Monday, May 25, 2020

A Win for Flash in the Jobs vs. Flash War as Hulu says no to HTML 5

The internet is starting to answer in Apple’s fight against Flash, and for now, Flash is winning in two major battlegrounds. Hulu which is one of the largest video content providers in America has sided with Flash for now due to HTML 5’s limitations.

Hulu stated in a blog post on 6-13-2010
“We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user.”

The other entity that appears to be going the no H.264 video route for now is one of the biggies. Firefox can not or will not support it. H.264 would require a licensed codec to play. This poses a difficulty for Firefox, which is otherwise free software. For this reason, they only include the Theora codec, which is unencumbered. There’s no plan to license and include an H.264 codec. For Firefox to do something like Chrome has done they would have to become closed-source like Safari and Chrome-not-Chromium. I don’t see Mozilla crossing that big red line, no matter what anyone says.

There is a misconception that well since it is included in Chrome it must be that Firefox can do it as well, however this is not the case. This is why even the mighty Google doesn’t support H.264 in Chromium, its webkit based, open source browser, but only in Chrome. And even in Chrome you can only use the H.264 for personal and non-commercial use. Which means that using Chrome to view H.264 on your work computer is illegal. Those of us who work from home are really screwed by this logic.

This is a fight that is far from over, it remains to be seen whether or not Apple can impose its will on the rest of the internet. So far they seem to be losing the battle not just of public opinion, but in the trenches as well.


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