No open video for Vimeo either, so what now?

Hot on the heels of YouTube's failure to deliver open video, it seems that Vimeo has decided to introduce HTML5 video support as well. But like YouTube, they decided to go for a patent-encumbered and non-free video codec instead of Theora.

While this is disappointing, there are other sites out there that are more than happy to lead the way into an open future. They may not be as big as YouTube, but one can hope that their early adoption of open video technologies will give them a nice boost. …

TinyVid is a relatively simple and plain looking site, but it seems to be picking up some steam. It even allows HD video: Take a look at the Sherlock Holmes trailer!

Dailymotion was one of the early adopters of open video. Sadly, it only works in Firefox at the moment due to browser sniffing, but now that Opera also supports the VIDEO element I'm sure they will update their site.

There's also The Video Bay, which was launched a few months ago as an experimental open video site. It seems to be down at the moment (is it permanently down?), so I can't really say much about it.

Are there any other open video sites out there people should check out?

These are certainly interesting times. Once again, it's the open Web vs. closed, proprietary, patent-encumbered solutions. Will the proponents of an open Web win this time around?

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46 thoughts on “No open video for Vimeo either, so what now?

  1. Originally posted by haavard:

    Will the proponents of an open Web win this time around?

    I'm not an optimist about this.

  2. Originally posted by pdarko:

    Originally posted by haavard:

    Will the proponents of an open Web win this time around?

    I'm not an optimist about this.

    Me neither. At the end of the day, it's all about money.

  3. Originally posted by cousin333:

    It is nice to stand out for something like this, but sulking about others NOT following your opinion is not a good idea. So please, if h.264 then h.264 it is…

    Epic fail.You don't even understand Opera's position.You are basically saying what companies like Microsoft want you to say.You clearly don't want an open web, whereas an open web is the only reason Opera is able to exist.Epic, epic, epic FAIL.

  4. I hope Opera won't stand against the trend because of some "open-idea", when the main players in online video industry use other than OGG.If there are any reasons why Opera has so small market share despite being developed for one and a half decade, it is definitely one of them.It is nice to stand out for something like this, but sulking about others NOT following your opinion is not a good idea. So please, if h.264 then h.264 it is…

  5. Originally posted by Purdi:

    Epic, epic, epic FAIL.

    If I don't know you at all I might be upset… :)I perfectly understand Opera's position and I didn't mean to support MS as well.I just said, that it would be really-really bad, if the big players would go on with h.264 and despite that Opera would relucantly go on ts own, just for being nice. And I think i would be better to have a standard format, even if its not open, than split into to group, one insisting OGG and the other (perhaps the more powerful) h.264.On the other hand, what's the case with x.264?

  6. Originally posted by Dailymotion:

    […]our code works best on Firefox 3.5 beta and is not yet optimized for other browsers. We would be happy to work more closely with developers from Webkit and Opera.

    Well, maybe you should give them a call :)Originally posted by cousin333:

    It is nice to stand out for something like this, but sulking about others NOT following your opinion is not a good idea. So please, if h.264 then h.264 it is…

    This is not jsut about standing out. H.264 is quite expensive. For the browser vendors as for the content creators…But fear not. Opera's implementation can work with H.264, too. (ATM only works for Linux, but theoretically it should work everywhere)

  7. Originally posted by Hades32:

    But fear not. Opera's implementation can work with H.264, too. (ATM only works for Linux, but theoretically it should work everywhere)

    I know, it uses GStreamer on Linux and a special version on Windows (and other devices). So far, only OGG support was named as cross platform effort.

  8. Originally posted by cousin333:

    I just said, that it would be really-really bad, if the big players would go on with h.264 and despite that Opera would relucantly go on ts own, just for being nice. And I think i would be better to have a standard format, even if its not open

    So are you going to pay the massive license fees for Opera, then? And for any other tiny browser released in the future which will be out of business even before it gets started because they have to pay through their nose if they want to support video?

  9. Originally posted by cousin333:

    I know, it uses GStreamer on Linux and a special version on Windows (and other devices). So far, only OGG support was named as cross platform effort.

