Blog/20090610 Silverlight and H.264

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Microsoft Silverlight V3 is launching 10th July 2009, and features H.264 playback.

Choice of formats for a CamTV video. The QuickTime and Flash 9 options use the same file from the server, but use different plugins to display the file. You can try this here: [1].

Pending some of the details of the exact encoding supported, this should mean that we can finally play back H264/AAC encoded video through a range of players, including QuickTime, Flash, and (now) Silverlight. More details on multiformat delivery are available here, and overall it means that flash 7/8 and wmv formats more and more become legacy formats. On CamTV, we've already using H.264 for playback in Flash and QuickTime (see image), and we can now add Silverlight.

Does that mean the formats war is finally over? Not quite, for a number of reasons. For instance, live streaming in H.264 requires further consideration, but there may well be interesting developments on the horizon (see [2]). But most importantly, H.264 isn't an open codec (see e.g. The H.264 Licensing Labyrinth by Tim Siglin), and licensing terms can be periodically reviewed.

This is why Ogg and Dirac are likely to play an increasingly important role in the future (Multiformat Media Delivery, BBC Dirac codec, HTML_5_video_tag_and_Ogg). Of course we need to bear in mind that just html5 support in the browser won't do it alone: The codec also needs to be supported, and while there is support in Firefox/Opera/Chrome it's may be a while before Ogg support is universally available.

An encouraging signal is this:

2009-06-10 | Leave a comment | Back to blog