[whatwg] The issue of interoperability of the <video> element

On 6/25/07, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs at apple.com> wrote:
> Our current plan is to primarily support MPEG-4, including H.264/AVC
> video and AAC audio. We may support other codecs as well - it won't
> necessarily be the full set of codecs supported by QuickTime. This
> has been discussed to death already, but here are our basic reasons:
> - MPEG-4 is an ISO open standard (although unfortunately patent-
> encumbered).
> - Ogg Theora/Vorbis offers a royalty-free license for the few known
> patents, but we would assume additional risk of submarine patents if
> we supported it.
> - H.264 offers considerably better quality at the same bitrate than
> Theora/Vorbis.
> - H.264 is better for video delivery to limited-capability and low-
> power devices that support hardware video decoding. You may have
> heard that YouTube will be serving their video content as H.264 to
> AppleTV and iPhone.
> That's our current plan. We may revise it in light of future events,
> but it is unlikely that even a MUST-level requirement in the HTML
> spec would have much effect on whether we support Ogg or not.

Thanks Maciej for summarising Apple's position so nicely.

I think it's good that you have spelled it out:
Apple is happy to support MPEG-4, which has known patent encumberance
and unknown submarine patents, while Apple is not happy to support Ogg
Theora/Vorbis which has no known patent encumberance. This has to be
very clear to everybody.

I also agree: H.264 procudes undoubtedly better quality video than
Theora at the same bitrate. And I have no problem with Apple
supporting H.264. In particular when I sign up e.g. for movie delivery
through Apple, I'd be more than happy for H.264 delivery. But the open
Internet/Web should be run on open technology.

Also, on a side note, it is as yet unproven whether Ogg Theora or
H.264 are "better" for video delivery to low-powered devices. In
particular when considering the complexity of H.264 and the comparable
simplicity of Theora - it may well be that an efficient HW
implementation of Theora is better suited to low-powered devices than
H.264. This is a matter of ongoing research & development.

BTW: don't expect the discussion to be gone just because the position
of Apple has been made clear. As long as it doesn't make sense in the
greater scheme of things, it will re-emerge. Even if it might not get
resolved to the satisfaction of everybody.


Received on Sunday, 24 June 2007 17:16:36 UTC