Google adds WebM support to Internet Explorer 9

Those of you who eagerly downloaded the final version of Internet Explorer 9 earlier today and raced off to play some royalty-free WebM video would have been disappointed - until now.

In a tongue-in-cheek post spotted by Google Operating System earlier today, the search engine giant announced a free WebM plug-in for Microsoft's flagship browser.

''They said elephants couldn't ride flying dolphins. They said that one of the world's most popular browsers couldn't play WebM video in HTML5. They were wrong,'' it said. While the plug-in is labeled a technology preview, playing WebM videos on YouTube worked well, albeit without fullscreen support.

First released as a developer preview last year, WebM is an open, royalty-free media file format designed for the web. Sponsored by big names including Mozilla, Opera, AMD, Nvidia and Oracle, WebM uses the VP8 video codec and Vorbis audio streams in a container based on Matroska. The WebM project releases its work under a BSD license and all users are granted a worldwide, non-exclusive, no-charge, royalty-free patent license.

Microsoft had previously indicated it would support both H.264 and VP8 video in IE9, though it would be up to the user to install the required VP8 codec. Firefox 4, which recently hit the Release Candidate stage, includes the ability to play WebM video, as does Google Chrome 10.

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63 Comments

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Google isn't 100% sure that WebM hasn't got any patent issues or royalties down the road and that is what is scaring devs and vendors. However, ms and apple are paying royalties for h.264 and ms absorbed the fees for chrome and firefox. Google needs to show hwy WebM is better than H.264 instead of been stuborn cos they want their way done

eilegz said,
great when i try to install it it want to download google earth... i cancel it

Not that I will infect my browser with google crap but i also hate it when they give you crap you didnt ask for

It's like no one in this thread has used the WebM encoder from http://www.webmproject.org/tools

The time it takes to encode a video in quality similar to H.264 is laughable. Right now unless you don't need good quality video, there is no reason to switch to H.264 unless you just hate the proprietary format THAT much. I'd rather have quality and be productive until they get their format together.

zixaphir said,

-1
WebM has good quality. If you can tell the difference between WebM and h.264, you're doing it on a frame-by-frame basis.

No. The default settings for at least 2 different WebM encoders I've used have been so.... so bad. I had to tweak the one from webmproject multiple times only to have to wait 15+ for a 4.5 minute video to encode on a Core-i7 920. That's unacceptable. I'd rather just toss the video in handbrake or something and have it pop out in a minute or two.

That's cool that you guys want to move to WebM because it's open, but it's not ready to take out H.264 yet.

https://groups.google.com/a/we...ead/thread/5e415151145fd16e
Thread with my tests with WebM vs H.264. I want WebM to be better, but the encoders simply aren't up to snuff yet. And don't even talk to me about that Miro converter. What a piece of trash that is lol

What's the point? I have 30 plugins in IE9.0 and 8 in Chrome 10 already. I don't care if I have one more. I only see problems for updates, I don't think that MS add this WebM plugin to the update server.

I have to say, it's amazing how much misinformation there is on both sides about the statuses and relative benefits of h.264 and WebM. There are absolutely benefits and disadvantages to both sides, and neither are an 'obvious winner' as much as anyone would like to think.

It's certainly an interesting battle, I just hope the consumer comes out the eventual winner.

thebeebs said,
IE9 already has WebM support built in... You don't need a plugin, just need to ensure that the codec is on the Machine.

Install FFDshow, problem should be solved I'd say.

thebeebs said,
IE9 already has WebM support built in... You don't need a plugin, just need to ensure that the codec is on the Machine.

So it's not built in...

GP007 said,
Install FFDshow, problem should be solved I'd say.

Last I had checked, FFDShow still used DirectShow. I believe Microsoft has stated that only Media Foundation codecs will work for Internet Explorer.

Η.264 is hardware accelerated and native.
How desperate Google is by giving a poor cpu hogging plugin.
Ah Google

H.264 is vastly superior and most content on youtube is already converted.
Bye-bye Flash, bye bye WebM

manosdoc said,
Η.264 is hardware accelerated and native.
How desperate Google is by giving a poor cpu hogging plugin.
Ah Google

H.264 is vastly superior and most content on youtube is already converted.
Bye-bye Flash, bye bye WebM

Many new processors (will) also have hardware accelerated WebM.

