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Re: hardware-accelerated audio/video decoding in Gecko (bug 714408)

Brendan Eich Mar 13, 2012 4:44 PM
Posted in group:
On Mar 13, 4:23 pm, antistress <> wrote:
> Could we imagine another - intermediate - solution ?
> In former Mozilla plans, WebM was the goal and Flash was only used to
> help the transition to be done.
> Could we imagine that Mozilla keep that goal (promoting WebM), and
> make use of H264 only to help the transition on mobile (where Flash is
> about to disapear) ?
> I mean : if the SoC doesn't support WebM acceleration, then allow
> H264. But if the SoC does support WebM acceleration, then don't allow
> H264.

This is a recipe for non-interoperation. Content producers are not
making WebM available. That's the problem.

> That way :
> - B2G could be launched with hardware decoding (low power consumption)
> on every SoC (using WebM when it's possible as 1st choice, H264 in the
> other case)
> - Mozilla would keep on pressuring to promote WebM

What pressure?

You have to realize we have very little mobile market share right now.
As Asa points out, Apple has moved the needle hard, and Android is not
going WebM-only or even WebM-over-H.264. We're emtering the game late
with few chips.

B2G is our big bet, it's a good one. But it won't even get on phones
if it doesn't do H.264 video. No Flash fallback, remember.

The game theory is merciless. Google might have helped a year ago.
Might not have been enough then, but they didn't remove H.264 <video>
support, and if they had their Flash fallback is best-of-breed. The
real issue (ignoring Apple and Microsoft) is Android stock browser
(Chrome on ICS is just new enough to exclude from consideration of the
last year). Android is not going to push WebM at the price of breaking
H.264 content -- no way. I can safely write that without speaking for

The pressure to promote WebM was needed from a bigger player than
Mozilla, and it was needed a year ago. Not now, and not desktop-only
(which is all Chrome could offer in terms of market power, until ICS
takes off mor).

It might not have worked then, even with Google on-side. Now, with
just Mozilla going it alone, all we do is kill our mobile initiatives
in order to appear pure (while relying on impure Flash fallback on
desktop). That does not serve our mission or users.