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Native support for H.264 in Firefox is coming soon

In March and October of 2012, we reported on how Mozilla was implementing H.264 support in Firefox. In October, the codec was actually supported, but only if the host device – PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone – made it available to the browser.

Now, Cisco is taking the support for the H.264 standard one step further by open-sourcing their own variant of the popular codec. What does this mean though?

In simple terms, Cisco are essentially providing any and all software products free access to a form of the H.264 standard codec. No more going to MPEG LA and paying them for the privilege utilizing their H.264 module.

This will give Mozilla the ability to support the H.264 standard natively in Firefox, negating the need for hardware assistance. Mozilla will do this using WebRTC, an improvement to HTML5. The final hurdle though is all in the hands of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). They will decide on the standardization of a common video codec for real-time web communications. Brendan Eich, Mozilla CTO has said:

It hasn’t been easy, but Mozilla has helped to lead the industry toward interoperable video on the Web. Cisco’s announcement helps us support H.264 in Firefox on most operating systems, and in downstream and other open source distributions using the Cisco H.264 binary module. We are excited to work with Cisco on advancing the state of interoperable Web video.

With H.264 being the standard that drives most of the video content on the web, Interoperability is the goal of not just Cisco and Mozilla, but many of the providers, developers and hosts that offer rich multimedia content to the public.

Source: Cisco Blogs

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