Bamsebjorn said,

Many new processors (will) also have hardware accelerated WebM.

I thought that all it takes to develop a hardware accelerated decoder was to program it that way to use the CPU. No need for new hardware?

Julius Caro said,

I thought that all it takes to develop a hardware accelerated decoder was to program it that way to use the CPU. No need for new hardware?

Yes and no...

GPUs can inherently provide encoding/decoding acceleration.

With Windows 7, there are OS mechanisms that can use the GPU to accelerate codecs as well. The codec needs to have a directdraw implementation (which most do) so that Windows knows of the codec and can then shove off decoding for acceleration to the GPU.

So both are true and with Windows7, codec specific support in GPUs is less important. However on OS X or Linux or mobile devices that can't do what Windows 7 is doing, the GPU needs to support the codec for acceleration.

thenetavenger said,

Too early for me to be typing...

In my previous post I meant DirectShow not DirectDraw...

Don't worry I typed CPU instead of GPU.

So neither linux or OS X provide access to GPU accelaration like windows does?

thenetavenger said,

Yes and no...

GPUs can inherently provide encoding/decoding acceleration.

With Windows 7, there are OS mechanisms that can use the GPU to accelerate codecs as well. The codec needs to have a directdraw implementation (which most do) so that Windows knows of the codec and can then shove off decoding for acceleration to the GPU.

So both are true and with Windows7, codec specific support in GPUs is less important. However on OS X or Linux or mobile devices that can't do what Windows 7 is doing, the GPU needs to support the codec for acceleration.


IE9 graphics acceleration has state of the art engineering and plugs directly into DWM. That's why the rest of the browsers will ave a hard time providing the same hardware acceleration as IE9 on windows Vista/7

Isnt this for the HTML5 <video> tag?

If so, isnt the use of a plugin a bit redundant, because the <video> tag is supposed to eliminate the use of plugins?

Wanyal said,
Isnt this for the HTML5 <video> tag?

If so, isnt the use of a plugin a bit redundant, because the <video> tag is supposed to eliminate the use of plugins?

Well we say plug-in but I think it's more of a VP8 codec installer. I could be wrong though, so much for standards eh?

Wanyal said,
Isnt this for the HTML5 <video> tag?

If so, isnt the use of a plugin a bit redundant, because the <video> tag is supposed to eliminate the use of plugins?

The video tag *was* supposed to reduce the use of plugins. In-fighting between the major browser vendors on the working groups subsequently neutered it. The problem is the spec never specified a codec, so really all it did is introduce some standardized markup for including video, but the playback of the video remained as a hodge-podge of formats. We're in a slightly better position now than we were during the wmv/quicktime/realplayer days because we now only have two battling formats (h264 and webM) and on top of that, people supplying web video seem to be going to greater lengths to provide the video in multiple formats.

Bamsebjorn said,
I hope WebM is going to take over the world...
I loathe the H.264 licensing model.

Ya cause Google having full control over WebM is much better than a group creating a standard.

I don't like the H.264 licensing crap, neither does Microsoft, as they have been vocal about, but one company having full control over a codec is even worse.

It is just like this 'plugin' - IE9 doesn't need a plugin to support WebM, all that is required is the VP8/WebM codec is installed on Windows.

So Google installing an useless plugin is a bit strange and suspect to their motives.

Kirkburn said,
I'm sorry, what?

It's not his fault. You can't expect him to go to webmproject.org and realize within three seconds that it's an open source project with contributions from Mozilla, Opera, Adobe and various open source projects like ffmpeg. It's a lot easier to just make an anti-google claim, especially on a site like this where any claim deriding a Microsoft competitor will typically be accepted as fact by the majority.

