h264 Licensing, HTML5 & The Future
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Posted 2/9/10 , edited 2/9/10
EDIT: Re-posted into the appropriate thread here: http://www.crunchyroll.com/forumtopic-1/site-supporthelp-ask-technical-questions-here/?pg=931#29946612

Edit by BasouKazuma: Moved back here since I'm trying to move away from using that huge thread.
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As you know*, the free use of h264 streaming almost came to a close but they recently extended the deadline. When I originally read about the deadline I immediately thought of CR and, of course, YouTube. Now that they've extended the deadline you have more breathing room, but the extension won't last forever.

So I'm curious. Does CR plan to move to Theora or some other open format? Will you move to the HTML 5 player, or does that not allow for the necessary DRM that's a part of the videos here?

Their extension of the deadline was a foolish business decision. The deadline approaching shocked people into remembering that there is, in fact, a deadline, and then they turn around and give more than enough time for technology to advance and for websites to shift to a format that's going to be friendlier to their bottom line.

Of course, that works in everyone else's (aka, our) favor. Now curiosity has me by the toes. What's everyone going to do? YouTube is pushing into HTML 5 (you can already use a beta implementation on YT) and they're responding to a surprisingly big demand to move to an open format, though I don't know what exactly that response is going to be.

Anyhow, I'm curious about what CR may do. :-)

* h264 is the video codec that's used in the majority of streams on the Internet. The h264 codec is not free. It is essentially shareware. The owners have allowed websites to stream their technology for free but only for a limited time, after which they will charge licensing fees to stream the videos. They have not said what they are going to charge.

The Flash player is only the player. The video itself - the thing that you watch by using the Flash player - is contained inside of a technology that belongs to someone else. Read more about it here: http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2010/02/royalty-free-codec-still-needed-despite-no-cost-h264-license.ars
Engineer
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Posted 2/9/10
I don't think HTML5 supports secure streams yet (could be wrong). Youtube doesn't need to worry about secure streams so that's why they're able to switch over now without any worries.

HTML5 is far from complete so I don't think it's likely for us to use it any time soon.
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Posted 2/9/10

BasouKazuma wrote:

I don't think HTML5 supports secure streams yet (could be wrong). Youtube doesn't need to worry about secure streams so that's why they're able to switch over now without any worries.

HTML5 is far from complete so I don't think it's likely for us to use it any time soon.

Yeah I was wondering if that would be the case. HTML 5 seems to have great potential, but I can see where certain sites will need to stick to Flash or such. It would be great if the tech would eventually support something like CR's (and others') requirements, but I don't know how they would do that in what is deliberately a quick-and-simple method of embedding videos.

Flash is useful for cross-platform compatibility, but I've always been curious if CR would adopt other players (WMP or QT). Maybe that would be more of a headache than it's worth though, even if CR does eventually move away from h264. On the other hand, this may all be up to the studios

Anyway I'm just a nerd by nature and I tend to ramble (clearly). I'm very curious to see where this goes (for everyone, not just CR).

Thanks for the response.
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Posted 2/10/10
Hmmm, even if HTML5 was able to be used, a format hasn't been decided on yet. Seems to be a battle between OGG Theora and h264. Youtube's HTML5 videos are still using the h264 codec and can only be used on Google Chrome or Safari so far. Firefox's version of the HTML5 video tag supports Theora instead of h264 and Internet Explorer doesn't support it at all yet since it's not standardized.

I'm hoping Theora becomes the standard for HTML5 video playback since having a free format will help the little guys with putting videos on their sites. That way people who want to keep using h264 can stick with Flash and those who want the free format, can use HTML5 video.
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Posted 2/12/10 , edited 2/12/10
Judging by the quality of the pictures from my POV: http://people.xiph.org/~greg/video/ytcompare/comparison.html

There is little to no difference between H.264+AAC and Ogg/Theora+Vorbis depending on picture quality.

