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Microsoft Makes Chrome Play H.264 Video 535

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the patches-are-welcome dept.
nk497 writes "Chrome users will be able to play H.264 video — thanks to Microsoft. The software giant today unveiled the Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome, which will let users of the Google browser play H.264 video after it was dropped from Chrome over licensing issues. 'At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web including the ability to enjoy the widest range of content available on the internet in H.264 format,' said Claudio Caldato, Microsoft interoperability program manager."
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Microsoft Makes Chrome Play H.264 Video

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:15PM (#35080708) Journal

    "At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web"

    Ohhh, right, that's why Ogg Theora isn't natively supported in Internet Explorer [wikipedia.org]. Maybe you could concentrate on improving the support, capabilities and experience in your own browser before bothering to extend other browsers?

  • Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ironicsky (569792) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:17PM (#35080716) Journal
    Microsoft has interesting priorities... "Lets release a plug-in for a third party browser to fix a perceived short coming..." as opposed to "Lets fix the problems and short comings in our products". Slow clap for Microsoft.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:19PM (#35080744)

    Oh no, they don't support a format no one gives a shit about.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:20PM (#35080750)

    Adding support for H.264 is actually useful, unlike Theora support. Also, it's largely a game of upsmanship, basically saying, "here Google, we fixed your browser for you".

  • by zn0k (1082797) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:20PM (#35080758)

    Anything that increases choice is a good thing.

    It's not like there isn't a very well documented interface to IE. Why don't you write an Ogg Theroa plugin for IE, rather than complain that Microsoft wrote something that is both in their interest and useful for users that do want to use h.264 as well as use Chrome?
    Or use the VLC media player plugin, which - at least according to the Wikipedia page on Theroa - lets you view that format in IE and Firefox.

  • OS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:21PM (#35080780) Homepage Journal

    I still believe that every browser should rely on the codecs installed on the OS. Every platform (and optionally the user) can then choose what they want.

  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:24PM (#35080818)
    As opposed to the patent unknown of WebM. Yeah, I'm sure people will jump right on that bandwagon!
  • Re:OS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:25PM (#35080826)

    Even if you do believe that way, H.264 has no place in Open Web (nor in HTML standard).

  • Re:Memory Leak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alvinrod (889928) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:27PM (#35080856)
    Well there's that, the intensive CPU usage, kernel panics, and it giving you cancer.

    But it's still better than Flash.
  • by grimsnaggle (1320777) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:28PM (#35080874)
    But nobody uses Ogg Theora.
  • Re:Priorities (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:31PM (#35080910)

    Microsoft has interesting priorities... "Lets release a plug-in for a third party browser to fix a perceived short coming..." as opposed to "Lets fix the problems and short comings in our products". Slow clap for Microsoft.

    Yeah, it's almost as if Microsoft were a large company with a lot of developers assigned to a diverse range of products and tasks, where some developer's responsibilities don't overlap with the projects you seem to think they should be fixing bugs on.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:36PM (#35080978)

    Microsoft Office is the industry standard. Everyone should have a copy.

  • Re:Downright evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:37PM (#35081002) Homepage Journal
    264 IS a patent trap, and one of the trap owners is microsoft. this is why they are being so charitable in this occasion.
  • Re:OS (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mdielmann (514750) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:48PM (#35081134) Homepage Journal

    Businesses aren't going nor should they care if a format is open or not. They just want a reliable product to be delivered to their customers.

    The one key issue with that statement is that if you release a royalty-encumbered product that you can't charge for, you're on the hook for some amount of money. Hence the push for open formats in web browsers, and why a company may be uninterested in producing a free product that opens them for lawsuits at some time in the future.

    This isn't a problem for paid-for products, because you can purchase royalties for the patented technologies and it becomes part of the product cost. So goes the theory, anyway.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:56PM (#35081252) Journal

    adding extensions to chrome is actually horrible, unlike theora support. It's largely a game of making the browser less secure, basically saying "please install this microsoft sanctioned addon into chrome to make your browser more vulnerable".

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:59PM (#35081288) Homepage

    We have seen in the past how well the .net for Firefox stuff went over. It caused all sorts of uproar, confusion and problems.

