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Open Web, Open Video and WebM

May 19th, 2010

Video is an integral part of the modern web experience, which is why Mozilla has been working for the past few years to make sure that video can be used in the ways necessary to sustain the web’s incredible growth and generativity. Today we’re excited to join Google in announcing the WebM project to advance web video, including Google’s release of the VP8 codec under open source and royalty-free terms.

Since Mozilla first announced support for HTML5 video, we have worked to improve the performance, usability and capabilities of open video on the web. We’ve been grateful for the opportunity to support the visionary work of the Ogg Theora project, and in collaboration with them we’ve brought royalty-free web video to hundreds of millions of users around the world. Most recently, Mozilla commissioned work to provide hardware acceleration for Theora, making it dramatically more efficient on today’s mobile devices.

Until today, Theora was the only production-quality codec that was usable under terms appropriate for the open web. Now we can add another, in the form of VP8: providing better bandwidth efficiency than H.264, and designed to take advantage of hardware from mobile devices to powerful multicore desktop machines, it is a tremendous technology to have on the side of the open web. VP8 and WebM promise not only to commoditize state-of-the-art video quality, but also to form the basis of further advances in video for the web.

It is a great time to be a web developer, and there has never been a better time to be a supporter of open video on the web. Mozilla is very excited to be part of the WebM project, and to join with an impressive list of industry partners in advancing unencumbered, high-performance multimedia on the web. And, of course, we’re working to get this capability into the hands of 400M Firefox users on desktops and mobile devices alike.

Preview builds of Firefox with WebM support are available at http//nightly.mozilla.org/webm.