Microsoft planning to support VP8 in Internet Explorer 9 - with a catch

Microsoft said on Wednesday that it plans to introduce support for the VP8 video codec in Internet Explorer 9. But there's a catch, the user must have the VP8 codec installed on Windows.

Google announced a developer preview of WebM earlier today. WebM is an open, royalty-free media file format designed for the web. The WebM project is sponsored by big names like Mozilla, Opera, AMD, Nvidia and Oracle. WebM uses the VP8 video codec, based on the Matroska media container, that was developed by On2 Technologies. Google acquired On2 in February, 2010 for $106 million. On2 is well known for compressing high quality video ready for streaming on IP networks. On2's compression technologies power the video in many of today's leading desktop and mobile applications. On2 customers include Adobe, Skype, Nokia, Infineon, Sun Microsystems, Mediatek, Sony, Brightcove, and Move Networks.

Internet Explorer General Manager, Dean Hachamovitch, responded to Google's WebM news by confirming Microsoft's commitment to VP8 support. "In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows", he said in a company blog post. Hachamovitch stressed that Microsoft has some technical specifics to work through until support is added to Internet Explorer 9. "We want to be clear about our intent to support the same markup in the open and interoperable web, and to do so in a manner consistent with our view broad view of safety and security", he said. Microsoft previously announced strong support for the playback of H.264 video in Internet Explorer.

Both Mozilla and Opera have released WebM ready developer builds of Firefox and Opera. Apple has not commented on support for VP8 across its Safari browsers in Mac OS X, iPhone and iPad operating systems.

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43 Comments

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Not such a big inconvenience really. Assume it'll prompt you to download a codec much like it would if you visited a page that required REAL or whatever.

what about x264? i thought it was a royal-free codec? or does it a lot of h264? i dont know the in's and out's of codecs but x264 to me was great, like divx/xvid but for HD.

it's my guess that ie will use directshow and therefore be able to play every every video file for which a codec is installed. So this news is pretty obvious in my opinion

XerXis said,
it's my guess that ie will use directshow and therefore be able to play every every video file for which a codec is installed. So this news is pretty obvious in my opinion
DirectShow is dead to MS now, they are using MediaFoundation and only fall back to DirectShow as a last resort.. I'd bet MS would force MediaFoundation for IE9 just to help get DirectShow codecs to die off.

Please for the love of god, let this die.

1. We already have h264. It is hardware accelerated by Intel, Nvidia, and AMD GPUs.
2. It is used for commercial HD media.
3. It is highly optimized (you can run medium bitrate 720p in software mode on Atom N270).
4. Non h264 formats lagg like hell in flash.
5. Non h264 formats lagg like hell in general. (Try 1080p realvideo, or 1080p xvid)
6. This is a major war on whose d*ck is bigger.

It seems the future could have some quality video playback. Lets hope they all stick to some sort of gameplan and don`t try and go in different directions...

Silverskull said,
Clearly you haven't been following the HTML5 video codec war.

Some people do have other things to do than follow every single fight between companies.

opensuse said,
Why only VP8? What about WebM and Vorbis?

WebM IS VP8, google has just renamed it and made it open source. VP8 is the video codec and ogg vorbis is the audio codec. They will support it but you will need to download the codec manually instead of it being bundled in IE9

torrentthief said,

WebM IS VP8, google has just renamed it and made it open source. VP8 is the video codec and ogg vorbis is the audio codec. They will support it but you will need to download the codec manually instead of it being bundled in IE9

It is better than them not supporting it at all. Who knows they might provide a link to a Codec for it.

torrentthief said,

WebM IS VP8, google has just renamed it and made it open source. VP8 is the video codec and ogg vorbis is the audio codec. They will support it but you will need to download the codec manually instead of it being bundled in IE9

WebM is not VP8. WebM is VP8 for video + vorbis for audio :

WebM includes:
VP8, a high-quality video codec we are releasing today under a BSD-style, royalty-free license
Vorbis, an already open source and broadly implemented audio codec
a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container

http://webmproject.blogspot.com/

Edited by ilev, May 20 2010, 4:18am :

It's not Internet Explorer teams place to say or dictate what codecs should be installed in Windows - that is the user's choice... they are just saying that should a user have the codec installed - that IE will be able to make use of it.

