Skip to main content

HTML5 Video Tag Codec Support


Recently there was a question asked over on regarding best practices around H.264 and the Video Tag.
The answer with the most votes has IMO provided an inadequate solution and I thought I would take the time to clear this up with a new post.

Unfortunately and to the frustration of developers that deal with Video content, HTML 5 has dropped the Codec as part of the specification leaving the Browser vendors to implement whatever they want.
However the consensus is to use H.264 with even Microsoft adopting this for the forthcoming Internet Explorer 9.

Here’s how it stacks in terms of browser support as of writing.

Browser H.264 Ogg Theora
Google Chrome Yes Yes
Firefox No Yes
Safari Yes No
IE9 Yes No
Opera No Yes

H.264 Only – Chrome, Safari & IE9

If you see this your browser does not support H.264

<video width="480" height="360" preload autobuffer controls>
    <source src="" type="video/mp4" />
    <p>If you see this your browser does not support H.264</p>

If you view this on Firefox you will see that their implementation does not ignore the Video tag and display the paragraph tag, instead it shows show the big X.

Ogg Theora Only – Firefox, Opera, Chrome

If you see this your browser does not support Ogg Theora

<video width="480" height="360" preload autobuffer controls>
    <source src="" type="video/ogg" />
    <p>If you see this your browser does not support Ogg Theora</p>

H.264 & Ogg Theroa – Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera & IE9

If you see this your browser does not support H.264 or Ogg Theora

<video width="480" height="360" preload autobuffer controls>
    <source src="" type="video/mp4" />
    <source src="" type="video/ogg" />
    <p>If you see this your browser does not support H.264 or Ogg Theora</p>

If you view this page on all of the aforementioned browsers you will notice that the current Video tag implementations are not very helpful to developers. The ideal would be that the Browser detects the Codec that they don’t support and then fallback to whatever is in the Video tag.

Now if you are just displaying video content then this doesn’t pose too much of a problem as you can just support a single codec and then fallback to a plug-in based media player of your choice. However if you want to start implementing features using Canvas then this becomes a major roadblock.

The only solution right now is to have an H.264 version and an Ogg Theora version of the same video which is a real PITA especially if you have thousands if not millions of videos to deal with.

If you do go the route of converting all your videos from H.264 to Ogg Theora then I’d recommended using the FFMpeg2Theora convertor as it’s very easy to use.

Hope this clarifies some of the challenges presented when dealing with Video content using HTML5.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Freeing Disk Space on C:\ Windows Server 2008

  I just spent the last little while trying to clear space on our servers in order to install .NET 4.5 . Decided to post so my future self can find the information when I next have to do this. I performed all the usual tasks: Deleting any files/folders from C:\windows\temp and C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData\Local\Temp Delete all EventViewer logs Save to another Disk if you want to keep them Remove any unused programs, e.g. Firefox Remove anything in C:\inetpub\logs Remove any file/folders C:\Windows\System32\LogFiles Remove any file/folders from C:\Users\%UserName%\Downloads Remove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\Desktop Remove any file/folders able to be removed from C:\Users\%UserName%\My Documents Stop Windows Update service and remove all files/folders from C:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution Deleting an Event Logs Run COMPCLN.exe Move the Virtual Memory file to another disk However this wasn’t enough & I found the most space was

CPF Contribution Rates for new Singapore Permanent Residents (SPR’s)

Recently my wife and I applied and got approved for Singapore Permanent Residency. After completing the formalities the most significant immediate change is the contribution to CPF which is Singapore’s mandatory social security savings scheme requiring contributions from employers and employees. CPF contributions start from the date you obtain SPR status, which is the date of the entry permit.   Being a relentless budgeter I needed to know exactly how much I and my employer would have to contribute so that I could adjust my budget accordingly as the employee contributions get deducted from the monthly salary. After doing some research I discovered that there is a “graduated” approach to CPF contributions for new SPR’s where the contributions gradually increase in the first and second year and then upon reaching the third year are at the full amount. Note: There is an option for employers to contribute the full amount for year 1 and year 2 and the employee can use the graduated ra

Populating Duplicate Fields with DocuSign's REST API

If you're using DocuSign's REST API for integrating e-Signing into your application then it's possible you'll come up against the issue of duplicate fields not populating. This is when you have the same field with the same label e.g. Company Name in multiple places on the Document but you only want to send a single label, value instance to the API and have it populate in all places where the field is. When you pass the label and value like so: { label: "company_name", value: "" } If you have the field company_name more than once in the document then only the first field will be populated. After a lot of digging into the DocuSign documentation I discovered the solution is to append "\\*" to the label name: { label: "\\*company_name", value: "" } Why this isn't the default behaviour is beyond me but the solution works as expected. DocuSign Rest API Documentation