Google Chrome Browser dropping H.264 support

Google Chrome Browser dropping H.264 support
On January 11, Google announced that Chrome’s HTML5 video support will change to match codecs supported by the open source Chromium project. Chrome will support the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and support for the H.264 codec will be removed to allow resources to focus on open codec technologies.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Google will soon stop supporting the H.264 video codec in their Chrome browser and will support its own WebM and Ogg Theora technologies.

Google's announcement of their change from H.264 to WebM and Theora in the Chrome browser came in a post Tuesday on Google’s Chromium blog by product manager Mike Jazayeri. Jazayeri explained on the Chromium blog why Chrome will no longer support H.264:

“We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome’s HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.”

Since Google is developing the WebM technology, they can develop a good video standard using open source faster and better than a current standard video player can.

The problem with H.264 is that it cost money and the patents for the technologies in H.264 are held by 27 companies, including Apple and Microsoft and controlled by MPEG LA. This makes H.264 expensive for content owners and software makers.

Since Apple and Microsoft hold some of the patents for the H.264 technology and make money off the licensing fees, it’s in their best interest not to change the technology in their browsers.

There is however concerns that Apple and Microsoft’s lack of support for WebM may impact the Chrome browser. Since H.264 is so popular it’s going to force Chrome users to use for video playback which sends the video to a flash player and encodes it as H.264 for playback.

It’s interesting to know that Google is dropping H.264 support but not Flash. This is because Adobe owns Flash and is also a WebM partner that will support WebM technologies inside Flash. This leaves Adobe siding with and their WebM technology.


Explore further

Adobe embracing Apple-favored online video format

More information: Chrome Blog

© 2010 PhysOrg.com

Citation: Google Chrome Browser dropping H.264 support (2011, January 14) retrieved 20 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-01-google-chrome-browser-h264.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Jan 14, 2011
Of course, Google also owns Youtube, so when the videos are all moved over to their format, Microsoft and Apple will have to support it.

Jan 14, 2011
All this will accomplish is prolonging the use of flash. Microsoft and Apple will never support WebM and web developers will just encode in H.264 and use flash(which Chrome still supports) to wrap it.

Jan 14, 2011
and web developers will just encode in H.264 and use flash(which Chrome still supports) to wrap it.

I'm a web developer and I won't be encoding anything in H.264. There's no benefit to me at all as a web developer to support that. I'm 100% for free, open standards like WebM and Theora and those are the ones I'll be supporting.

Of course, if anyone does continue to encode in H.264, they will, of course, require the use of flash by their users. I'll be glad when Flash is gone too.

Jan 14, 2011
I'm tired of all this "innovation" in video "standards". Why can't we just settle on one, and then leave it at that?

Jan 14, 2011
I support innovation if it means of breaking microsoft monopoly.

Jan 14, 2011
I'm tired of all this "innovation" in video "standards". Why can't we just settle on one, and then leave it at that?


Because you only stop and settle on one standard when you've got it perfect. We're a long way from perfect software so we must experiment,test, and improve. If you head in one direction, you may encounter a dead end.

Jan 14, 2011
That's what we really need, more video file formats. Yay!

Jan 15, 2011
I'm tired of all this "innovation" in video "standards". Why can't we just settle on one, and then leave it at that?
Because there are big companies profiting by keeping their proprietary, home-grown "standards" different from proper standards.


and we all know who these companies are. Microsoft, Apple and the rest of them which are making oceans of money and slowing or preventing progress, or at least trying to.

Jan 15, 2011
"The problem with H.264 is that it cost (sic) money.." and "There is (sic) however concerns that.." That won't be an "A" for English grammar then will it?

Jan 18, 2011
@CSharpner: "I'm a web developer and I won't be encoding anything in H.264. There's no benefit to me at all as a web developer to support that."

Hmm. You must develop for sites that don't want millions of iPhone users to see any video. Maybe restaurant website clients, then? They seem to hate the idea of someone out on the town actually being able to view their menu by hiding all the content of their site behind garbage Flash animations.

Jan 19, 2011
Flash is a reasonable free choice for the user - it just dumps the costs onto the supplier...HTML5 is compelled (i beleive) to support webM

There's no cost to distribute Flash content. HTML5 does not have any requirement to support any particular codec. HTML5 is codec agnostic.

Jan 19, 2011
@CSharpner: "I'm a web developer and I won't be encoding anything in H.264. There's no benefit to me at all as a web developer to support that."

Hmm. You must develop for sites that don't want millions of iPhone users to see any video

www dvdtoiphone net / video-format html

As you can clearly see, the iPhone supports more than H.264.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more