HTML 5 video tag and Ogg

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Part of this series Multiformat Media Delivery - Flash H.264 - HTML 5 video tag and Ogg.

1 Firefox 3.5

Firefox 3.5 fully supports ogg for playback via html5 tags.

2 Firefox 3.1 beta


This is the first beta from Mozilla to include support for the <video> and <audio> elements. This beta includes support for the OGG Theora and OGG Vorbis formats on all platforms. There are quite a few free tools for encoding to OGG Theora and OGG Vorbis. We are also working on backend support for GStreamer for Linux, QuickTime for Mac and Windows Media for Windows. However it’s not clear if those backends will land before 3.1 final is ready.

3 Firefox and Opera add experimental Ogg Vorbis/Theora

Firefox and Opera have experimental builds available that inplement the HTML5 video tag, to play back Ogg. Once this becomes a standard feature in those browsers (across all operating systems), this would warrant including an Ogg Vorbis / Theora format for audio/video as part of Multiformat Media Delivery.

With regard to Safari, the WebKit project is also working on the HTML5 video tag, supporting QuickTime codecs, and installed 3rd party codecs.

It would of course be nice if there was a standard video format (such as Ogg), which was supported by all browsers implementing the video tag, but this will probably not happen. Nevertheless, if we can detect the browser reliably, we can make use of the video tag to deliver some video formats natively to the browser.

4 Details

The Working Draft for HTML 5 defines video and audio media elements ( ), and mentions the need to find a suitable codec ("It would be helpful for interoperability if all browsers could support the same codecs. However, there are no known codecs that satisfy all the current players: we need a codec that is known to not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies. This is an ongoing issue and this section will be updated once more information is available.").

This short document details the position of the Mozilla Foundation in the context of a standard for Video on the Web, and states "We believe that an open Web requires open formats, including codecs that anyone can implement and freely distribute. Therefore we favour codecs with an open source reference implementation and royalty-free patent licensing so any implementor, whether their product is closed or open source, can freely distribute their product. We believe the open source Ogg Theora and Ogg Vorbis codecs meet these requirements and we intend to distribute these codecs in Firefox.".

With regard to Opera, this page states that "here at Opera, we have created an experimental build of our browser with ... support for the <video> element/Ogg Theora built in."

Regarding WebKit, "The implementation is still a work in progress .... The current implementation supports all formats that QuickTime supports, including installed 3rd party codecs." (

5 Links