Posts tagged online
Google just announced on its Chromium blog that it will be removing support for the H.264 video codec from the Chrome web browser, in favor of supporting only its own open WebM codec (which, as we covered earlier, is based on On2 Technologies’ VP8) for HTML5 web videos using the <video> tag.
Earlier, Microsoft, Apple, and Google had decided to support H.264 (the dominant high-definition video codec) for HTML5 web video, while Mozilla and Opera supported only Google’s WebM codec. Now, Google’s move leaves Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 and Apple’s Safari 5 as the only major browsers supporting the H.264 codec without plugins. Ironically, since the vast majority of HTML5 video on the web today is encoded using H.264, Google’s move will likely reduce the usable installed base of HTML5 video-capable browsers.
Read on for more about Google’s web video codec move.
Google has released the On2 VP8 video codec with an open-source license, along with the WebM container format, which combines VP8 video with Vorbis audio. The company also added WebM support to its HTML5 beta version of YouTube (just add
&webm=1 at the end of the video URL, in a supported browser). What is Google up to, and what does it mean for online video?
Read on to find out.
If the buzz around a new service were the sole indicator of its success, OnLive would undoubtedly be a smash hit. First debuted about a year ago, it aims to completely change the way we play (and purchase) games. The goal is simple – complete platform independence. One should be able to play the same game on a PC or a Mac or on a gaming console without a hitch.
OnLive accomplishes this by moving all the processing grunt work to their servers – we press a button, and the input goes via the internet connection to their machines, which deliver the result of that back to us. The potential for such a service is huge – we wouldn’t need to worry about upgrading our console/graphics card to keep up with latest crop of games.
Needless to say, this service has its fair share of skeptics who point out two key issues. The first is latency, which measures the time it takes for a packet to move from source to destination. If it’s too high, then there is a feeling of lag that makes gameplay unpleasant, if not impossible. The second is the speed of video compression. To output HD quality video over a bandwidth of about 5 or so Mbps (as claimed) almost instantaneously, OnLive’s compression algorithms would have to be order of magnitudes better than the ones currently in use.
A sneak preview of the beta confirmed existing beliefs – while the graphics aren’t as good as promised, non-first-person-shooter games were certainly playable. Latency issues butcher gameplay in shooters that stress on reflexes, like Unreal Tournament 3. The preview was a beta, though, and the tester was well out of the specified geographical zone, so it could change by the release date. OnLive is said to be on track for a June 17th, 2010 launch, with initial pricing set at $15/month (plus rental/purchase costs for games). In just a couple of months’ time, we’ll finally be able to see and judge for ourselves whether the future of gaming is really here.