Microsoft offers H.264 plug-in for Google Chrome too


Posts: 152   +0
Microsoft has released a Windows Media Player HTML5 Extension for Chrome so as to enable H.264-encoded video on HTML5 by using built-in capabilities available on Windows 7. As you may recall, less than two months ago, Microsoft released the HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in with the same goal in mind. Even though Firefox and Chrome are big competitors to Microsoft's own Internet Explorer,...

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Posts: 4,512   +66
I was expecting a plugin that would do this and ironically, Microsoft delivered.

Google's attempt to strong-arm WebM into our lives is quite possibly well intentioned as H.264 is proprietary. MPEG LA could -- at any time -- decide to start collecting royalties from *everyone*, not just enormous enterprises (eg. Microsoft, Google, YouTube) and that would be bad for everyone. Well, everyone but MPEG LA of course!

In the spirit of the web, HTML5 (and such basic frameworks for the web) shouldn't be anchored down by proprietary technologies. It *should* be as free and open as possible. WebM delivers that. h.264 *may* deliver that. It's the "may" part that is scary.

For all other purposes than the Utopian ideal, it was a bad move by Google. Maybe the transition to WebM could give everyone a box of puppies in 10 years, but in the interim, Chrome and Firefox users will have to install plugins (or even avoid) h.264 content... content which would have played perfectly fine if it weren't for a simple philosophical issue.


Posts: 1,559   +607
It really boils down to Google (and Mozilla) not wanting to gamble at being stuck behind the 8-ball somewhere down the line. Basing all of your code on proprietary formats that have, at best, *may* and *should* futures, rather than open certainties, would give me pause as well. I tend to like being able to guarantee that the freeway I'm driving on remains a freeway, and doesn't suddenly arbitrarily change to a toll road somewhere along my drive, with no warning or offramps to avoid it :)

Per Hansson

Posts: 1,973   +231
Staff member
Yea, I agree with you guys.
The problem here is, as I said in the other news post where Google announced they where dropping H.264 support from Chrome:
Right now we have a very large install base of hardware capable of accelerating H.264 encoded material.

All that hardware is unable to accelerate WebM encoded material, no matter how well intended this push is by Google, Mozilla and Opera.

That means that allot of hardware will not just be wasting power, allot of systems will simply be incapable of playing back WebM material.
I'll take my old Thinkpad T40 as an example, it has an old ATI 7500 GFX card, so obviously the CPU has to do all the work, it's able to play back a 720p MKV just barley with 95% CPU load...
The CPU in that system is a Pentium M 2.1Ghz (Model 765)
On the other hand I have a HTPC, it has a ATI 2400Pro AGP GFX card (Released over 4 years ago)
It has an Athlon XP CPU running at 2.3Ghz
It's CPU load when playing back a 1080p MKV is below 5%


Posts: 659   +201
If you follow the link it says it is only for Win7, but it installed fine on my WinXP computer. Any sites where I can test it?


Posts: 10,600   +457
I agree with Rick and Per. Google seemed to play it like they were in the game to kill off Apple's html5 push over Flash. At least thats the way I saw it since they kept Flash support, which is proprietary. So, as Rick said, its almost ironic that Microsoft comes in as the one to make a plugin for html5 for Chrome. What was Google going to do with all their h.264 youtube vids that they converted for iWhatever devices?


We know that Steve Jobs has an investment in 264. It's likely that MS does too. Hence, they don't lose money by supporting the patented technology where as others will.


Posts: 10,600   +457
But h.264 is license free until 2016, and likely will be renewed like it was last time. So if google wants to push WebM there are probably better ways to do it than removing h.264 support in their browser at the time. They could work on AMD, nvidia, and Intel to provide hardware acceleration for it.