More Information on the H.264 “Crisis”

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Thom Holwerda from OS news with a good post that helps better explain how H.264 fits into browsers:

Browser support is very varied, Firefox only supports Ogg video (plus WebM in Firefox 4), Opera supports WebM and Ogg video but purports to play H.264 video if the user has the codec installed, Internet Explorer has only H.264 support built in, but Microsoft reversed a previous decision to exclude WebM (choosing to play WebM only if the user has installed the codec themselves) and Safari will play anything QuickTime can play, but on iOS this is no more than MPEG4 and H.264.

Because browser vendors vary in what codec they support this has forced web authors to either offer their content in both formats or to use fallback mechanisms that use Flash or Silverlight to play the H.264 video in browsers that don’t support it natively. Google took a pragmatic approach in baking both H.264 and Ogg Theora into the browser, the only vendor to do so–playback in Opera and Safari is dependent on system and third-party codecs.