May 19th, 2010
In previous posts, we described why IE9 will support H.264-encoded HTML5 video. Microsoft and other browser providers see hardware support, customer and partner readiness, and intellectual property rights as key factors making H.264 an excellent choice for video encoding and playback. These posts generated a significant amount of support and suggestions. This feedback together with today’s industry announcements create a good opportunity to follow up and provide more information about HTML5 video support in IE9.
In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows.
As we said at MIX recently, when it comes to HTML5, we’re all in. This level of commitment applies to the video codecs that IE9 will support as well. We are strongly committed to making sure that in IE9 you can safely view all types of content in all widely used formats. At the same time, Windows customers, developers, and site owners also want assurances that they are protected from IP rights issues when using IE9.
We have technical specifics to work through. We want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web, and to do so in a manner consistent with our view of safety and security.
In the meantime, in choosing a video codec, customers and partners have many issues to consider.
Today, hardware support is widely available for H.264 both on PCs and phones. (You can read about the benefits of hardware acceleration here, or see an example of the benefits at the 26:35 mark here.) Codecs have been a source of security and reliability issues (link1, link2, link3, link4) for some users. New code often faces security issues; the H.264 codec in Windows 7 has been in broad use for some time now. Sites also need to think about the issues in supporting multiple formats.
As this article points out, the issue of potential patent liability is “ultimately for the courts to decide.” Some web groups have cited concerns about patent issues with similar codecs and the costs that may be associated with shipping codecs not covered by patent licenses. At the same time, there’s been community discussion about the lack of H.264 support in some browsers, for example here (via a comment on the IE blog).
Again, we want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web. We are strongly committed to making sure that in IE9 you can safely view all types of content in all widely used formats. When it comes to video and HTML5, we’re all in. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows.
General Manager, Internet Explorer
Note: as we said in our prior post, comments are not available on the IE blog this week due to a system upgrade. We always want your thoughts and feedback, so we cross-published this post on the Windows blog. If you want to comment on this post, click here.
Articles referenced in this post:
Apple QuickTime H.264 Movie File Remote Code Execution Vulnerability
Benefits of GPU-powered HTML5
Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 435339 (at comment 60)
Bugzilla@Mozilla – Bug 435339 (at comment 79)
How Much Web Video Is iPad-Ready? About Two-Thirds. Really.
HTML5 video: Browser support (Wikipedia)
IEBlog : Follow Up on HTML5 Video in IE9
IEBlog : Follow Up on HTML5 Video in IE9 (comment)
IEBlog : HTML5 Video
Keynote Day 2 :: Sessions :: Microsoft MIX10 (at the 26:35 mark)
Know Your Rights: H.264, patent licensing, and you — Engadget
Microsoft fires back at critics of its HTML5 strategy | ZDNet
Microsoft Intellectual Property Expansion: Frequently Asked Questions Nov. 10, 2004
Public Advisory: 04.09.10 // iDefense Labs
SecuriTeam – Apple QuickTime H.264 Nal Unit Length Heap Overflow Vulnerability
Use of Ogg formats in HTML5 (citation reference) (Wikipedia)
[whatwg] Removal of Ogg is *preposterous*”
Edit 2pm: typo correction in the 4th paragraph.