Provides efficient, low-level access to built-in (software and hardware) media encoders and decoders.
The main risk is that other browsers do not implement it.
Gecko: Positive co-editing the spec (Paul Adenot)
WebKit: Negative concerns over keeping it fingerprinting neutral
Web developers: Positive (https://discourse.wicg.io/t/webcodecs-proposal/3662/) Wikipedia: https://discourse.wicg.io/t/webcodecs-proposal/3662/9 Twitch: https://discourse.wicg.io/t/webcodecs-proposal/3662/12 Sony: https://discourse.wicg.io/t/webcodecs-proposal/3662/13
The proposed API shape enables the core use cases (see explainer) in a performant manner. We've left room for future optimizations and generally minimized complexity, even if that means we don't support all codec features. We intend for this shape to be friendly to both WASM and JS users.
Decoder outputs will typically be rendered with Canvas and Web Audio. Developers have asked for this low level rendering control. The Canvas rendering path also allows VideoFrames to be manipulated via WebGL. The WebAudio rendering path will often leverage AudioWorklet. The AudioDecoder output uses Web Audio primitives to make this easy.
Encoder inputs will often come from getUserMedia() and getDisplayMedia().
WebCodecs would benefit from having libraries built on top that do things such as:
containerize (mux) and de-containerize (demux) to/from media file formats (e.g. mp4, webm).
render media with low latency from an unreliable media transport (in other words, a jitter buffer)
RTC client logic / signalling
WebCodecs could benefit somewhat from polyfills to experiment with the API, but that would not bring any of the performance benefits or access to hardware codecs. Significant documentation and outreach would likely be helpful, especially for advanced uses of codecs, such as spatial and temporal scalability.
The implementation is thoroughly fuzz tested. There may be marginally increased fingerprinting surface due to support for detecting the presence of hardware encode capabilities. This has been reviewed and deemed acceptable by the privacy sandbox team.
We need feedback on most of the API surfaces, which roughly amounts to decode for video, audio and images, and encode for video and audio. Multiple partners have committed (and shown a great deal of eagerness) to participate in our origin trial and we will look for their feedback and validation of the appropriateness of the API shape for their use cases (e.g. real time communications, low latency streaming).
The initial goal of the origin trial is to run for 3 milestones, from M86 Stable thru till M88 Stable. We may end the origin trial early if feedback indicates it is ready to ship.
We have coverage for all basic uses of the API, including exception and error states, which should ensure a base-level uniformity across browser implementation of the API surface. Some deeper aspects of the API's implementation, such as which codecs are supported, vary from browser to browser and hence may not need to be tested by WPTs. Test status can be found at: https://wpt.fyi/results/webcodecs?label=master&label=experimental&aligned&q=webcodecs
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