Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Chrome Google Media Microsoft Technology

Microsoft Makes Chrome Play H.264 Video 535

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the patches-are-welcome dept.
nk497 writes "Chrome users will be able to play H.264 video — thanks to Microsoft. The software giant today unveiled the Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome, which will let users of the Google browser play H.264 video after it was dropped from Chrome over licensing issues. 'At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web including the ability to enjoy the widest range of content available on the internet in H.264 format,' said Claudio Caldato, Microsoft interoperability program manager."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Makes Chrome Play H.264 Video

Comments Filter:
  • "At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web"

    Ohhh, right, that's why Ogg Theora isn't natively supported in Internet Explorer [wikipedia.org]. Maybe you could concentrate on improving the support, capabilities and experience in your own browser before bothering to extend other browsers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by node 3 (115640)

      Adding support for H.264 is actually useful, unlike Theora support. Also, it's largely a game of upsmanship, basically saying, "here Google, we fixed your browser for you".

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:27PM (#35080868)

        Theora is also quite useful, given that the Wikimedia projects only accept free formats. You're not going to be able to upload your video in H.264 there, and they're a big enough player for this to actually matter.

        • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35081400)

          Theora is also quite useful, given that the Wikimedia projects only accept free formats. You're not going to be able to upload your video in H.264 there, and they're a big enough player for this to actually matter.

          Not even close. I've never, ever, received a link to a video on wikipedia (or any other wikimedia project). Ever. I bet most people aren't even aware that there *are* videos on wikipedia.

          If they were big enough to matter, people would already be installing Theora plug-ins or switching over to browsers like Firefox in order to view Theora videos. You'd hear iPhone and other smartphone users complaining about lack of Theora support. There would be how-tos on playing Theora content. Etc.

          None of this is happening. Wikipedia itself is pretty huge, but their impact on the multimedia market is insignificant.

      • by peragrin (659227)

        Well that and google made the chrome frame for IE. updateing IEE's poor javascript engine with something a bit more modern.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785)

        adding extensions to chrome is actually horrible, unlike theora support. It's largely a game of making the browser less secure, basically saying "please install this microsoft sanctioned addon into chrome to make your browser more vulnerable".

        • by node 3 (115640)

          Yes, I'm sure there will be countless exploits that use maliciously crafted H.264 videos to target Chrome users that have installed MS's H.264 plugin...

          I've seen some extremely tenuous FUD before, but wow!

      • I fail to see the relevance when everyone will be running Chrome on Android and OS X.
      • by Omnifarious (11933) * <eric-slash AT omnifarious DOT org> on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:32PM (#35081762) Homepage Journal

        I consider H.264 support in any browser to be of negative utility. It encourages the prevalence of a heavily patent encumbered format on the Internet, which is bad for everybody, except possibly a few large players like Microsoft (though ultimate I don't think it's in their best long-term interests either).

        So, in my opinion, they just added a freedom exploit to a previously useful browser.

      • by icebike (68054)

        Adding support for H.264 is actually useful, unlike Theora support. Also, it's largely a game of upsmanship, basically saying, "here Google, we fixed your browser for you".

        Upsmanship?

        More like feathering ones own nest.
        After all, Microsoft is a member of the H.264 Licensors [mpegla.com]. They stand to profit by the continued adoption of H.264.

        Actually, I can't even see Google getting all fussed about this, because they will not have to pay a license fee in 2016 because its not part of Chrome proper. Microsoft may not need to pay either, since as members they may get a free pass (just speculation on my part there).

        It isn't about Theora, and there are potential third party patent claims ag [streamingmedia.com]

    • by zn0k (1082797) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:20PM (#35080758)

      Anything that increases choice is a good thing.

      It's not like there isn't a very well documented interface to IE. Why don't you write an Ogg Theroa plugin for IE, rather than complain that Microsoft wrote something that is both in their interest and useful for users that do want to use h.264 as well as use Chrome?
      Or use the VLC media player plugin, which - at least according to the Wikipedia page on Theroa - lets you view that format in IE and Firefox.

      • by nschubach (922175)

        The problem with this approach is that Microsoft pushes the plugin they wrote out to all those chrome users on Windows.

