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30 April 2010, 11:10

Microsoft: IE9 HTML5 video will only do H.264

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Microsoft's Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager for Internet Explorer, has announced that the company will only support H.264 video in the next version of Internet Explorer, IE9. Hachamovitch says that as H.264 is an industry standard which is widely used, has a range of hardware support and is licensable through MPEG LA, the IE9 developers are "focusing our HTML5 video support on H.264". He points out that H.264 is a good alternative to replace the use of Adobe's Flash to deliver video. "Flash does have some issues, particularly around reliability, security, and performance" but despite that he said, Microsoft has a good working relationship with Adobe as "Flash remains an important part of delivering a good consumer experience on today’s web".

The announcement will be a blow for supporters of Ogg Theora, including Mozilla which has said it will only include the Theora codec in its HTML5 support because it is believed to be free of patents. There had been hopes that IE9 would leverage Window's media framework, allowing Ogg Theora video to play when an appropriate codec was installed. Apple and Google have also chosen to only support H.264 in their Safari and Chrome browsers. However, the situation over codec's may change in the near future; Google are reported to be planning to open source the On2 VP8 codec at Google I/O in May. Whether VP8 becomes a widely used free codec will depend on support being implemented in the various browsers.


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