Google's Licensing Wars over MP4 and WebM: Free

<  Blog Home
January 2011
January 2011
Chrome Logo
By

Oh Joy, let the licensing wars begin.

You may be wondering how Google Chrome's recent decision to abandon MP4 affects us? No one knows.

Chrome is still a small percent of the browser market, but we would still like to support Chrome if we can. However, there is not a good alternative to MP4 that has universal support, so web developers' options are limited. Their WebM format will not play on mobile devices yet, so unless a site offers both MP4 and WebM formats, mobile browsers won't be able to play the videos! Unfortunately it is not cost effective for small content providers to double encodes every video for WebM and MP4.

It's a bad move on Google's part because the internet cannot upgrade all it's video to WebM in the amount of time Google has allowed, so Chrome users are going to start complaining that they can't watch videos and they may abandon that browser. Yes, Google should encourage a move toward open source codecs, but in an industry that has so few "standards" they shouldn't just abandon de facto standards cold turkey. It presents an onerous burden on small content providers that don't have the resources that Google has to just re-encode all their videos or encode multiple versions (just imagine how much storage space and processing power will be required for Google to re-encode all their YouTube videos into another alternative format, they already have FLV and MP4 versions in multiple resolutions sizes up to 1080p HD video).

The history of the problem is that MP4 requires a license and some open source browsers don't want to or can't pay that fee (Opera, Firefox and Chrome), so they don't support MP4 in their <video> tag. Unfortunately the license holders won't make the codec free to decode. The ridiculous part is that content providers already pay licensing fees to encode the video in the first place, so you shouldn't have to pay a second fee to decode it. It's like an airport storage locker, you put in a quarter and take the key. You shouldn't have to put another quarter in to get your stuff out.

MP3 had similar problems, but some of the patents have expired and the same license holders have basically just stopped pursuing use violations. So effectively it's become a de facto standard for audio. We can hope that the same thing happens to MP4 eventually. The owners of the license are being very short sighted and they are going to lose the game if they don't become more flexible, because MP4 will be abandoned in favor of more open source options if a solution is not found. Unfortunately MP4 is superior to WebM in quality and size, so it would be a loss for everyone.

In the end, we'll see how it plays out.


Comments:

Leave a Comment

Name*
Email Help Tip
Website
Comment*
Characters Remaining: 5000
   

Archives

January 28, 2015

List all Personal Properties from the MLS

List all Personal Properties from the MLS
Chadwick Meyer
In order to display your properties as a beautiful brochure, we always recommend entering your properties manually into our property tool. That lets you upload gorgeous full screen images, videos, ...
January 26, 2015

MLS Neighborhood Search

MLS Neighborhood Search
Chadwick Meyer
We've updated the Real Estate property search for MLS IDX feeds, so that if the MLS provides the information, you can now search by neighborhoods in the normal "Location" field. That means the ...
September 28, 2014

Shellshock Server Vulnerability Was Patched

Shellshock Server Vulnerability Was Patched
Chadwick Meyer
For those that pay attention to security issues, we were alerted to the "Shellshock" vulnerability on thursday (9/25/14) and we applied the security update to our server as soon as it became ...
September 26, 2014

Stripe Integration for Instant Affordable Credit Card Processing in Store

Stripe Integration for Instant Affordable Credit Card Processing in Store
Chadwick Meyer
We've just completed a fantastic new upgrade to our online store, which allows you to setup an ecommerce store and instantly accept credit cards without any additional monthly credit card processing ...
September , 2014

HTML5 Multimedia Player for Maximum Browser Support Across all Devices

Chadwick Meyer
We have updated our multimedia players to rely solely on the browser's built in HTML5 player. This ensures greater compatibility across all browsers and devices, desktop or mobile, and less g ...

2015 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2014 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2013 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2012 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2011 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2010 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2009 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec

2008 Archives

Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec