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Re: Codecs for <video> and <audio>

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Mon, 6 Jul 2009 04:39:01 -0700
Message-ID: <63df84f0907060439j51ee7c97j242f50a804c89990@mail.gmail.com>
To: David Singer <singer@apple.com>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>, Joe D Williams <joedwil@earthlink.net>, robert@ocallahan.org, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>, public-html@w3.org
On Fri, Jul 3, 2009 at 7:14 AM, David Singer<singer@apple.com> wrote:
> At 20:03  -0700 2/07/09, Jonas Sicking wrote:
>> I can understand Apple wanting to support H.264 in addition to Theora,
>> but that doesn't preclude making Theora a baseline codec.
> Not with you.  Are you saying that we could write "UAs must support one of
> {H.264, Theora} in addition to AVI/PCM/Motion-JPEG, and authors should
> either use the latter, or offer content in both of the former, for
> interoperability"?  It gets UAs off the hook at the expense of requiring
> authors to encode H.264, which some have complained about.

I'm suggesting we make Theora the base codec endorsed by W3C and HTML.
But leave Apple, and anyone else, free to implement additional codecs
such as H.264.

Sites that want to be compatible with clients that doesn't support
theora can do so, and for many years to come will have to. For example
sites that want to support IE 8, Firefox 3, or Safari 3, will have to
use various fallback mechanisms to display videos. As part of that,
they can use <video> in combination with non-Theora codecs.

I agree this is all far from desirable, however I think that at this
time it's the most efficient way of moving towards a day where there
is a single codec implemented by everyone.

>> How is Apple working to change the landscape?
> I have spent many, many hours on this issue, internally at Apple, and with
> others both formally and informally.  Obviously, we don't yet have a
> solution, or I would have told everyone about it.  I'm sorry my struggles
> aren't public, but I don't think it's reasonable to insist that they are
> (indeed, if you insist all my work on this be in the open, the amount I
> would do would sharply reduce).  I know, this sounds like "trust me", and
> you don't.  I'm sorry, I am doing the best I can, and I can only say I share
> your frustration.

This is definitely great to hear, and I fully understand that not all
efforts can be public. However given that there are no results yet,
and might never be, I don't see an option but to pursue the best codec
we can that still fulfills W3Cs license policy.

>> First of all putting theora as a baseline in the spec isn't forcing
>> anyone to do anything.
> How does a mandatory requirement to implement avoid force?

You can simply choose to not implement that part of the standard yet.
Just like there are plenty of other parts of HTML 5 as well as other
standards that you're choosing not to implement yet. The only
difference is that in this case it's because of lack of hardware
support, rather than due to limited engineering resources in other

/ Jonas
Received on Monday, 6 July 2009 11:40:09 UTC

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