“The format war over online video standards is over. You may not have realized there was a war at all, but this is a big deal,” Anders Bylund writes for The Motley Fool. “This is not a cease-fire, but a peace treaty with every relevant John Hancock firmly aboard.”
Bylund explains, “When Google released the high-quality WebM video format royalty-free to the world, digital video publishers were faced with a conundrum: Support the guaranteed royalty-free but slightly lower-quality WebM standard, or the sharper but potentially more expensive H.264 industry standard?”
The industry divided among the WebM camp, the H.264 supporters, and the true neutrals of the browser world thusly:
• WebM support only: Mozilla Firefox.
• H.264 support only: Microsoft Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.
• Both: Google Chrome and Opera.
“Now the MPEG LA technology licensing body has announced that the H.264 standard will join WebM on the royalty-free side of the fence until the end of time or until the standard becomes obsolete, whichever comes first,” Bylund writes. “This makes Google’s $133 million buyout of On2 Technologies seem like a waste of money — that’s where the technology for WebM came from, and now there’s really no need to provide a royalty-free alternative to the prevailing standard. But raise your hand if you believe that H.264 would be free today if Google hadn’t made that move. Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
Bylund writes, “Of course, H.264 isn’t entirely free even now… This tricky minefield just got a little less dangerous but is by no means completely defused.”
Read more in the full article here.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “JES42” for the heads up.]