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Mozilla considers supporting H.264 after poor WebM uptake

03/14, 4:05pm

Mozilla may add H.264 to Firefox after all

Mozilla research director Andreas Gal has proposed a rare change of heart that could see Boot2Gecko, and possibly Firefox, adopt H.264 playback. The mode would let HTML5 pages use the video tag for in-page H.264 as long as the OS underneath already supports the codec. At least in theory, it would let Mozilla officially keep active support only for open formats like WebM while acknowledging the reality of H.264's much wider reach.

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Skype now using WebM codec despite Microsoft's objections

08/03, 8:20pm

Skype using VP8 even with Microsoft patent gripes

Google had an unusual celebration Wednesday as it claimed that Skype 5.5 was now using the video format behind WebM, VP8. WebM Product Manager John Luther said that that any video chat between two or more users on 5.5 will switch over to VP8 for the stream. The format had been chosen in part because of its low lag in live situations and ability to gracefully handle lost data.

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12 firms claim Google's WebM violates H.264 video patents

07/29, 12:30pm

12 groups tell MPEG-LA Google VP8 copies tech

The MPEG-LA video group's attempts to find patent violations in WebM proved successful as the company late Thursday claimed that 12 companies and organizations had their technology infringed. The so far unnamed dozen said the VP8 video codec underlying Google's format copied technology used in H.264, the standard MPEG-LA supports. The collective was considering forming a patent pool to demand licenses, and MPEG-LA was "facilitating that discussion," CNET was told.

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Google Chrome to get plugin-free, real-time voice and video

06/21, 7:00pm

Chrome integrates WebRTC for live media

Google is in the early stages of giving Chrome a completely add-on free approach to live audio and video chat, the company's Henrik Andreasson said this weekend. The company plans to integrate the WebRTC protocol first in its open-source Chromium project before rolling it into the regular Chrome browser. The step should give the browser both high- and low-bandwidth audio formats, iSAC and iLBC, as well as use the VP8 codec behind WebM for video.

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YouTube starts showing 3D video for NVIDIA 3D Vision owners

05/26, 11:20am

YouTube now streams content to NVIDIA 3D Vision

NVIDIA has partnered with YouTube to offer streaming videos from the popular sharing service in stereoscopic 3D on computers equipped with NVIDIA's 3D Vision hardware. Users need to have the latest version of the Firefox web browser installed before they can do so, however. YouTube has added HTML5 and WebM support to the 3D videos available to make the leap possible.

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New WebM license group tries to safeguard against lawsuits

04/25, 2:45pm

WebM Community Cross-License guards video patents

The WebM Project took a defensive measure on Monday with the creation of the WebM Community Cross-License. The approach will see 17 companies and groups give licenses to any WebM-related patents they have to other CCL members. Google, Matroska, and Xiph.org form the core but are joined by AMD, Cisco, Huawei, LG, Logitech, MIPS, Mozilla, Opera, Pantech, Quanta, Samsung, STMicro, TI, and Verisilicon.

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YouTube now delivering WebM video, rest of industry silent

04/19, 6:10pm

YouTube starts streaming new videos in WebM

YouTube in an update Tuesday afternoon said it was now encoding all new videos in its in-house WebM standard. The format would let viewers using new versions of Chrome as well as Firefox and Opera see video in HTML5 using the open format. Videos would still be playable in the H.264 format and the original Flash containers.

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Apple, Microsoft face antitrust probe over video codecs

03/03, 8:40pm

Conflict centers around Google's free V8 codec

The Department of Justice is reportedly investigating antitrust allegations against codec licensing firm MPEG-LA and its members, which include tech heavyweights Apple and Microsoft. The probe is said to be focusing on possible anticompetitive actions aimed at Google and the search giant's V8 codec, which serves as a free alternative to MPEG LA's standards.

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Android 2.3.3 slips in WebM video support, keeps H.264

02/23, 10:25am

Android 2.3.3 first to get mobile WebM video

Google as part of its new Android 2.3.3 update has fulfilled a promise to add WebM support. A video chart shows that the Nexus S, Nexus One and future Android 2.3 phones like the Xperia Play will now play the semi-open video standard when it comes up in an HTML5 page or by itself. Its OS will represent the first mobile platform to support the codec.

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MPEG-LA calls for instances of Google's WebM patent

02/11, 2:15pm

MPEG-LA takes steps to find WebM patent violations

Google's WebM video standard came under renewed threat on Thursday with an MPEG-LA request. The video standards group is asking members for any instances in which a company believes one of the VP8 format patents behind WebM might have violated its patents. It hopes to streamline creating a joint license that it could offer for "essential" patents.

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Microsoft posts H.264 plugin for Chrome, casts doubt on WebM

02/02, 10:55am

Microsoft offers H.264 for Chrome in Google debate

Microsoft today obviated much of Google's attempted stand on web video policy by posting an H.264 extension for Chrome. The add-on uses Windows Media Player to load the video format when Google's browser sees an HTML5-based video but doesn't have a WebM version. It had already made a similar extension for Firefox, which never had H.264 to start.

