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01 June 2009, 11:42

Dailymotion tests non-Flash video portal

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French video portal Dailymotion is ditching the use of proprietary plug-ins such as Flash and Silverlight for its "pré bêta" Dailymotion site. Instead, the open video site is exploring the possibilities offered by HTML 5 and the pre-release version of Firefox 3.5. Rather than using a plug-in, the HTML 5 video player used by the video portal integrates content encoded using open source video codec Ogg Theora via the forthcoming HTML 5 video element. The player itself consists of JavaScript, CSS3, SVG filters and PNGs. To play content from the beta site users are asked to install the pre-release version of the Firefox 3.5 browser, which includes a decoder for Ogg Theora and its audio equivalent Vorbis. Users who visit the site using any other browser are told that viewing videos requires a 'more advanced browser'. The code is currently optimised for the Mozilla browser, but, according to the Dailymotion-blog, they "would be happy to work more closely with developers from WebKit and Opera."

Whether or not Dailymotion succeeds in its goal of "making history" with this development remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it is the first time a major video portal has – at least in part – dared to do without the dominant Flash format. Wikipedia and some other sites (such as use only Ogg formats. Dailymotion will reveal more on its strategy at the Open Video Conference in New York on 19th/20th June.

In order to be able to play audiovisual content without additional browser plug-ins, in their "W3C editor's draft" for HTML 5 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and members of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG) proposed adopting the open source Ogg codecs, developed by the Xiph Foundation, as the default for the planned video and audio elements. In the end, however, concerns expressed by Nokia among others, over "patent risks" for such "proprietary codecs" resulted in this passage being deleted from the draft.


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