Firefox 3 to feature native audio video support

Firefox <video> support” align=”right”/>Chris Double has <a href=announced the implementation of the <video> and <audio> tags for Firefox as defined in the current HTML 5 Draft, currently in development by the WHAT WG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group).

Right now and for its first iteration, support will be limited to Theora and Vorbis, a couple of open source video and audio encoding formats respectively, developed by the Xiph.org Foundation, as recommended by the specification but other formats may be supported in the future as well.

Chris’ implementations uses libtheora, a Theora library that adds 100-200KB overhead to Firefox code currently. PortAudio, an open source cross platform API will enable multiplatform audio compatibility.

Native audio and video support is expected to be included in Firefox 3, Chris says, despite it’s not listed in the most current PRD (Product Requirement Document).

No build to try is publicly available yet but a video cast that showcases a web page with embedded video and the very simple HTML code required to make it. Experimental builds may become available soon, he added.

17 thoughts on “Firefox 3 to feature native audio video support”

  1. Hmm, not sure whether this is good or bad – especially in light of recent bloatware discussions…

  2. As video content becomes more and more common around I think it is time it receives the same treatment as image content. And of course an open format is the way to go.

  3. What is the point of doing this instead of relying on proven platform-specific plugins that have all the codecs one could need? Why have yet another media player with its own set of codecs and problems?

    Why not invest the work into making CSS or MathML or SVG support more complete? These are things were native browser support is essential, not media playing.

  4. JP, video is becoming more and more prevalent, just like image files did 15 years ago. The thing is there is currently a war of proprietary formats out there trying to lock developers and users in to their own tools and licenses, while there’s a free open powerful alternative available.

    On the other hand, it’s not like you have 10 developers and you are ordering one to take video support. This is open source and at least some part of development, fortunately, comes from volunteers who just step in to take on their own priorities or their view of what the priorities should be.

    Review, QA, approval and check in however will most likely require resources from Mozilla Corp. but it’s a minimal cost for a much larger benefit.

    SVG, MathML, CSS they all have people working on it and improvement drops in every day from what I can see on the nightly reports.

  5. Percy Cabello, I still do not see why including video support in Firefox should be a good idea: as I said there are dozens if not hundreds of codecs, there are many many problems and issues to get this right and there are programs that have those codecs and do get a large portion of this right. Why not provide a decent API for embedding them instead of starting from scratch?

    What is even more important is that video and audio will remain a moving target: DRM is getting more and more important and I am quite sure that additional codecs will become important. Why take all that load into a browser project? I am not usually arguing against additional features — on the contrary. I have heard the “bloat” argument more than once with features that are directly browser and html related. But video/audio is just a special case of embedding.

    Instead of reinventing the wheel, it would be MUCH more useful if finally Firefox would get a better multithreading model: one that does not freeze all your windows in many cases, one that does not crash all window if a plugin fails etc.

    And since Firefox has been branched, many features and additions have been rejected by whoever is in the position to reject community contributions. I am not against that, but that power should be used to allocate developer resources to the really important stuff, not something that obviously only Google wants.

  6. Anything that can reduce the plug-in mess is a good thing IYAM. Make audio and video properly system independant by implementing native support in Firefox and Opera.

    As it is now, Mac (and linux?) users often end up not being able to see online video because “they are not supported”…

  7. JP, there are a lot of image formats and that doesn’t mean you need a plugin for each of them as most browsers support gif/jpeg/png. At the same time it doesn’t mean other file formats like bmp, tif, crd, psd, xcf, etc are not relevant because of no native browser support but each has its use.

    The point is a common video file format is needed for the web and to avoid the problem with gif (patented/very limited) it has to be an open/free format. As mentioned, the specification allows other codecs.

    Regarding DRM I see it just the other way: I think DRM is walking to its future: the door.
    EMI has realized it and now its selling music in mp3 and aac format. I think we are still years from getting music in a more civilized format like vorbis but at least the walk away from DRM has started.

    Google will benefit of native video and audio support? So Yahoo!, AOL, won’t?

  8. Pingback: Mozilla si Opera vor sa simplifice integrarea filmelor in paginile Web at Liviu Mihai
  9. What is native audio format ? How can I rework a file, the only copy of which is the CD…it is my material and I made the Cd but lost the original files in a hardrive crash

    Thanks

  10. @kathleen madigan:
    Apparently you need to re-encode it as OGG Vorbis in order to use it with this tag in FF3. At least, that’s the case for now until plug-ins for other formats are made available.

    On another note, I’ve been trying to use this tag, but it doesn’t seem to work.

    “Warning: Unknown property ‘autoplay’. Declaration dropped.
    Source File: file:///Videos/Video%20Player
    Line: 0″

    “Warning: Unknown property ‘controls’. Declaration dropped.
    Source File: file:///Videos/Video%20Player
    Line: 0″

    “Error: document.getElementById(“video”).play is not a function
    Source File: file:///Videos/Video%20Player
    Line: 1″

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