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Google will try to push WebM with IE9, Safari plugins

01/14, 7:10pm

Google WebM plugin for IE9, Safari due soon

Google in a defense of its decision to pull H.264 from Chrome's HTML5 revealed that it will put out WebM plugins for Internet Explorer 9 and Safari. Expecting no official support from Apple or Microsoft, Google plans to develop extensions that would load its self-owned video codec. No timetable was given.

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Microsoft likens Google's H.264 drop to abandoning English

01/12, 11:35am

Microsoft jabs Google dropping H264 in Chrome

Microsoft Client Platform team member Tim Sneath jabbed Google for its decision to drop H.264 support in HTML5 for Chrome in favor of WebM. He compared it to a country deciding to drop English as a language in favor of artificial languages like Esperanto and Klingon. The remarks pointed out the irony of claiming to promote openness and choice by artificially removing the most practical, popular option.

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Google pulls H.264 HTML5 support from Chrome

01/11, 5:20pm

Google yanks H264 in Chrome to force HTML5

Google today said it was dropping support for H.264 video in Chrome's HTML5 component. It acknowledged that the more popular format had an "important role" but hoped it could force adoption of its open but internally-developed WebM format as well as Ogg Theora. The company claimed that opening up the VP8 codec underneath led to major speed improvements as well as widespread adoption.

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Freescale ups ante for tablets, phones with quad-core i.MX 6

01/03, 12:00pm

Freescale i.MX 6 brings quad-core ARM Cortex-A9

Freescale today previewed its new processor architecture for smartphones and tablets. The i.MX 6 design can use one, two or four cores running ARM's latest Cortex-A9 architecture at speeds of up to 1.2GHz. At such speeds, it can not only power 1080p playback, even at 60 frames per second, but record it at 30 frames per second or play back 3D video while still keeping HD level output.

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Adobe Flash, AIR updates spoil imminent Gingerbread release

11/09, 5:40pm

Adobe Flash and AIR patches ready for Android 2.3

Adobe today inadvertently confirmed Google's imminent Gingerbread launch by posting updates to both AIR 2.5 and Flash 10.1 for Android. The update release notes explicitly mention updates for compatibility with Android 2.3, which was finished last month but still isn't official. Both updates otherwise only fix security exploits.

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Gemalto sues Google, HTC, Motorola, Samsung over Java

10/26, 2:35pm

Gemalto lawsuit says Android violates Java patents

Gemalto late Monday sued the top companies behind Android phones for allegedly violating patents related to Java. The Texas-based lawsuit accused Google as well as HTC, Motorola and Samsung of infringing on technology Gemalto owns for running Java on low-footprint devices like phones. The Dalvik just-in-time Java engine inherent to Android 2.2 copies the earlier technology, Gemalto said.

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Google's new image format promises 40% smaller files

09/30, 7:20pm

Format designed to compete with JPEG

Google today said it would introduce a new image format designed to compete directly with current JPEG standards. The format, named WebP and pronounced "weppy," promises to reduce file sizes by 40 percent compared to JPEGs, which could help websites load faster and reduce strain on networks.

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MPEG-LA declares free H.264 video permanently royalty-free

08/26, 3:15pm

MPEG group makes free H264 use permanent

The MPEG-LA video standards group today revised its AVC License to permanently exempt free H.264 and AVC video Internet use from any royalties. It had previously planned to start charging companies for streaming H.264 at the start of 2016 but now will allow free use indefinitely as long as viewers aren't charged. Paid video, as well as corporate use of offline video, will still carry a licensing cost.

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Vimeo starts up HTML5 embedded video for iPad, hits Roku

08/17, 2:55pm

Vimeo supports HTML5 embeds and Roku channel

Vimeo today gave owners of iPads, iPhones and future Android devices the option of viewing most of its video in an HTML5 embedded player. The new approach automatically switches between Flash and HTML5 and will automatically switch to the appropriate format depending on the device and software. Apple devices will usually play in H.264 where supporting versions of Android and other platforms could play the plugin-free clips in WebM.

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Firefox 4 beta 3 hits with Windows 7 multi-touch

08/11, 5:20pm

Firefox 4 beta 3 live for all platforms

Mozilla today posted Firefox 4 beta 3. The release primarily accommodates Windows 7 users and now takes multi-touch input from Microsoft's OS. Web developers can now write code made ideal for touchscreen interfaces rather than assuming the existence of a mouse.

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Firefox 4 beta 2 adds app tabs, Mac tabs on top

07/27, 6:25pm

Firefox 4 second beta turns tabs into permanent

Mozilla on Tuesday posted its second beta of Firefox 4. The update brings in a new App Tabs feature that turns tabs into permanent features. Much like Chrome, it collapses the tab to an icon but makes it always available on the left to jump to a favorite page, such as a blogging tool or Internet radio. Mac users now see tabs on top by default where they were strictly optional in the first beta.

