up the bitrates until it looks good - we're in the age of Hulu so no big deal." I find that unacceptable. Theora will have to up its game if it wants to be a true competitor to h.264. All it has going right now is an open license.

    • Re:Ogg is inferior (Score:4, Informative)

      by CoolGuySteve (264277) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:51AM (#32073252)

      You can wrap nearly any codec's stream in DRM as long as the container supports it. So DRM has nothing to do with the issue at hand.

      Do not conflate H.264 with DRM.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by negRo_slim (636783)

      The obvious reason Microsoft has standardized on h.264 is its support for DRM.

      Or perhaps they are unwilling to spend the development assets on adding more than one native codec when functionality can easily be extended for those so inclined with a plug in.

  • i figured between Firefox/mozilla/seamonkey & opera & google/chrome that IE was dieing and all that was left was a niche on some LANs where lan browsing was convenient for the point & click crowd
  • H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.

    It’s patented, therefore it’s better. You heard it here first, folks.

  • ... that Microsoft and others can use their patents to exercise control over how the codec is used ("consumer-only", otherwise you have to pay).

    .

    Microsoft's stance is not about "the best codec" or anything technical. It is all about the ability of the industry to maintain control over the customers of that industry via patents.

    As it states in the article, " H.264 also provides the best certainty and clarity with respect to legal rights from the many companies that have patents in this area.". In ot

  • by YesIAmAScript (886271) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:50AM (#32073244)

    I just can't get interested in debating this stuff until Google open-sources VP8. Theora is a non-starter. It doesn't perform well and the marketplace already rejected it in enough places (i.e. virtually all portable devices) that it will never be a true competitor.

    Once Google open-sources VP8 and makes it free (gratis and libre) then we'll have a real horse race. I'd love to see VP8 hardware support fast-tracked for all devices (mobile and otherwise) so we can have a competitive free solution for video.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thue (121682)

      So when the choice is between freedom and a slightly better performing video format, we choose the slightly better performing video format? God forbid that we have to actually make a minor sacrifice for freedom.

  • by ChipMonk (711367) on Monday May 03, 2010 @10:58AM (#32073346) Journal
    Not that Microsoft cares, but Free Culture just took a big hit [osnews.com]. Money quote:

    there is something very important, that the vast majority of both consumers and video professionals don't know: ALL modern video cameras and camcorders that shoot in h.264 or mpeg2, come with a license agreement that says that you can only use that camera to shoot video for "personal use and non-commercial" purposes (go on, read your manuals). I was first made aware of such a restriction when someone mentioned that in a forum, about the Canon 7D dSLR. I thought it didn't apply to me, since I had bought the double-the-price, professional (or at least prosumer), Canon 5D Mark II. But looking at its license agreement [c-wss.com] last night (page 241), I found out that even my $3000 camera comes with such a basic license. So, I downloaded the manual for the Canon 1D Mark IV, which costs $5000, and where Canon consistently used the word "professional" and "video" on the same sentence on their press release [canon.com] for that camera. Nope! Same restriction: you can only use your professional video dSLR camera (professional, according to Canon's press release), for non-professional reasons. And going even further, I found that even their truly professional video camcorder, the $8000 Canon XL-H1A that uses mpeg2, also comes with a similar restriction [c-wss.com]. You can only use your professional camera for non-commercial purposes. For any other purpose, you must get a license from MPEG-LA and pay them royalties for each copy sold. I personally find this utterly unacceptable.

    And no, this is not just a Canon problem (which to me sounds like false advertising). Sony and Panasonic, and heck, even the Flip HD, have the exact same licensing restriction.

    • by rinoid (451982) on Monday May 03, 2010 @11:22AM (#32073690)

      Thanks for making this point.

      I certainly support creators' rights to earnings off of invention and have problems with many software patents I see from all my favorite vendors. But apart from normal hand wringing over patents this really takes the cake.

      Think if Microsoft or Apple charged you a license for everything you created using your computer! What if the printer manufacturer did the same? Why didn't film companies charge me for every photo I ever published when I used to use film?

      Insanity! Write your legislators, write companies, write, complain....

  • May I ask a simple question:

    In a world where Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera now on a regular basis beat the tar out of Microsoft... well... who really cares if IE9 won't support anything but this boobytrapped codec?

    BFD IMHO.
    More and more run Linux every day.
    The Linux Distros are getting rather polished.
    The sleepers stir and soon may wake, the tryanny of the elite may get tossed off here soon since things are going from inconvienent to painful (economy, politics, etc.)

    This is like telling people that the

"Anyone attempting to generate random numbers by deterministic means is, of course, living in a state of sin." -- John Von Neumann

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