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Re: Mandated Video Format

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Thu, 5 Apr 2007 20:09:59 -0500 (CDT)
Message-ID: <52972.66.151.50.244.1175821799.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, <doug.schepers@vectoreal.com>, <public-html@w3.org>


Henri Sivonen said:
> <img> de facto mandates GIF87a, GIF89a, PNG and Huffman-coded
> Baseline JFIF, which leads to interop.
>
> If Microsoft supports WMV9/VC-1, Apple supports a subset of H.264,
> Opera supports Theora and Mozilla supports Dirac (just illustrating
> the point; no actual Mozilla commitment to Dirac implied), interop
> won't be achieved.

Would a few baseline de facto video formats not eventually appear?  I've
said it before, and I still may be naive: in this age of moving toward
interoperability between browsers, I don't see why the four major vendors
(IE, Moz, Opera, and Apple) can't come to some diplomatic decision about
what formats could be supported.  There has to be some overlap somewhere. 
If we can get IE and Apple on one codec and Moz and Opera on another, with
good fallback support for unsupported files, developers would only suffer
a little.  This is better than 4 different codecs.

Further, I'm still of the opinion that the video does not have to be HDTV
quality.  As a web designer, I'm more concerned about the file being easy
to create and implement.  If anything, Flash has provided that ability. 
Their videos aren't amazing quality.  But they are relatively small and
they work without much fuss.  That is what <video> is competing against. 
Maybe there is some other "more open" codec that is older and less
restrictive that is RF and more distributable?  I'm posing this as a
question to start a different discussion that will hopefully be more
fruitful.

At this point, the lines have clearly been drawn (ignoring Mozilla's lack
of opinion, AFAIK): Apple and MS won't do Ogg.  Opera wants to do Ogg and
seems to not want to do MPEG-4.  It's an impasse at this point that has
been discussed at great length on the WHATWG list.  I don't expect either
to budge without the market dictating their decision.  We can continue the
same argument here, but I feel like we need to stop arguing Open Source vs
Royalties / Open Source vs Submarine Patents and figure out another way to
look at the problem.  The arguments, so far, are getting us no where.

I wish I could contribute more to the discussion as far as figuring out a
solution, but I know absolutely nothing about codecs and royalties and
video patents.  I won't be a part of the solution to the final problem of
baseline codecs, but I'd at least like to contribute to the solution by
saying we haven't made any inroads the way we are discussing it now.

If we can't come to some reasonable solution, the idea of a baseline codec
is dead and the market will simply dictate the solution independently of
us.  We might have to accept that as the reality of it, even if it hurts
web developers and <video>.

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Friday, 6 April 2007 04:47:07 GMT

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