Many years have past since Winamp’s golden years when Justin Frankel and company scored hit after hit with every release (save Winamp 3), but it’s still my favorite music player (no media player favorite yet), and I’m pleased to learn it has just become the latest WebM supporter, adding its important user base as potential consumers of the open video format.
Firefox 4 nightly builds just got support for WebM, the recently announced open video format, based on Google’s VP8 codec.
Previously, WebM support was only available in experimental Firefox builds that debuted the day WebM was announced, a few weeks ago.
Recently, Google announced a change to the WebM license to address some concerns about losing all rights to the WebM codec code, instead of just the patent license in case Google got sued for violating some submarine patent.
It should become generally available with the first Firefox 4 beta targeted for late June.
More details on the landing in Chris Pearce’ blog.
The Participatory Culture Foundation has released the second iteration of the cool and dead simple Miro Video Converter, its open source video transcoding utility that converts basically every video format to the open Theora video format, and, new in this version, to the open WebM video format, announced earlier this week.
In addition to open formats it supports MP4, and includes transcoding profiles for iPod, iPod Touch, PSP, Android, a variety of cell phones, and, new in this version, iPad.
WebM was great news earlier this week, and this is the best way to finish it: with an easy, friendly tool for creating open video content. Now we only need a profile for YouTube and other WebM enabled web sites, and a way to automagically upload videos to these sites to make it the best option for end users.
Miro Video Converter 2.0 is available for Windows and Mac OS X only. You can get it from the Miro Video Converter web site.
It is not that big of a surprise, but still the most important announcement for the open web this year, Mozilla, Google, Opera, Adobe, and many other companies have announced WebM, a new open media project that aims to develop an open alternative for creating video and audio content for the web.
WebM uses VP8, the efficient video encoding format Google got when it acquired On2 Technologies (a process completed earlier this year) and is now relicensed under an open BSD license, Vorbis for audio encoding, and a subset of popular Matroska as the video and audio container.
More surprisingly, all browser vendors already have development versions that support the new WebM. You can get Opera, Firefox, and Chromium builds right now.
ffmpeg, DirectShow, and the VP8 SDK are the current options for encoding and creating WebM-enabled applications right now, with even a few commercial alternatives already available as mentioned in the WebM Tools section. The specification is labeled as final, so developers can conifdently start hacking according to the site.
As for content, there are already 1.2 million YouTube videos available in WebM. The WebM site provides instructions for watching WebM video which involve URL tweaking. Google has also announced they will transcode all YouTube videos to WebM.
The Participatory Culture Foundation has announced Universal Subtitles, a new project that aims to provide a mechanism to make web video subtitling an easy task anyone can participate and benefit from.
The PCF envisions three components:
- a widget that can be presented along any web video with a very user friendly interface to transcribe and/or translate the speech
- an open protocol that would enable browsers to request subtitles for videos
- a community of subtitling volunteers gathered around a subject, language or anything else
Mozilla is helping this initiative through the Mozilla Creative Collective, running a Design Challenge to collect different ideas on how this widget should work. Here’s a screenshot of the current version: