Posted by: Leslie White | May 21, 2010

Web video

A few posts back I mentioned H.264 file format and today I came across an article discussing the future of web based video. Below is a portion of this article from the Washington Post.

“Adobe’s widely-installed Flash Player owns that market today. But its performance and security problems have left it widely-unloved, and it doesn’t work in most mobile devices today.

Until Wednesday, that solution looked to be a commercial format called H.264 that’s free for most people to use but may not be after 2015. As a result, the second most-popular browser, Mozilla Firefox, won’t play H.264.

Google’s solution was to donate a video format called VP8 under open-source, royalty-free terms, then combine that with the open-source Vorbis audio format into a new WebM multimedia standard.

Chrome, Firefox and Opera will support this; Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari won’t, but because Adobe’s Flash Player will also play WebM content, the opposition of Microsoft and Apple may not matter, nor may WebM possibly performing slightly worse than H.264. But iPhone and iPad users may find themselves cut off from a growing share of video.

Then there’s Google TV, its new software to connect the TV with the Web. When it ships this fall on Sony HDTVs and Blu-ray players and a Logitech set-top box, it should let you find things to watch — on cable, satellite or the Internet — with far more ease than traditional program guides.

Because it runs Google’s Chrome Web browser, with Flash included, it should play almost any online video (although sites such as the increasingly obstructionist Hulu could block Google TV). And because it’s Android underneath, it can run many Android apps.

Considering other firms’ clumsy or apathetic efforts — such as Apple’s neglected Apple TV — the market needs somebody to wake things up. Google could play the same constructively disruptive role here that it did in Web-mail.”

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