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H.264 Wins Again

If you haven't kept up with the web video codec "war" going on for the last 2 years then you may not care about this post. However, if you have a vested interested in what codec web video standarizes on then the wait is officially over.

The latest competition was h.264 vs. WebM. The short version: h.264 wins. WebM loses. For the long version read these articles here, here, and here.


One of Mozilla's main problems was actually trusting that Google would follow through with their promise of removing h.264 playback from within the Chrome browser. What actually happened was Google took Mozilla out for a 5-star steak dinner, got up, went to the bathroom and never came back, and left Mozilla with the check. So while Mozilla played to their ideal of "open source" Google encouraged them, but never made the same concession on their browser. So Chorme gained traction (because it played everything) while Firefox became more of a legacy experience using a Flash player to run h.264 video.

Here's Ryan Paul from Ars Technica summing it up:

Google's major investment in advancing its unencumbered VP8 codec gave open Web advocates hope that H.264 could still be displaced, but it hasn't happened. The lack of follow-through from Google on its promise to remove H.264 from Chrome has eroded faith in the search giant's ability to popularize VP8. Gal says that it's no longer feasible to wait for the open codec to gain additional traction.

"Google pledged many things they didn't follow through with and our users and our project are paying the price," he wrote. "H.264 wont go away. Holding out just a little longer buys us exactly nothing."

Final score: h.264 - 1  WebM - 0