Mozilla to Eventually Support H.264 Standard

By Ed Silverstein March 21, 2012

Mozilla will soon support the H.264 standard after other alternatives have failed.

In a recent article by The Inquirer, Mozilla only came to support the standard reluctantly.

"Mozilla is on the cusp of changing our policy about our use of video codecs and making use of a format known as 'H.264,'” Mitchell Baker, chair of the Mozilla Foundation, said in a recent blog post. “We have tried to avoid this for a number of years, as H.264 is encumbered by patents."

"The state of video on the Web today, and in mobile devices in particular, is pushing us to change our policy,” Baker added. “We've declined to adopt a technology that improves user experience in the hopes this will bring greater user sovereignty. Not many would try this strategy, but we did. It's time to focus on shipping products people can love now, and to work on developing a new tactic for bringing unencumbered technology to the world of audio and video codecs."

Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich suggests Mozilla might have been able to avoid the move had it received more support from Google and Adobe. The two large companies said they would support open standards.

"Changes promised by Google and Adobe have not been made," Eich added.

"H.264 is absolutely required right now to compete on mobile,” he added. “I do not believe that we can reject H.264 content in Firefox on Android or in B2G and survive the shift to mobile. Losing a battle is a bitter experience. I won't sugar-coat this pill...Failure on mobile is too likely to consign Mozilla to decline and irrelevance."

H.264 was developed by Apple, Microsoft and other companies, according to The Register. It is dominant in video compression and playback for the Web and devices. Mozilla had also opposed supporting H.264 because it was a non-open codec.

Eich and Baker said Mozilla even tried to give “VP8 and others a chance, but these failed.” Google announced in 2008 it released ON2's VP8 video codec as royalty-free, open-source software, TechZone360 said.

“We shouldn’t beat ourselves up for somehow failing to live up to Mozilla’s values," Baker said in the blog post. "We’ll find a way around this impasse. We have some of the world’s most creative and dedicated people working on open video and video technologies. We’ll rebuild the maze if we have to. We’ll keep working hard to bring unencumbered codecs to the web. We’ll be more effective at building products people can love as we do this. We should do so proudly.” 




Edited by Braden Becker

TechZone360 Contributor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

Microsoft Research Project Allows for Inexpensive 3D Scanning from a Smartphone

By: Christopher Mohr    8/27/2015

It is now possible to perform 3D scanning from a smartphone, without additional hardware or an Internet connection, thanks to a new Microsoft Research…

Read More

Amazon's Scaled Back Consumer Device Efforts, Dash Button, and More

By: Paula Bernier    8/27/2015

Word is that Amazon is scaling way back on its consumer devices efforts, having let go of dozens of Lab126 engineers who worked on its Fire phone, acc…

Read More

The 4K War is Brewing, but Don't Expect a Crowned Winner

By: Special Guest    8/27/2015

The hype around 4K Ultra HD video is growing and we're seeing it gain traction in real ways. From the NFL Network and CBS using 4K cameras to capture …

Read More

Wallet Wars Part 2: Thanks to EMV, the Force is with Mobile Wallets

By: Special Guest    8/26/2015

In December 2015, when "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" hits movie theatres across the U.S., a very different type of force will 'awaken' the mobile wal…

Read More

Major Automakers Forge Alliance to Combat Cyberattackers

By: Joe Rizzo    8/25/2015

If you take a few minutes to think about what hackers go after, you'll realize that it is anything that has an Internet connection. Thanks to the Inte…

Read More