Udedenkz said,

+1

-1
WebM has good quality. If you can tell the difference between WebM and h.264, you're doing it on a frame-by-frame basis.

zixaphir said,

-1
WebM has good quality. If you can tell the difference between WebM and h.264, you're doing it on a frame-by-frame basis.

WebM has no advantages, at all, over h264.

If it did, it would be used for encoding fansubbed anime and whatnot.

Udedenkz said,
WebM has no advantages, at all, over h264.
If you're talking quality only ... maybe. But that isn't the entire scope of the discussion.

Kirkburn said,
If you're talking quality only ... maybe. But that isn't the entire scope of the discussion.

but royalties somehow is? For users its a free to use codec, to host videos in the format is free of charge aswell.

Kirkburn said,
If you're talking quality only ... maybe. But that isn't the entire scope of the discussion.

False. Quality and compression and wide support ARE the whole scope of the discussion.

h264/AVC are free for the end user and will remain free for the end user.

Anooxy said,
Why would you choose WebM when you have H.264 already.

Because h264 is proprietary, and therefore evil, whereas WebM is free and therefore good.
(The flaw in this reasoning is left as an exercise for the reader)

Kirkburn said,
Aethec, it is a serious strawman to suggest that that is the *only* reason used to make the decision.

Well, from the technical point of view, WebM certainly has problems. Don't know about VP8 part, but Vorbis audio is rather bad standard from the technical standpoint. It has problems with codec support (hard), data overhead, random access and overall complexity (read this http://hardwarebug.org/2010/03/03/ogg-objections/ ). I think that the selection of formats is purely political.

Aethec said,

Because h264 is proprietary, and therefore evil, whereas WebM is free and therefore good.
(The flaw in this reasoning is left as an exercise for the reader)

No it's because h264 is expensive to use (royalties need to be payed on the encoders at you tube, the decoder in chrome, the decoder on android, the decoder on google TV, etc.) while WebM is free.

RealFduch said,

Well, from the technical point of view, WebM certainly has problems. Don't know about VP8 part, but Vorbis audio is rather bad standard from the technical standpoint. It has problems with codec support (hard), data overhead, random access and overall complexity (read this http://hardwarebug.org/2010/03/03/ogg-objections/ ). I think that the selection of formats is purely political.

I've read the article you've linked and I'd like to let you know that the article is entirely misleading. The problems mentioned are with the OGG container, not the Vorbis audio codec. WebM circumvents all the aforementioned problems by not using OGG, but rather the webm container, which is based off of Matroska, which, again, does not have these problems.

I have some avi container using xvid video and vorbis sound. I have no trouble playing them on MPC. The sound quality is okay for the size of the audio track. Don't see much of a difference between those and other tracks on my onkyo/momentum sound system. There's not much you can do with a 60-70MB encoded audio track.

Aethec said,

Because h264 is proprietary, and therefore evil, whereas WebM is free and therefore good.
(The flaw in this reasoning is left as an exercise for the reader)

This does not matter to users, at all.

Udedenkz said,

This does not matter to users, at all.


None of this matters to users at all. If youtube asks them to install a codec for webm, they'll just download it, keep hitting next, and then watch video.

If all you're gonna say is that this does not matter to users", at all", maybe you shouldn't try to be part of this discussion.

zixaphir said,

None of this matters to users at all. If youtube asks them to install a codec for webm, they'll just download it, keep hitting next, and then watch video.

If all you're gonna say is that this does not matter to users", at all", maybe you shouldn't try to be part of this discussion.

I mean the whole - h264 ain't free ***.
It will matter if their videos suddenly become slower than before though.

geoken said,

No it's because h264 is expensive to use (royalties need to be payed on the encoders at you tube, the decoder in chrome, the decoder on android, the decoder on google TV, etc.) while WebM is free.


microsoft takes care of the royalties for windows users and any third party application can freely use the buildin h.264 codecs without having to pay any royalties or whatever.
Apple does the same for MacOS iirc. This leaves behind an astonishing 1-5% users in the world without support for it.

in other words, its no royalty issue for anyone but the few open source only users.

psreloaded said,
Which sites except youtube support WebM???

