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Microsoft Edge to Support VP9

September 11, 2015

There is a long standing battle in the tech world that has many industry giants fighting for the delivery of content on browsers. As cloud technology continues to increase in adoption and hosted solutions become the norm, the browser will be the mechanism for delivering these services. For the vast majority of companies, an open source platform everyone can use without having to worry about propriety solutions is the way to go. But there are some, especially those holding the patents for the technology, who are not aboard. However, as more of the largest tech companies continue to adopt the open source platforms, it is only a matter of when and not if before this side prevails.

Microsoft just announced that WebM/VP9 support is now in development in Microsoft Edge, the company’s new browser that is part of Windows 10.

The VP9 is an open source and royalty free video coding format developed by Google that offers efficient compression to stream HD content at lower bitrates, and according to Microsoft, it will be available in Windows Insider Preview builds in the near future.

Currently Chrome, Firefox, and Opera support playing VP9 video format in the HTML5 video tag. These browsers are also the ones that support WebRTC, which is an API that is trying to do away with the need for propriety solutions for communicating and delivering any type of content through browsers.

For Microsoft, initial support will be restricted to streaming through the browser when used with MP4 or AAC audio, but it is considering additional audio codecs such as Opus, Ogg and Vorbis. The VP9 will support software decoding and, when supported by the device, hardware decoding. The company said, because decoding video is computationally complex, users will have the best experience with more powerful desktop and laptop computers.

On the company blog, Microsoft said VP9 implementation in Microsoft Edge will support adaptive streaming using Media Source Extensions, and will be detectable using the MediaSource.isTypeSupported() API.

It went on to say, “It will be specifically targeted to meet the needs of websites that use VP9 to deliver video in combination with MP4/AAC or other audio codecs already supported by Microsoft. We are working on future support for VP9 for media tags and local playback, as well as considering support for additional audio formats likely to be used with VP9 such as Opus.”

This is just until Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Cisco, Intel, Mozilla and Netflix create their own codecs that can be used on the Internet as part of the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia). The newly formed AOMedia is going to create an open royalty free video format that is interoperable across devices, while supporting high quality video formats including UHD and commercial/non-commercial content.

When some of the largest tech companies coming together to be a part of an open source solution, the days of propriety based content delivery on the Internet are numbered. The move by many developers to abandon Flash and embrace HTML5 and WebRTC is just the beginning.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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