Microsoft is doing what Google won’t, namely support H.264 on Chrome.
After Google announced recently that its open source browser will no longer play nice with the H.264 video format, the Redmond company is now making sure that Chrome users that want the choice to play H.264 encoded HTML5 video, will be able to do so.
The software giant announced the immediate availability of the Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome
The extension is designed to allow Windows 7 users also running Chrome to continue to play H.264 video on the web, in spite of the fact that Google had other plans for them.
, Principal Program Manager, Interoperability Strategy Team reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to making sure that Windows customers can enjoy HTML5 videos encoded using the H.264 format, the widest range of web content available today.
As some might already be aware, H.264 is Microsoft’s format of choice when it comes down to HTML5 videos, although rival browser vendors including Firefox and Google do not share the software giant’s view.
“Why H.264? It is a high-quality and widely-used video format that serves the Web very well today,” answered Dean Hachamovitch
, Corporate Vice President, Internet Explorer.
In mid-December 2010, in a similar move, Microsoft added H.264 Support to Firefox on Windows 7, also via an add-on, the HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in
“Any browser running on Windows can play H.264 video via the built-in Windows APIs that support the format. Our point of view here is that Windows customers should be able to play mainstream video on the Web.
“We’ve provided Windows 7 customers who choose to run Mozilla Firefox an add-on to enable playing H.264 video on Web pages with the HTML5 video tag,” Hachamovitch added.
Parts of HTML5 have yet to be completed, for example, the industry has year to reach consensus on a single video codec to be embraced by all.
By dropping H.264 support in Chrome, Google remains committed only to its own WebM format, which Microsoft also supports in Internet Explorer 9 via a codec installed in Windows.
Mozilla on the other hand has never been much of a fan of H.264. The reason is related to the obligation for browser makers to pay royalties for the use of the technology.
“Our point of view is totally clear. Our support for H.264 results from our views about a robust Web and video ecosystem that provides a rich level of functionality, is the product of an open standards process like the W3C’s HTML5 specification, and has been free from legal attacks.
“Microsoft is agnostic and impartial about the actual underlying video format for HTML5 video as long as this freedom continues.
“Our commitment to play WebM videos in IE9 for users who have installed WebM demonstrates our approach. We have worked closely with Google to help them deliver a WebM implementation on Windows and Google engineers are on the Microsoft campus this week,” Hachamovitch added.
Windows Media PlayerHTML5 Extension for Chrome is available for download here.