Exactly, however YouTube uses the H.264 codec as well as WebM and the picture quality of H.264 is, IMHO, vastly superior to the VP8 codec anyway.

neo158 said,

Exactly, however YouTube uses the H.264 codec as well as WebM and the picture quality of H.264 is, IMHO, vastly superior to the VP8 codec anyway.

I don't expect them to keep using h264 on youtube soon'ish. Once they can get enough people to install the WebM plugin etc they'll start to switch and dump h264. Then Google can move on to phase 2 of it's plan and start a youtube plus service you can pay to use and get nice HD content etc. It's all about trying to make some money outta youtube which is, till this day, just a big money bit to Google I'd say.

GP007 said,

I don't expect them to keep using h264 on youtube soon'ish. Once they can get enough people to install the WebM plugin etc they'll start to switch and dump h264. Then Google can move on to phase 2 of it's plan and start a youtube plus service you can pay to use and get nice HD content etc. It's all about trying to make some money outta youtube which is, till this day, just a big money bit to Google I'd say.

You realise that if they dump H.264 that cuts off a lot of users, not to mention that, correct me if i'm wrong, no one has created an H.264 codec for Chrome.

neo158 said,

You realise that if they dump H.264 that cuts off a lot of users, not to mention that, correct me if i'm wrong, no one has created an H.264 codec for Chrome.

Microsoft made a h.264 plugin for Chrome some time ago

neo158 said,

You realise that if they dump H.264 that cuts off a lot of users, not to mention that, correct me if i'm wrong, no one has created an H.264 codec for Chrome.

Chrome had builtin H.264 support til recently, they removed it in this current version. Anyway, the available codecs are only important if you are using HTML 5 to play videos, websites like youtube will always have the option to use flash to play its videos, so you are fine.

GP007 said,

I don't expect them to keep using h264 on youtube soon'ish. Once they can get enough people to install the WebM plugin etc they'll start to switch and dump h264. Then Google can move on to phase 2 of it's plan and start a youtube plus service you can pay to use and get nice HD content etc. It's all about trying to make some money outta youtube which is, till this day, just a big money bit to Google I'd say.

I don't have a computer in this house that can play 1080p WebM, or not slow down in productivity playing 720p WebM.
Whereas, I have two computers that can 1080p h264 without slowing down productivity of other applications.

If Google will force its superior white blue eyed WebM unto them world, I hope they get nuked of the planet.

So Google released a plug-in, yay? I guess it's kinda funny how Google does a WebM plug-in for IE9 while MS released a h264 plug-in for Chrome.

GP007 said,
So Google released a plug-in, yay? I guess it's kinda funny how Google does a WebM plug-in for IE9 while MS released a h264 plug-in for Chrome.

Its pretty useless releaseing a plugin when there are no decent tools to make WebM video. On the H.264 side every phone, camera, and major operating system can produce complient H.264 video. Is WebM evern standardised??

Deviate_X said,

Its pretty useless releaseing a plugin when there are no decent tools to make WebM video.

What do you mean there's no decent tools? FFmpeg supports it, so the majority of encoding tools available (which mostly leverage ffmpeg) support it.

Also, people don't care about the format they use when they upload videos. The video services handle all the encoding for them.

RealFduch said,

Sorry, but I haven't found anything about WebM being standard in your link. What ISO/ECMA/IEEE/RFC nember does it have?

WebM is not an ISO standard like h.264, but Google wants it as a format that will be guaranteed to be royalty free everywhere, so they have released an optional plugin for IE.

And that is that.

Deviate_X said,

Its pretty useless releaseing a plugin when there are no decent tools to make WebM video.


Actually, there is one very good converter. I can't remember what it's called, though.

MPEG-LA and their cronies are patent trolls trying to suck money out of everyone. They've threatened all the competition. Here is how they are all linked in commie Hollywood...

H.264 / MP4
--links to--
MPEG LA
--links to--
DVD6C (patent pool)
--links to--
Warner Home Video
--links to--
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
--links to--
MPAA
--links to--
Suing grandmothers

...and they have no problem sitting around all day posting lies on websites.