Jan 29, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

HTML 5 video test page, from W3C - I've been using it to test Safari (big fail so far). Because, if we are to have any sort of video on the iPad, it's going to have to be through HTML5. Because you cannot cram the world's video through the bottleneck that is iTunes. (p.s. The video works fine in Firefox, but Firefox is another subversive element the censors at Apple have deemed verboten). Total: 155
[Direct Link] 51529

Re: Video

What's the criterion at work here? Ogg?

Currently, there are differences of opinion in the W3C as to what the video tag should support. All are agreed on the "open standard" criterion which would create a class that includes both Ogg and H.264. Those who favor Ogg exclusivity add the "license free" criterion and that's where differences of opinion emerge. While everyone agrees that H.264 is not license free, not all agree that Ogg is. Those that suspect that there might be "submarine patents" on Ogg reject the license-free criterion saying that nothing qualifies under it.

FWIW, there are also differences of opinion regarding the quality of Ogg vs H.264 with most observers conceding a slight edge to H.264.

As I understand it, the goal of the HTML 5 video tag is to elevate video to first class citizenship such that plug-ins and "helper applications" are no longer required. Eventually, this will obviate the need for Flash, Silverlight and Apple's QuickTime Plug-in (as distinguished from QuickTime itself).

Yes, Apple favors H.264 but not even exclusive HTML 5 support for H.264 would give Apple veto powers over the world's video. The current solution to this impasse is to write the video tag with fallback options if you are concerned.

The question to ask is, "Who cannot play H.264 video for free?" The answer, I submit, is, "no one." Windows users who have iTunes also have QuickTime which plays H.264 just like Macs do. Flash plays H.264. Silverlight plays H.264. And, of course there's ffmpeg and all of the tools and players, such as VLC, based on that. Vimeo and YouTube are beta testing the HTML 5 video tag with H.264 so that should provide a better real world test.

As for video on devices running the iPhoneOS (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad), H.264 will be the standard and the HTML 5 video tag will be preferred but that doesn't prevent non-Apple media repositories from making video and other media available to users of these devices via direct addressing, RSS or other means. [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Video

Excellent comments.

My criterion was simple - did it work for me on my desktop? [Comment] [Permalink]

Re: Video

@Stephen I was referring to the test web site author's criteria, not yours which are perfectly reasonable for end users.

As I look at the HTML code for item 8, for example, I can see no other outcome except "FAIL." Perhaps there is something else that does some parsing that I can't see. The point, however, is that we are not able to easily check the criteria at work for these HTML files, This raises the possibility of digital legerdemain. [Comment] [Permalink]

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