    Will Microsoft be releasing the source code for this plug-in so that we can properly trust it? I doubt it. And will there be a 3 mile long EULA attached to it? Almost certainly! Will it be hard to remove? Probably. I make these assumptions because we have seen this from Microsoft before. So unless they explicitly say they will do this any other way, we can presume they will do it the way they always have... and no, they will not support a Linux version of the plugin and not likely MacOSX.

    So in summary:

    1. It will be incomplete
    2. It will be closed
    3. It will be hard to remove
    4. It may not be "optional"
    5. It will cause problems with the browser and maybe the OS.

  • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35081400)

    Theora is also quite useful, given that the Wikimedia projects only accept free formats. You're not going to be able to upload your video in H.264 there, and they're a big enough player for this to actually matter.

    Not even close. I've never, ever, received a link to a video on wikipedia (or any other wikimedia project). Ever. I bet most people aren't even aware that there *are* videos on wikipedia.

    If they were big enough to matter, people would already be installing Theora plug-ins or switching over to browsers like Firefox in order to view Theora videos. You'd hear iPhone and other smartphone users complaining about lack of Theora support. There would be how-tos on playing Theora content. Etc.

    None of this is happening. Wikipedia itself is pretty huge, but their impact on the multimedia market is insignificant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35081404)

    How is it that every comment that somehow undermines Microsoft (even when they just did something USEFUL and good) gets modded directly to Insightful?

    Oh that's right. Microsoft is always evil.

    Mod me down all you want, you know I speak the truth.

  • by Teckla (630646) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35081406)

    Ogg Theora is technically highly inferior to H.264.

    That may be so, but when comparing non-technical merits, is Ogg Theora highly superior to H.264? That should be part of the equation too.

    All it has going for it is religion and ideology.

    Troll.

    Why should Microsoft support your particular belief system over the beliefs of anyone else?

    Because it might be better for users.

    Why, especially, should they want their users to have a much worse experience watching internet video?

    Even the latest version of Microsoft's browser (IE8) is a piece of shit. Microsoft has already demonstrated that the user experience is not their top priority.

    That means one must wonder what Microsoft's true motivation is.

    How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

    Oh, so you advocate moving away from IE entirely?

  • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:11PM (#35081462) Journal

    Ogg Theora is technically highly inferior to H.264. All it has going for it is religion and ideology.

    And? Windows comes bundled with tons of old, obsolete, and inferior codecs, many of which never were mainstream in any reasonable sense of the word. Either Microsoft is for giving more choices or its for technological superiority. Yes, it's not black and white, but it's also the case that Theora being free makes the lack of inclusion either a sign of a choice on their part or a belief that Theora is so underused that it ranks below a ton of old codec; that's a little hard to believe.

    Why should Microsoft support your particular belief system over the beliefs of anyone else? Why, especially, should they want their users to have a much worse experience watching internet video?

    Because they said they were for choice and choice inherently involves trade-offs? Or are you suggesting Microsoft should drop support for everything but H.264? I mean, if it's all about quality per bit, then H.264 is the current best technology.

    How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

    The second I see Microsoft chose and endorse a competitor's product because it's superior, we'll talk. As it stands, Microsoft's action seems more an attempt to ingratiate themselves with H.264 supporters while simultaneously mocking Google and Chrome. That's certainly their right and choice. But, it's not about generally giving more choice to the user. I'd be happier if Microsoft would just be honest and say they believe Google made a bad choice.

  • Re:Downright evil (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:15PM (#35081530) Homepage

    It's really much simpler. Windows 7 and OS X has already licensed the codec, Microsoft has absolutely nothing to lose by pushing it. Firefox has problems with it, Linux has problems with it. When there's so few competitors, pushing them down is as good as lifting yourself up. Not to mention in public perception they don't want it to look like Google is leading the pack and Microsoft tagging along. There's so many political and strategical reasons to do it that far outweigh the minimal patent royalties they get.

  • Re:Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by marcosdumay (620877) <marcosdumay@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:23PM (#35081644) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft is clearly doing that to push H264 on the internet, with the intent of hurting free software, and creating a competitive edge for them. The fact that they'll pay for that doesn't make it less of a finantial incentive.

C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas l'Informatique. -- Bosquet [on seeing the IBM 4341]

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