Thursday, 8 July 2010

WebM video support in Firefox 4 Beta

The new Firefox 4 Beta 1 includes support for HTML5 video elements playing WebM videos. This is exciting, as much of the industry is getting behind WebM. Opera is shipping WebM support in Opera 10.6, Google Chrome's "early access release channel" builds include WebM support. Microsoft said they'd support WebM in their HTML5 video implementation in their upcoming IE9, provided appropriate codecs are installed on the user's system. Adobe has announced that they'll support WebM playback in Flash, which will provide fallback playback of WebM in any older or otherwise non WebM supporting browsers. Intel says it will move towards hardware support for WebM once it becomes popular.

Google has freely licensed the VP8 video codec used in WebM, and provided a royalty free patent grant. This is great news for the future of the internet. We now have a royalty free video codec, with quality which is competitive with proprietary alternatives. This means anyone can freely use high quality internet video, without having to worry about getting sued or having to negotiate a patent license.

All this will hopefully contribute to increased adoption of WebM and HTML5 video, coupling all the power of the modern web browser's rendering pipeline with high quality video.

If you want to try out our new WebM support in Firefox, the easiest way is to download the Firefox 4 beta, and watch WebM videos on YouTube's "HTML5 Experiment" program.


audun said...

Why don't you mention Apple's WebM-support in the same way you mention Microsoft's WebM-support? They both got the same kind of poor "support".

Chris Pearce said...

@audun: Safari doesn't support WebM, so unless Apple comes to the party, Safari users will have to rely on using Flash fallback to play WebM videos. So there won't be Webm support on iPhone or iPads unless Apple implements it natively.

audun said...

@Chris: Safari supports just as much of WebM as Internet Explorer 9 does, and you did mention IE.
Seeing your reply I guess it's clear you where not aware that Safari's HTML5 Video can play any format supported by the installed QuickTime.

If you install WebM-filters for DirectShow, WebM will work in IE9.
If you install WebM-filters for QuickTime, WebM will work in Safari.

Quote from Apple:
> Note: Safari on iPhone OS supports low-complexity AAC audio, MP3 audio, AIF audio, WAVE audio, and baseline profile MPEG-4 video. Safari on the desktop (Mac OS X and Windows) supports all media supported by the installed version of QuickTime, including any installed third-party codecs.

voracity said...

@audun: There are two reasons why the phrase "Apple's WebM-support" in this context is wrong.

1) Microsoft have said they will be supporting H.264 (natively) and VP8 (if already on the platform) and *no* other codecs for the video tag. This means they've changed their plans to favourably accommodate WebM (if only slightly). This is true of all the other organisations mentioned, but is *not* true of Apple.

2) More importantly, the tone of Apple's (almost non-verbal) response to WebM has been extremely cold. I doubt Apple themselves would want people claiming that Apple in any way supports WebM at this stage.

audun said...

@voracity: I value both your points, tough I then thinks it's one thing that has to be clear first:
The question if a browser support WebM is, above all, a technical one.
And the answer to whether or not Safari supports WebM, is then *exactly* the same as the answer for IE.
(Maybe except that Safari's WebM-support exists today, while IE's only arrives with IE9 later.)

Then, if we say that the question of support, also is a question of "intentions to help WebM succeed", I would ask what really makes MS any better there than Apple?
Do we really believe that MS wants WebM to succeed in becoming the defacto video-format for WWW? Or at least for WebM to succeed in close-to-100% availability in browsers?

Sure, MS made an exception for WebM from there dont-even-allow-the-user-to-install-codecs-themself policy, but then Apple has done at least as much for WebM by being a primary pusher for HTML5 Video.

76561198025819257 said...

Didn't Adobe say they will just support VP8 but nothing about the WebM container?

NerdAttack said...

Anyone else suffering from poor playback performance with the Beta 1 when viewing WebM videos in YouTube (fullscreen especially is choppy as can be)? This in Windows 7 and with semipowerful hardware...

NerdAttack said...

Ignore the previous comment, I should have paid more attention to this blog before posting ;)

J said...

I'm getting very poor performance when playing WebM 720p videos with FF 4b1 and WinXP. They play fine with Adobe Flash.

Chris Pearce said...

@J: Poor performance on YouTube? As I said at

"We're still being hit by scaling performance, particularly on high resolution and "full-screen" YouTube HTML5 experiment WebM videos. We're aware of this, and are working to improve it."