Internet Explorer 9 is now finally available to everyone. The best and fastest Internet Explorer to date, it comes packed with new features and support for new technologies, including HTML5.
One thing that it doesn't have, though, is support for WebM, the open-source web video format that challenges the proprietary H.264. Luckily, Google, WebM's biggest supporter, is offering a way to playback these videos as well in IE9, via a plugin.
Earlier this year, Google announced that it will stop supporting H.264 video for HTML5 in Chrome. It motivated the move by saying that there needs to be a standard for web video and the proprietary H.264 does not fit the bill.
Along with dropping support for H.264, Google also promised to do all it takes to make sure anyone can view WebM-encoded HTML5 videos. Since both Microsoft and Apple are not going to offer official support, Google is building plugins for IE and Safari
. Microsoft is also offering a Chrome plugin with support for H.264.
The IE9 WebM plugin
is now available for anyone that wants to be able to play any HTML5 video in Microsoft's newest browser. It's still a technology preview, meaning that it's not perfect or maybe not even entirely stable, but it gets the job done.
And those that do really need to have support for WebM in IE9 will know what to expect and how to fix it.
This because, the issue of H.264 versus WebM is moot, especially now that the hostilities are heating up. HTLM5 video was supposed to offer a standard way for people to enjoy videos online.
Instead, it lead to even more fragmentation of a technology in its early stages of adoption. In practice, rather than picking sides, most websites will just stick to Flash until things settle down, which may be a few years down the road.