Mozilla to support H.264 on mobile

Mozilla CTO, Brendan Eich announced today on his personal blog that Mozilla has taken the hard decision to support the H.264 video format on mobile editions of Firefox.

The reasons are pretty clear: Mozilla and Opera seem to be fighting this battle alone (EDIT: sort of, Brendan clarifies that Opera already supports H.264 on mobile), and the result is a less than optimal experience for mobile users: WebM or Theora are more power consuming since they don’t have widespread hardware acceleration support. Support that would come if more major players (browser makers and content providers) would come aboard.

Google announced a year ago that it would drop H.264 support from Android and Chrome in favor of WebM, the open format it bought and released a year earlier. But it hasn’t happened, while YouTube, the main web video property keeps HTML5 video as a hardly discoverable feature and covers just about a third of all videos, out of 100% as announced by Google years ago.

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Winamp is the latest WebM supporter

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 gets WebM support

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.

Mozilla and company announce WebM, VP8-based open video format project

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.