Matt Hardwick said,
It's not Internet Explorer teams place to say or dictate what codecs should be installed in Windows - that is the user's choice... they are just saying that should a user have the codec installed - that IE will be able to make use of it.

Both firefox and chrome do it. So one more browser doing so wouldn't matter much.

SharpGreen said,

Both firefox and chrome do it. So one more browser doing so wouldn't matter much.

The reason they aren't added it is because of performance and patent issues MS said. It performs worse than h264 in speed and quality and could lead to lawsuits in regards to patents.

SharpGreen said,

Both firefox and chrome do it. So one more browser doing so wouldn't matter much.

Yes but IE has such a small and slow release cycle... that including it in IE would only give IE a bad rap when it doesn't keep up with developments in the codec's release cycle. Also... I am sure someone else could make a far better codec than Microsoft, and the IE team probably know that.

Edited by Matt Hardwick, May 19 2010, 7:08pm : spelling

Matt Hardwick said,

Yes but IE has such a small and slow release cycle... that including it in IE would only give IE a bad rap when it doesn't keep up with developments in the codec's release cycle. Also... I am sure someone else could make a far better codec than Microsoft, and the IE team probably know that.


I would think now that IE won't suck it'll get some internal recognition and more effort put into it, but who knows? On one hand I can't believe it took them this long to catch up, on the other I can't believe they're catching up at all.

"when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows”

What? So they're not shipping it with a decoder?

giga said,
"when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows”

What? So they're not shipping it with a decoder?


Well of course not That'd mean that they're going along with everyone else on something for a change, and not doing somethig different.

giga said,
"when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows”

What? So they're not shipping it with a decoder?

At least they are supporting it. It might not be as bad as you think.

Electric Jolt said,

At least they are supporting it. It might not be as bad as you think.


This is true. I was playing with a WebM enabled Firefox earlier (since it didn't seem to work in chrome..kind of weird) and its pretty sweet. I don't think I've ever watched a youtube video that actually took advantage of my 5.1 speaker setup.

Electric Jolt said,

At least they are supporting it. It might not be as bad as you think.


Well, it's as bad as requiring the user to install a codec in advance to be able to play a video. If that's fine with the IE user, it's fine, for everyone else, there'll be other browsers.

Northgrove said,

Well, it's as bad as requiring the user to install a codec in advance to be able to play a video. If that's fine with the IE user, it's fine, for everyone else, there'll be other browsers.

This is no different from having to install codecs to play back files you've downloaded in general. DivX/Xvid/OGG etc etc What's one more codec in the mix?

Hell if you have ffdshow you'll probably get support for VP8 through that. And a single codec itself is like, what? 100kb in size? Maybe the codec will find it's way into Windows8 just like h264 was added to windows7

SharpGreen said,

Well of course not That'd mean that they're going along with everyone else on something for a change, and not doing somethig different.

What should be interesting is if Apple will jump right in with their new rival Google, or if they will resist. It's a big step for the HTML 5 that they support so much, but it is Google's offering to the world.

I suspect that Apple won't be so petty as to whine about something like this that can help HTML 5 take off, but with Steve Jobs you never know. I think Google still ranks higher on his list that Adobe though, haha.

Edited by AJerman, May 19 2010, 8:36pm : Fixed spelling errors, original posted from iPhone.

giga said,
"when the user has installed a VP8 codec on Windows”

What? So they're not shipping it with a decoder?


Perhaps it's more to do with licensing since Google owns the format?

Hackersoft MS MVP said,
Perhaps it's more to do with licensing since Google owns the format?
Unlikely, since the point is it's open and royalty free.

SharpGreen said,

Well of course not That'd mean that they're going along with everyone else on something for a change, and not doing somethig different.

Everyone else = who exactly? Google Chrome? And Google Chrome? Oh, and Google Chrome?

Cuz last I checked, Apple was in Microsoft's camp with codec support and pushing h264.

Edited by Joshie, May 20 2010, 2:41am :

Kirkburn said,
Unlikely, since the point is it's open and royalty free.

which might be the problem, i havn't read the license so this is just something that could be possible, but it might be that the VP8 license is not compatible with the IE license