HTML5 Video Update—WebM for IE9

March 16th, 2011

Today IE9 can play HTML5 video in both the industry-standard H.264 format and the newer WebM format. With the WebM Project’s release of WebM Components for IE9 (Preview), Windows customers running IE9 can play WebM videos in Web pages. IE9 is the only browser today committed to supporting both formats directly.

In the newly published Video Format Support demo at the IE Test Drive site, you can try out for yourself Web pages with both video formats on them in different browsers. You can see how Web site authors can adjust the experience on their pages based on the browser and operating system the visitor is using. You can also see the opportunity that HTML5 video offers publishers to make video an integral part of the Web experience, especially when it is fully hardware accelerated.

Unanswered Questions

In a previous post about HTML5 video, we described the current situation that consumers and publishers face, and others in the industry echoed the questions for WebM proponents. To summarize the situation:

  • IE9 supports HTML5 video using H.264, a high-quality and widely-used video format that serves the Web very well today. Microsoft has released add-ons for both Firefox and Chrome on Windows to add support for HTML5 video in H.264. “(These add-ins support the most basic consumer video playback scenarios in other browsers; to support additional HTML5 video scenarios, other browsers would need better video codec extensibility support or direct support for OS-provided video codecs.)”
  • IE9 supports HTML5 video using WebM for Windows customers who install third-party WebM support.
  • As an industry, we still face many legitimate, unanswered questions about liability, risks, and support for WebM, such as:
    • Who bears the liability and risk for consumers, businesses, and developers until the legal system resolves the intellectual property issues?
    • When and how does Google genuinely make room for the Open Web Standards community to engage?
    • What is the plan for restoring consistency across devices, Web services, and the PC?

Moving Forward

The people who build and use the Web deserve practical and consistent video support rather than ideology. Working through these questions is part of moving the Web forward. The Open Web is a product of consensus and open dialog. This post is part of the dialog to move the Web forward.

—Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer