Monday, 6 January 2014

HTML5 Video Player

Image from Dinivip Media.

VideoJS is an HTML5 video player using the code of Video for Everybody you can use to stream content off your website. According to the VideoJS Blog, over 50% of web browsers now support HTML5 Players, and the major browsers are of course, Chrome and Mozilla.

Google has dropped H.264 from Chrome to instead support WebM/VP9 K and Theora/Ogg (Theora is a really sleek, lossless Codec for Ogg containers - all conversions I've done have been spiffing). IE will still be supporting MP4/H.264 and so will Apple but from the shallow end of my opinion the names Explorer and Safari, are too much the literal GUI metaphor we are trying to move away from in our digital aesthetics, harking back to the branding of Netscape Navigator.

Browser names alluding to prospecting like Safari and Explorer are outdated I feel as the net is no longer an impenetrable wilderness of which we wear our pith helmets and wield our mice like machetes as we cut through the circuitry to discover lost GeoCities of gold. To push the analogy even further, often treks through wilderness were sponsored by organisations with the aim of bringing back some exotic bounty so I guess in a way those names might be entirely suitable, as your browsing is being sponsored by Apple and Microsoft to bring them back lucrative spoils. Browsers that rely on propriety programs, the intrepid net adventure is sponsored by the company who develops the browser to go and rack up royalty by visiting pages that rely on that propriety programming. It seems that Ogg Theora and H.264 are the main considerations, whereas in the past it was primarily Flash. The great thing about Ogg Theora is that it is an Open Source codec, and what HTML5 does for the net is 'reduce the need for propriety plug-ins like Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, Apache Pivot, and Sun JavaFX' which is good for those of us who continually find the ways of some multinationals to be limiting and restrictive.

The problem with the decision being made on these codecs is browser support, because HTML5 was developed by two fellows from Google and Apple, the Ogg Theora format is not supported by Safari, nor VP9, which is Apple's browser, that for me might be an issue, although Mozilla users would not be affected by this. The other big browser which should have fallen truly by the wayside is Internet Explorer which also does not support the Ogg Theora codec. Google Chrome supports both, but Google has a healthy open source type attitude which means that it is in their interest to support Ogg Theora.

A nice video by Brad Neuburg from Google's Open Source Web Advocacy group.

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