Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Understanding the format war

From: HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth

Video: Understanding the format war

With HTML5 video different browsers support different format scanners. There isn't one video format that all browsers support. You could see in this chart Safari and Internet Explorer support the MP4 H.264 format while Firefox, Chrome, Opera support the OGG and WebM formats. In this chart based on the statcounter.com global stats you can see the most supported format is the Ogg Theora format, which I said earlier is not as high-quality format as the others, but it was the first format to be used in HTML5 video, so it's supported by older versions including Firefox versions between 3.5 and 4, which if we look back at the HTML5 browser chart Firefox is the most used HTML5 browser.

Understanding the format war

With HTML5 video different browsers support different format scanners. There isn't one video format that all browsers support. You could see in this chart Safari and Internet Explorer support the MP4 H.264 format while Firefox, Chrome, Opera support the OGG and WebM formats. In this chart based on the statcounter.com global stats you can see the most supported format is the Ogg Theora format, which I said earlier is not as high-quality format as the others, but it was the first format to be used in HTML5 video, so it's supported by older versions including Firefox versions between 3.5 and 4, which if we look back at the HTML5 browser chart Firefox is the most used HTML5 browser.

Firefox version 4, which supports WebM, was released just at the end of March, the same month these stats are taken. So WebM support number is probably much higher even know with the rate that Firefox users are upgrading. Then with the release of IE 9, which supports the H.264 format, we'll probably see that number go up as well and all three may even out within the year. So what does this mean for us is web developers? It means that if we want to support HTML5 video across browsers, we need to provide our videos in at least two formats.

I'll go into strategies for choosing which formats to support in the chapter on video encoding. So why can't the browsers just agree on one format? Well the browsers that support the Ogg and WebM formats support them because they are free and open source. They believe that the web is free and open and video on the web shouldn't rely on a format that is closed and has licensing fees like H.264. The browsers that support H.264 believe that the open-source formats may actually be vulnerable to hidden patents, which could become a problem for anyone using them if these patents ever come to light.

In addition to that, Apple has invested a lot of money in the H.264 format including building hardware into the iOS devices to help with encoding and decoding video, meaning that even if Apple decided to support an open format, it would take more than a simple iOS software update for that format to work on iOS devices. But at this point Apple hasn't given any reason to believe that they ever will support an open format. There are two ways I can see this format war ending. The first would be if the H.264 format was made free and open.

If that happened, Firefox, Opera and Chrome would have no excuse to not adopt it and since so much of the web's video is already in the H.264 format, everyone would just continue to use it. I don't know that there is a good chance of this though because I think MPEG LA, the group behind H.264, is making good amount of money on H.264 royalties and probably doesn't want to give that up. The other way the format war could end as if Apple decides to support the WebM format. If that happened, I think Microsoft would follow suit with Internet Explorer and we would have one format that worked across all browsers and devices.

As opposed to Apple, Microsoft has shown some support of WebM through an optional plug-in that users can download to support WebM in IE. Apple though, as I've said, has shown no interest in WebM. So unfortunately neither option seems likely and we may need to support multiple formats in HTML5 video for many years to come. Now HTML5 audio doesn't escape this battle and the sides are basically the same. Firefox and Opera support the open Ogg Vorbis format while IE 9 and Safari support the closed MP3 and AAC formats.

So wherever the video formats debate goes, we can expect audio to follow. With all that hopefully you have a better understanding of where we are with HTML5 video and audio and hopefully you're not too discouraged. It really is a great new way to work with video and audio on the web. I'm excited for the day when it's all we need. In the rest of this course I'm going to introduce you to using HTML5 video and audio and show you how to work around all these issues I have talked about and if you've done it all once, it's really not that bad. So let's get in some code!

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth
HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth

37 video lessons · 14753 viewers

Steve Heffernan
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 24s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. Using the exercise files
      42s
  2. 15m 18s
    1. Understanding HTML5 video and audio
      4m 46s
    2. The state of HTML5 video and audio
      4m 29s
    3. Understanding the format war
      3m 53s
    4. Configuring your server to deliver HTML5 media formats
      2m 10s
  3. 32m 36s
    1. Using the video and audio tags
      5m 34s
    2. Using multiple sources for browser compatibility
      5m 53s
    3. Preloading
      4m 16s
    4. Autoplaying
      2m 2s
    5. Looping
      5m 11s
    6. Setting a poster frame
      3m 43s
    7. Setting the video width and height
      3m 40s
    8. Displaying subtitles and captions
      2m 17s
  4. 12m 40s
    1. Falling back to Flash
      4m 4s
    2. Falling back to download links
      6m 21s
    3. Using an embed code builder
      2m 15s
  5. 22m 17s
    1. Understanding HTML5 video formats
      5m 10s
    2. Understanding HTML5 audio formats
      2m 57s
    3. Encoding MP4/H.264 video with HandBrake
      3m 13s
    4. Encoding Ogg, Theora, and WebM with Firefogg
      3m 18s
    5. Encoding audio formats with VLC
      5m 54s
    6. Automating video and audio encoding
      1m 45s
  6. 34m 59s
    1. Setting up the JavaScript
      4m 39s
    2. Creating Play and Pause buttons
      7m 52s
    3. Creating a Play Progress bar
      5m 49s
    4. Creating a Load Progress bar
      9m 29s
    5. Creating a Current Time and Duration display
      7m 10s
  7. 4m 37s
    1. Overview of known issues
      35s
    2. Autobuffer or preload?
      56s
    3. Load progress in Firefox 3.6
      41s
    4. Android 2.0 issues
      1m 5s
    5. iOS 3 issues
      1m 20s
  8. 2m 8s
    1. Flight of the Navigator
      50s
    2. ZEN Audio Player by simurai
      34s
    3. The Wilderness Downtown by Google and Arcade Fire
      44s
  9. 1m 40s
    1. Further exploration
      1m 40s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed HTML5: Video and Audio in Depth.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.