        Will they push my ActiveX plugin to allow alternative formats in IE to all their users as well?

        There's a definite imbalance of power there. One one side, the users are going to get it (usually in some obscure patch message: "Improve Internet Explorer experience.") and the other; the user has to go out and manually obtain the plugin.

      • by Zelgadiss (213127)

        Oh I don't know about that.

        We are trying to standardize on a video codec for HTML5 after all.

        Maybe they would just set WebM as baseline and give an option to use another codec if the site developer so desires.
        Of course that would require MS and Apple to get on board the WebM train...

        Whatever.

    • I guess Microsoft employs obstetricians as their strategists. "Push! Push! Push!"

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grimsnaggle (1320777)
      But nobody uses Ogg Theora.
    • by alen (225700)

      code an activeX plugin and you should be OK

    • The full quote is:

      "At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web including the ability to enjoy the widest range of content available on the internet in H.264 format"

      They don't want Windows customers to have the best experience of the web, they want users to have the best experience of H.264 format content available on the web, a much narrower goal with less actual benefit to any user, not even just Windows customers.

      It's important to have all the information and not just pull something out of context, because you will get the wrong idea. MS concentrates just as much on the way they express themselves as they do on the development of their own sof

    • Ogg Theora is technically highly inferior to H.264. All it has going for it is religion and ideology.

      Why should Microsoft support your particular belief system over the beliefs of anyone else? Why, especially, should they want their users to have a much worse experience watching internet video?

      How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

      • by Teckla (630646) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:07PM (#35081406)

        Ogg Theora is technically highly inferior to H.264.

        That may be so, but when comparing non-technical merits, is Ogg Theora highly superior to H.264? That should be part of the equation too.

        All it has going for it is religion and ideology.

        Troll.

        Why should Microsoft support your particular belief system over the beliefs of anyone else?

        Because it might be better for users.

        Why, especially, should they want their users to have a much worse experience watching internet video?

        Even the latest version of Microsoft's browser (IE8) is a piece of shit. Microsoft has already demonstrated that the user experience is not their top priority.

        That means one must wonder what Microsoft's true motivation is.

        How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

        Oh, so you advocate moving away from IE entirely?

      • by 10101001 10101001 (732688) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @02:11PM (#35081462) Journal

        Ogg Theora is technically highly inferior to H.264. All it has going for it is religion and ideology.

        And? Windows comes bundled with tons of old, obsolete, and inferior codecs, many of which never were mainstream in any reasonable sense of the word. Either Microsoft is for giving more choices or its for technological superiority. Yes, it's not black and white, but it's also the case that Theora being free makes the lack of inclusion either a sign of a choice on their part or a belief that Theora is so underused that it ranks below a ton of old codec; that's a little hard to believe.

        Why should Microsoft support your particular belief system over the beliefs of anyone else? Why, especially, should they want their users to have a much worse experience watching internet video?

        Because they said they were for choice and choice inherently involves trade-offs? Or are you suggesting Microsoft should drop support for everything but H.264? I mean, if it's all about quality per bit, then H.264 is the current best technology.

        How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

        The second I see Microsoft chose and endorse a competitor's product because it's superior, we'll talk. As it stands, Microsoft's action seems more an attempt to ingratiate themselves with H.264 supporters while simultaneously mocking Google and Chrome. That's certainly their right and choice. But, it's not about generally giving more choice to the user. I'd be happier if Microsoft would just be honest and say they believe Google made a bad choice.

      • How about adopting (or adapting) a belief system that leads to better products instead of worse ones?

        Does that include better walled gardens topped with better razor wire?

    • by Quarters (18322)
      If and when "the best experience of the web" includes needing support for a little known and poorly named video codec than maybe the parent comment would be reasonable. With the small percentage of wanted content on the Web that is encoded with Ogg the post comes off as both trollish and ignorant. Ignorant of the minuscule demand for Ogg Theora and ignorant of the fact that a PR quote can't reasonably be held as factual relative to the opinions of everyone.
    • by westlake (615356)

      Ohhh, right, that's why Ogg Theora isn't natively supported in Internet Explorer

      Google Shopping returns 76,000 hits for "H.264."

      Product in stores now.

      41,000 hits for "H.264 camera."