Pretty much if we use Ogg/Theora+Vorbis, we would just need a new container.
Engineer
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Posted 2/12/10
According to this guy's tests, he needed to up the filesize/bitrate 60-70% for the Theora encodes in order to get the same quality as h264 encodes. That means much more bandwidth strain on users and servers.
http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~nick/theora-soccer/

From what I'm reading, it should be possible for browsers to support both formats (Firefox can have h264 support as a 3rd party addon if they don't want to natively support it). That way the site owners can decide which format to use instead of pigeonholing everyone to one format. Win win.
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Posted 3/1/10 , edited 3/1/10

BasouKazuma wrote:

I don't think HTML5 supports secure streams yet (could be wrong).


There are companies using secure HTML5 streams (WOWZA to name one), but more importantly I haven't heard that HTML5 supports fullscreen yet and even YouTube still renders any ads in Flash. So you're right about it being far from finished. However, I can't wait until CR gets away from Flash. I really enjoy the iPhone app and I suspect that viewing CR on the iPad using the app will be better than cr.com during peak times. Peak times are I when experience video stutter.

Engineer
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Posted 4/24/10
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Posted 8/24/10
This is a really interesting topic. No one seems to have brought up the fact that google has now released WebM as a counter to the debate of h.264 and its related freedoms.

What is also interesting is CR response to iPad and iPhone users lack of flash support by making an app to support CR playback. I'm a linux user and flash support is terrrrrible I have so much trouble with CR videos at any res. I have tried using Boxee but it suffers the same problems(plus it only play SD videos currently).

Either way if a separate system for Apple products can be created I think supporting an open video codec is a great way to move forward.

-Matt
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Posted 8/26/10 , edited 8/26/10
Well as of today H.264 is now free forever! So this is very good news. Now lets hope this will be a standard like mp3 is for music.


H.264: Free forever for free video streaming
The group that licenses patents for the widely used H.264 video encoding and streaming technology has committed to charge no royalties ever for use by Web sites that use it for freely available video.
In February, the MPEG LA previously had declared free streaming wouldn't require royalty payments through December 31, 2015. On Thursday, it lifted that limit forever, a move could remove some hesitation to use it on Web sites.
The move, although made earlier than the licensing group had to, isn't a major surprise. For one thing, adding a fee to streaming costs could have driven potential users into the arms of free rival video encoding technology, notably WebM from Google.
MPEG LA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about why it made the decision.
In any event, it's likely the video landscape will look different five years from now. It's an active area of research, and by 2015, it's likely there will be new codec alternatives that offer more advanced encoding and decoding abilities. That could mean smaller file sizes, a lower processing burden, or reduced network throughput needs.
MPEG LA continues to charge royalties for use in other areas, including Blu-ray drives and disc reproduction, broadcast television, cameras, and video editing software. H.264 is also known as AVC.


http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20014864-264.html?tag=cnetRiver
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Posted 8/29/10 , edited 8/29/10
It's only free if the video that it is used for is offered for free. All of the premium videos on Crunchyroll will not be able to use h264 without CR paying royalties.
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Posted 12/14/10 , edited 12/14/10
the streams as they are now aren't really secure, you can pull the mp4 video that the flash player grabs from data in the source code of the page. at least you could last I checked.

edit: I also wanted to mention however, the subtitles are not hardcoded into the videos, those are somehow added with the player.
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Posted 11/16/11
support for flash on mobile devices is ending, if crunchyroll wants to continue to provide a consistent experience on both mobile devices and PCs, they will need to switch to html5.
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Posted 11/17/11
For mobile, we don't really rely on Flash. We'll most likely be making dedicated apps that use the device's built in video player for at least the next year or so. This is because HTML5 video will most likley not be mature enough until 1-2 years from now. But, we'll be monitoring the progress of HTML5 video, or any other standard that prevails, and provide support for it when it's feasible.
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Posted 1/31/12
I think HTML5 going at a pretty good speed. i think it be sooner that it be more mature maybe a year at tops.
there already games being made under html5 like Bejewleled for example.
hell i think its already starting to show how mature it is in such a big way thus far.

If it dose end up taking longer then a year im sure that only be when it comes to licensing issues, or someone in the dev department getting pissed about something.


Bejewleled - http://bejeweled.popcap.com/html5/0.9.12.9490/html5/Bejeweled.html
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