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Mozilla posts official Firefox 4 beta 1

07/06, 6:10pm

Firefox 4 beta 1 uses whole new UI, HTML5

Mozilla after a brief tease has released Firefox 4 beta 1, the first public, stable version of its next major browser. It centers on a brand new UI with tabs on top, as with Chrome, but adds more support for HTML5 and Google's new WebM open video standard. Extensions are equally important and are now both easier to manage and no longer need a browser restart to load.

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Opera 10.6 now official, brings speed and WebM video

07/01, 8:15am

Opera 10.6 final adds HTML5 and WebM

Opera today claimed a handful of records by launching Opera 10.6. It now tries to regain the title of the fastest browser as its JavaScript engine should be about 50 percent faster than the already quick 10.5. The app is equally the first polished browser to support the controversial WebM video standard in HTML5 and recognizes other new HTML5 features, such as geolocation and web app caching.

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YouTube kind to HTML5, says Flash is still needed

06/29, 4:50pm

YouTube says Flash essential for DRM, scaling

YouTube Software Engineer John Harding today explained that the video site was still closely tied to Flash. While the site is "excited" about HTML5 and is using it for most videos in its optional player and mobile devices, many of the site's features still need Adobe's plugin to work well or to work at all. At a minimum, embedding needs the option as videos otherwise can't port over their ads, annotations or notes.

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Google allows experimental tweaks to WebM format

06/18, 8:10pm

Google lets devs experiment with WebM format

Google, the new owners of the WebM Project, has released an experimental branch to the VP8 source tree. This should allow for the improvement in performance and quality in the VP8 open video compression codec while keeping it stable. The unstable branch will allow third-party, open-source developers to suggest changes to VP8 but not freeze the entire format for changes.

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Google alters WebM to make it safer against patent lawsuits

06/04, 5:55pm

Google separates WebM patents from copyright

Google today changed the license for its WebM video standard to help shelter users against possible patent lawsuits. It's now been reworded to only deny access to the patents themselves in the event of a lawsuit shutting them down. Previously, the license would have cut off all rights, locking any patent users out of use altogether.

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Chrome dev build adds WebM video support

06/04, 12:50pm

Chrome on all platforms gets Google video codec

Google on Friday began seeding the first developer versions of Chrome with WebM video built-in. The download lets the open codec work for HTML5 video on Linux, Macs and Windows PCs. Other changes include key bug fixes after coming out of sleep and, on Macs, the option of using the Tab key to cycle through only form fields or links.

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MPEG-LA: WebM group may still need to pay royalties

05/21, 11:15am

MPEG-LA making patent pool to fee WebM

The primarily Google-led WebM group will likely still have to pay royalties, the MPEG-LA group's CEO Larry Horn said late Thursday. In spite of Google insisting WebM was patent- and royalty-free, the video standards group is assembling a patent pool that would let it ask for royalties for WebM and other standards. The costs would leave little reason to adopt the standard for HTML5 movies over H.264 and could result in lawsuits against Google, Mozilla, Opera or others who don't pay.

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Apple's Steve Jobs worried about WebM's patents, features

05/20, 6:40pm

Jobs believes WebM may violate patents

Apple chief Steve Jobs signaled his own doubts about using the new WebM format for HTML5 video. When asked about his thoughts by UK developer Kris Bloe, Jobs simply posted a link to a recent teardown of WebM that challenged not just its features but its legality. WebM's VP8 video codec bears a strong resemblance to H.264 and may violate multiple patents.

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WebM video hits Android with Gingerbread in the fall

05/20, 9:35am

Google's VP8 codec will be in next-gen mobile OS

Support for the WebM open Internet media standard will be integrated into the next version of Google's Android mobile operating system, according to a statement on the WebM Project FAQ page. Codenamed Gingerbread, the latest release of Android is targeted for Q4 2010. The WebM Project is an open source development effort, sponsored in part by Google, that uses Google's VP8 codec for web video and the Ogg Vorbis audio codec.

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WebM's royalty-free HTML5 video raises patent issues

05/19, 3:00pm

Google, Mozilla, Opera may be in trouble with WebM

The new WebM codec shown at the Google I/O day 1 keynote may run afoul of patents, according to an early analysis. Although pitched as a royalty-free HTML5 video standard using a combination of VP8 video and Ogg Vorbis, x264 developer Jason Garrett-Glaser notes that some of the implementations in the now Google-supported format are copied not just from On2's original creation but appear to be directly patterned after H.264, making it entirely possible that WebM violates patents. It resembles an only slightly improved version of the H.264 Baseline Profile and so could invite lawsuits from the MPEG-LA standards group for anyone that uses it.

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