      Including tens of thousands of CCTV security cameras, medical and industrial imaging systems you just might want to view through a browser.

      28 hits for "Ogg Theora."

      Google Video returns 130,000 hits for "H.264 Video."

      877 hits for "Ogg Theora Video."

    • Neither is h.264, or any other video codec. They are all handled by WMP. Install a codec and watch it magically work.
  • Priorities (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ironicsky (569792) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:17PM (#35080716) Journal
    Microsoft has interesting priorities... "Lets release a plug-in for a third party browser to fix a perceived short coming..." as opposed to "Lets fix the problems and short comings in our products". Slow clap for Microsoft.
    • by mangu (126918)

      Slow clap for Microsoft.

      With one hand

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Microsoft has interesting priorities... "Lets release a plug-in for a third party browser to fix a perceived short coming..." as opposed to "Lets fix the problems and short comings in our products". Slow clap for Microsoft.

      Yeah, it's almost as if Microsoft were a large company with a lot of developers assigned to a diverse range of products and tasks, where some developer's responsibilities don't overlap with the projects you seem to think they should be fixing bugs on.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      How much does MS stand to gain from continued support of h264 by a competing browser?

      I'd wonder if MS was involved in licensing the codec somehow. Are they a member of MPEG-LA?

    • Microsoft has interesting priorities... "Lets release a plug-in for a third party browser to fix a perceived short coming..." as opposed to "Lets fix the problems and short comings in our products". Slow clap for Microsoft.

      To be fair, Google has done that (in a much bigger way) for IE [google.com].

    • by Jonner (189691)

      Yes, their priority is clear in this case: to keep Google, Mozilla, Opera, and anyone else supporting WebM from gaining influence over web video. It's bad enough for MS that they've conceded their attempts to control it with their own formats are failing and they've backed MPEG-4. This is part of the same strategy that motivated them to make DotNet and MPEG-4 AVC add-ons for Firefox.

  • Poetic Justice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:17PM (#35080720)

    For when Chrome did the same for Internet Explorer

  • Memory Leak (Score:5, Informative)

    by Utopia (149375) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:20PM (#35080756)

    Microsoft's H.264 addon for Firefox has a bad memory leak.
    See http://www.neowin.net/forum/topic/971988-memory-leak-in-html5-extension-for-windows-media-player-firefox-add-on/ [neowin.net]

    So this might be bad for Chrome.

  • OS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:21PM (#35080780) Homepage Journal

    I still believe that every browser should rely on the codecs installed on the OS. Every platform (and optionally the user) can then choose what they want.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Even if you do believe that way, H.264 has no place in Open Web (nor in HTML standard).

      • by dagamer34 (1012833) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:31PM (#35080908)
        Businesses aren't going nor should they care if a format is open or not. They just want a reliable product to be delivered to their customers.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mdielmann (514750)

          Businesses aren't going nor should they care if a format is open or not. They just want a reliable product to be delivered to their customers.

          The one key issue with that statement is that if you release a royalty-encumbered product that you can't charge for, you're on the hook for some amount of money. Hence the push for open formats in web browsers, and why a company may be uninterested in producing a free product that opens them for lawsuits at some time in the future.

          This isn't a problem for paid-for products, because you can purchase royalties for the patented technologies and it becomes part of the product cost. So goes the theory, anyway.

        • by arose (644256)
          Opera isn't a business?
    • by arose (644256)
      And I believe that cross platform software should work out of the box by minimizing it's platform specific dependencies.
    • Re:OS (Score:4, Informative)

      by rwv (1636355) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:58PM (#35081284) Homepage Journal

      every browser should rely on the codecs installed on the OS

      If browsers rely on OS codecs, then distributions of Linux would need to license H.264 and other proprietary codecs. The fact that these codecs are encumbered by patents (making them non-free) makes this an unlikely scenario.

      Or would you, as a user, prefer to deal with purchasing licenses for every computer you want to install a particular codec onto? I doubt you would want this burden, so why suggest that Linux distributions should bare it?

      Really... the winning solution (for users) is for a codec that is not encumbered by patents to become the de-facto standard. By enabling H.264 in Chrome on Microsoft platforms, Microsoft is trying to make a patent encumbered codec the de facto standard so that it (meaning Microsoft) can collect licensing fees in the future.

