W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > April 2007

Re: Mandated Video Format

From: Robert Brodrecht <w3c@robertdot.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 12:02:59 -0500 (CDT)
Message-ID: <50118.66.151.50.244.1175878979.squirrel@www.robertdot.org>
To: <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Cc: <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>, <doug.schepers@vectoreal.com>, <public-html@w3.org>


Henri Sivonen said:
> On Apr 6, 2007, at 04:09, Robert Brodrecht wrote:
>> 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
>
> Microsoft and Apple have taken different sides in the codec battle
> before <video>. So far, the market hasn't sorted this out.
>
> Apple has put it weight behind H.264 (standardized at ISO, subject to
> an MPEG LA patent portfolio). Microsoft has put its weight behind   WMV9
> (standardized after the fact as VC-1 at SMPTE, subject to an   MPEG LA
> patent portfolio).

What I'm asking is for the vendors to come to a consensus (which is why I
said vendors should try to "come to some diplomatic decision") - be
selfless rather than selfish.  We can mandate Theora or H.264 and not
everyone will implement the SHOULD/MUST (which is self-defeating).  We can
give the vendors a chance to come to an amicable, mutually beneficial
decision on their own (which I hope is possible due to each browser making
attempts to be interoperable as far as rendering is concerned, but may not
be in reality).  Or we can give up trying to find a baseline (de facto or
mandated) and see what the market dictates (aka give up).  Right now, all
we're doing is arguing the same two or three points about Theora vs MPEG4
(royalty, submarine patents, amount of distribution, and the like).  The
debate has been going on in the WHATWG for weeks.  WHATWG has no
consensus.  Most points made pro/con each format are reasonable.  So,
arguing isn't getting closer to a solution.  It's only proving that Theora
and MPEG4 are both unacceptable solutions for one or more vendor, and thus
would be self-defeating as a baseline.

So, I'm aware Microsoft and Apple both have their pet codecs.  What I'm
asking is for vendors to put aside their self-interest and look at the
people who develop for their browser and the people that use their browser
(the customers and developers), then do what is best for the Web instead
of what is best / easiest for their particular company.  <video> shouldn't
be a strategic battle to "win" for a pet codec.  This isn't about getting
in on HD-DVD licensing.  This is about a humanitarian effort.

Frankly, I don't want there to be a mandated codec.  I want the vendors to
work it out.  I would really love for <video> to be like <img> where I
have a few ubiquitous choices (PNG, JPG, GIF) and use which is best for
the particular situation (e.g. photos vs icons).

If the codec ends up being something like M-JPEG, so be it.  At least we
have something.  If the author of the content wants to export 4 different
versions (e.g. WMV, H264, Theora, and DIRAC) to get better quality /
bitrates for each browser, let them do that.  If the author wants to
create one file, even though it isn't the most optimal format, at least
they will be able to do that.  We're talking about a baseline.  At this
point, I don't think we can reasonably expect the baseline to be the
optimal codec.  It is a lowest common denominator between all the browsers
that we need.  Or can we not look other places than the
latest-and-greatest?

-- 
Robert <http://robertdot.org>
Received on Friday, 6 April 2007 16:46:38 UTC

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