HTML and CSS Reference
Table 5-1. Current browser support for video formats
H.264 ( .mp4 )
Ogg Theora ( .ogv )
VP8 ( .webm )
In Table 5-1 , R indicates “removed,” D indicates “download required,”
and Y indicates “yes (supported).” Note that Google removed support
for H.264 from the Chrome browser with version 11. IE9 supports VP8,
but only if the user installs the codec on Windows.
As you can see from Table 5-1 , if you want to reach all of the latest browsers you need
to include at least the .mp4 and .ogv formats. Briefly, the supported formats are:
The container format for the proprietary H.264 codec that encodes video for a full
range of devices, including high definition.
The free, open source container format for the open source Theora codec. Results
in lower quality than H.264.
Another open source container format, which is used by the new, royalty-free VP8
codec from Google.
Google pulled support for H.264 in Chrome (see http://blog.chromium
.org/2011/01/html-video-codec-support-in-chrome.html ) , while VP8 is
supported by Microsoft's IE9 with the installation of a decoder (see http:
Why is there such a messy situation with video codecs? Intellectual property and
licensing fees are a large factor. Browser makers who want to use certain formats (and
therefore codecs) natively are subject to the intellectual property rights of the codecs
Apple and Microsoft have paid the licensing fees to allow the H.264 video codec to play
natively in their respective browsers. The vendors that produce the Firefox and Opera
browsers, meanwhile, opt to support free, open source formats.