    • by Zelgadiss (213127)

      Then what's the point of specifying a standard video codec in HTML5.

      Your suggestion is effectively the status quote. :x

      The standard is to make it easier for users (so they don't have to going hunting for a plugin) and developers (so they don't have to worry if their video will work on platform X).

      • by spinkham (56603)

        Yes, if there was one high compression, cross platform, already in hardware, open standard, royalty free codec, it should totally be in the spec.
        H.264 and WebM both fall down on different parts of those qualifications, so we get a turf war.

    • The whole point of standards is to ensure that one can safely state that $FOO will work on both System_A and System_B without knowing anything about them except that they support the standard. If we rely on system codecs then users can't be sure that the site they're visiting provides content in a codec available on their platform. And the content provider needs to have 2-4 versions of every video if they're going to be reasonable certain that the website will work with a random visitor.

      If we require that a

  • by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:22PM (#35080794) Journal

    "No way are we at Microsoft letting Chrome users off the hook for autoplayed videos with our advertisements in them."

  • This is making you sound like you want chrome users to use H264... I wonder why.

    I'm sure this is to give the choice, and not because you have interests in H264 yourself.

    Good going guys!

    [This post brought to you by the Sarcastic Foundation]

  • I can't help but think I can only benefit from Google and Microsoft fighting.
    • by Zelgadiss (213127)

      Not really.

      This is analogues to HD-DVD vs Bluray, movies got held up because they didn't know which format to use.

      The sooner the standards battle is over the better.
      Everyone can then get on with their lives.

  • I eagerly await a wall of text explaining why this is actually an evil move by MS, and how .h264 is the devil's codec that will steal the internet from all of us!
  • Do you remember this: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/22/1246248/Google-Brings-SVG-Support-To-IE [slashdot.org] ?

    I remember when Google announced the svgweb javascript library to enable SVG support in IE. That sort of reinforced the notion that Microsoft was playing catch-up in the browser technology arena. Microsoft is now, at least trying, I think, to present the appearance that Google is the company that is behind. Not to mention it doesn't hurt MS to have value added to Chrome when it runs on Windows. They're not going to make this happen for Chrome running on GNU/Linux.

    • by nschubach (922175)

      Especially since this plugin will likely be going out in Windows Updates so that the stranglehold of Internet video can remain in the hands of H.264 while those that choose non-Windows machines cannot view those videos without special provisions.

  • And (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unity100 (970058) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:35PM (#35080958) Homepage Journal
    will it report which videos i choose to watch on youtube to microsoft ? so that they can use it to 'improve their results' in any potential video service they may be launching, depending on what youtube shows ?
  • 'At Microsoft we respect that Windows customers want the best experience of the web including the ability to enjoy the widest range of content available on the internet in H.264 format,'

    No, I'm pretty sure that most Microsoft customers just get confused and glazed-over eyes when someone mentions H.264 or any other numbers.

  • I thought it said "Microsoft Makes Crime Pay".
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday February 02, 2011 @01:59PM (#35081288) Homepage

    We have seen in the past how well the .net for Firefox stuff went over. It caused all sorts of uproar, confusion and problems.

    Will Microsoft be releasing the source code for this plug-in so that we can properly trust it? I doubt it. And will there be a 3 mile long EULA attached to it? Almost certainly! Will it be hard to remove? Probably. I make these assumptions because we have seen this from Microsoft before. So unless they explicitly say they will do this any other way, we can presume they will do it the way they always have... and no, they will not support a Linux version of the plugin and not likely MacOSX.

    So in summary:

    1. It will be incomplete
    2. It will be closed
    3. It will be hard to remove
    4. It may not be "optional"
    5. It will cause problems with the browser and maybe the OS.

    • So in summary:

      1. It will be incomplete
      2. It will be closed
      3. It will be hard to remove
      4. It may not be "optional"
      5. It will cause problems with the browser and maybe the OS.

      6. It will be installed in Firefox as well, then MS H.264 will be the universal exploit attack vector -- Finally, crackers can create a single drive-by-download exploit that works in all major browsers.

What is worth doing is worth the trouble of asking somebody to do.

Working...