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Browser based video formats in HTML5

July 11th, 2014

Video formats are diverse and each of them can be used in a specified browsers. Few of the video formats are MP4, VP8, VP9, Theora and so on. There are lots of browsers being used in the web. Most of the web developers are not aware of the latest browsers and the video formats supported by the browsers, they automatically use the prescribed or default video formats. In order to display the videos without any plugins, HTML 5 launched an element called ‘video element’.

Let us have brief information about the Video element of HTML 5 and the browser-based video formats in this article…

HTML 5 Supported Video Formats

HTML5 does not state which video formats should be supported browsers. If a video format is appropriate, the browser can support them for free. But, content authors will not allow them to do so, as they consider that the browsers have no least set of video formats to support.

The HTML5 Working Group states that, each browser should support at least one video format. That ideal format of a video should hold the following constraints:

  • Royalty-free
  • Good image quality
  • Low decode processor use
  • Good compression
  • Hardware video decoder must be present with software decoder for a video format.

Video Element of HTML 5

To download a video file in a browser, two methods are used:

1.  JavaScript canPlayType() function

Type refers to the MIME (Multi-Purpose Internet Mail Extension) type and the list of codecs. This instructs the browser to decode the file.

2.  <source>

Fallback is supported by the ‘video’ element through the multiple sources specifications. <source> can be any number of elements. The file to be downloaded can be picked by the browser.

Browser- based Video Formats

Theora and WebM are the free formats. MPEG-4 is the non-free format. The most common browser-based video formats in HTML 5 are:

  1. Theora
  2. H.264 (MP4)
  3. VP8
  4. VP9
  5. MPEG 4

Let us see in detail about the browser-based video formats regarding their operating systems, versions, and the browsers to be used.

1.  Theora

Theora

Browser

OS

Latest Version

3.0

Google Chrome

35.0.1916.153

35.0.1916.153

Manual

Internet Explorer

Windows

11.09

3.5

Mozilla Firefox

Windows 7+, Vista, Linux,  Android and others

30.0

ESR 24.6.0

2.3

Android

Android

4.2.1 Jelly Bean

2.28

Web

All supported

3.12.2

10.50

Opera

Windows Presto,

Windows OS, Linux, FreeBSD

12.17, 22.0.1471.7,

12.16

r18297

Chromium

Unix, & others

Manual

Safari

OSX

7.0.5, 6.1.5

4.4

Konqueror

All supported

4.13.1

2.  H.264 (MP4)

MP4

Browser

OS

Latest Version

3.0

Google Chrome

35.0.1916.153

9.0, 9.0, 10.0

Internet Explorer

Windows, Windows Phone, Windows RT

11.09, 10.0, 10.0

21.0, 22.0, 26.0, 17.0

Mozilla Firefox

Windows 7+, Vista, Linux,  Android

30.0

ESR 24.6.0

3.0

Android

Android

4.2.1 Jelly Bean

2.28

Web

All supported

3.12.2

11.50

Opera

20 for Android

12.0.22 for Symbian S60

10.0 for Windows Mobile

3.1

Safari

OSX

7.0.5, 6.1.5

Manual

Chromium

Unix

4.4

Konqueror

All supported

4.13.1

3.   VP8

VP8

Browser

OS

Latest Version

6.0

Google Chrome

35.0.1916.153

Manual

Internet Explorer

Windows

11.09

4.0

Mozilla Firefox

Windows 7+, Vista, Linux,  Android & others

30.0

ESR 24.6.0

2.3

Android

Android

4.2.1 Jelly Bean

2.28

Web

All supported

3.12.2

11.50

10.50

Opera

20 for Android, 12.0.22 for Symbian S60

10.0 for Windows Mobile

Windows Presto,

Windows OS, Linux, FreeBSD

Manual

Safari

OSX

7.0.5, 6.1.5

r47759

Chromium

Unix

4.4

Konqueror

All supported

4.13.1

4.    VP9

VP9

Browser

OS

Latest Version

29.0

Google Chrome

35.0.1916.153

Internet Explorer

28.0

Mozilla Firefox

Windows 7+, Vista, Linux,  Android & others

30.0

ESR 24.6.0

Android

2.28

Web

All supported

3.12.2

16.0

Opera

20 for Android

12.0.22 for Symbian S60

10.0 for Windows Mobile

Safari

r172738

Chromium

Unix

4.4

Konqueror

All supported

4.13.1

5.    MPEG 4/H.264

This format is widely used. It has good speed, video quality, hardware decoders, and compression.

H.264 is used in MP4 format, with Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio. Users of MP4 should hold the licences of both AAC and H.264. This format is supported by Apple and Microsoft.

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