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December 9, 2007

VIDEO tag dynamics

VIDEO tag dynamics: A reporter writes of an addition to HTML named VIDEO: "Mozilla and Opera have announced support for new HTML tags for embedding videos. This will enable the browsers to play videos as long as the browser supports the codec. This would also allow users to user open source tools to embed video e.g. video encoded in Ogg Theora. Adobe, with its Flash Format, and Microsoft with its Media Player are doubtful to support the open source format." It's the last line which alarms me: the reporter replaces a technical issue with a political issue. Browser Plugins, which arrived at the same time as JavaScript, are just neutral capabilities which fit into most browser interfaces. Adobe Flash Player doesn't care whether it's an EMBED tag, an OBJECT tag, VIDEO tag. The browser renders the HTML to invoke the capability. If the world's deployed browsers ever converge on supporting a realistically standard Ogg Theora capability, then that's great, go for it, we'll all be better off. But any video engine in use wouldn't see any VIDEO tag; it's the browser which parses HTML and invokes some video capability. There's nothing for Adobe Flash Player to "be doubtful" about: it's either invoked or it's not. Perhaps the reporter meant to say "Will Adobe ever bundle (an acceptable) Ogg Theora implementation within Adobe Flash Player?" and I have no way of answering that; no way of predicting the future... each of the three video codecs over the past five-and-a-half years was a significant addition. But there's also the "use opensource tools to embed video" line in the original report, which makes me wonder whether the reporter thinks you can't use "opensource tools" to work with web video today. My main concern with the article is that it sets things up as a political play, with certain "open" players and certain "proprietary" players, instead of thinking about how to help more people make and watch video, more better.

Posted by JohnDowdell at December 9, 2007 11:55 AM