Firefox is now supporting H.264 for web-based video chat, thanks to a binary component provided by Cisco — but H.264 web video streams still can’t be played natively in the browser.
Video chatting could soon get a whole lot easier — if only the major browser makers could agree on a common standard. So what’s WebRTC, and why are folks still fighting about it?
This week’s IETF meeting in Vancouver has ended without a decision on a mandatory video codec for WebRTC, the proposed standard for real-time voice and video communication. Browser makers, videoconferencing equipment manufacturers and chipset vendors had hoped to finally agree on whether H.264 or VP8 should become the default codec for WebRTC, and Cisco (s CSCO) had even mounted an eleventh-hour push, getting Mozilla to agree to implement H.264 — but in the end, no consensus was reached in what I’ve been told was an at times testy meeting.
Cisco may have landed a surprise coup to push for H.264, but Google still thinks that VP8 is the best codec for real-time communication on the web.
After long resisting proprietary media formats, Mozilla has agreed to add H.264 to its browser. The move is made possible through a partnership with Cisco, which wants to press the industry to agree on the format for real-time communication.
Some Chromebook owners are getting their Google Play video rentals in WebM, thanks to new HTML5 video security. And Google is already working hard on a next-generation video codec.
A full 80 percent of videos are encoded in H.264, according to new data from MeFeedia. The latest figures show just how far the industry has come in adopting the H.264 video format as the de facto standard for video encoding.
Google’s new Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android will natively play WebM video streams and MKV files. However, don’t expect your Android handset to support all those files you downloaded from The Pirate Bay any time soon; the new codec support largely targets developers.
Any video call between users of Skype’s newest Windows client automatically uses Google’s open video codec VP8. Being embraced by a company that’s soon part of Microsoft is a big boost for Google’s open video strategy, and it could quell potential fears of patent lawsuits.
H.264 license holder MPEG LA says it’s ready to step up the fight against Google’s open-source WebM format. After threatening to form a patent pool to use against WebM, the group now says it has identified 12 companies with patents essential to the VP8 standard.