    GStreamer works (including most codecs) on Windows and Mac. I don't know what exactly Opera's changes to GStreamer are and if they will go back into the main branch, but I guess they didn't break compatibility with other codecs. http://sourcecode.opera.com/gstreamer/When normal users can simply install a H.264 codec for Opera this would solve the pricing issue to a certain extend as well…Still it would be nicer if OGG was used 😦

  10. But what about x.264? So far as I know, it is legitimately reverse-engineered to be per-pixel compatible with proprietary solutions for h.264 media. Like I said, developing a method to embed the open VLC core seems much more productive……the current interface on Windows is Qt-based……. πŸ™‚

  11. Originally posted by hellspork:

    But what about x.264?

    Patents, patents, patents. If Opera use it and don't pay the extortion money, they will be sued.

    …..the current interface on Windows is Qt-based…….

    Opera's isn't. And they are ditching Qt on Linux as well.

  12. Originally posted by Purdi:

    o are you going to pay the massive license fees for Opera,

    Your evidence is? SO far you have offered only words like "closed", "proprietary", "expensive." Without numbers to back your claims, it's marketing-speak. Mind you, I think you are right, but that does not remove the need to *prove* your statement.

  13. Opera doesnt have to pay a nickel to support h264 as it could use the installed windows 7 h264 directshow filter or prompt user to find one for free, most PCs have already one anyway.Opera simply doesnt like proprietary staff which is kinda funny if you think that Opera itself is…. proprietary. πŸ˜€

  14. Originally posted by deadHarlequin:

    Opera simply doesnt like proprietary staff which is kinda funny if you think that Opera itself is…. proprietary.

    1. It's "stuff"2. It's about open STANDARDS not about open SOFTWARE. Opera is as open as it gets, as it uses only open standards. Open-Source isn't of much use in many cases. But open standards are a must.But you are probably right. If H.264 would become the de-facto standard, Opera probably could use some way around paying…

  15. Opera should include h.264 support or at least provide a way to install a GStreamer plug-in into the system. It would be a shame if 10.50 release won't be able to play YouTube with h.264 videos – non-techie people will once again point a finger at Opera saying it does not support standards.

  16. Apple's QuickTime has .264 in it, not sure if any other media programs have h.264 (maybe call the quicktime plug-in (or if there is another program that can))Tho I would prefer .ogg

  17. Originally posted by deadHarlequin:

    Opera doesnt have to pay a nickel to support h264 as it could use the installed windows 7 h264 directshow filter or prompt user to find one for free, most PCs have already one anyway.

    Yeah, and what about all the other platforms Opera is used on? But who cares about being able to browse the web from any device, which is Opera's vision. Opera should throw away its vision!

    Opera simply doesnt like proprietary staff which is kinda funny if you think that Opera itself is…. proprietary.

    There's nothing wrong with proprietary stuff in general. There's something wrong with a proprietary web.

  18. Originally posted by umbra-tenebris:

    Mind you, I think you are right, but that does not remove the need to *prove* your statement.

    It does. I think it's pointless. But here it is:"As we explained in our detailed examination of the codec debate last year, the future of h.264 licensing costs is somewhat ambiguous, making it a risky choice for the Web."http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/decoding-the-html-5-video-codec-debate.arsAlso:http://diveintohtml5.org/video.html#licensing

  19. Opera is as open as it gets, as it uses only open standards. Open-Source isn't of much use in many cases. But open standards are a must.But you are probably right. If H.264 would become the de-facto standard, Opera probably could use some way around paying…

    Opera already supports no standard compliant 'stuff'(quirks mode). But it's not only that, every browser has its own proprietary way of handling the complexity of the web, which more or less makes each browser enigne a proprietary platform. This is pretty obvious if you take notice of how much each vendor thrives to extend the use of its own rendering engine.H264 is already the 'lingua franca' of video. Google, blip.tv, vimeo and most major sites supported it long time before the new video tag. Most mobile phones support h264 but dont know anything about theora. It's not a failure of all the major web-video market players to support an "open" standard it's a failure of the standard itself. Open stadnards arent godsend after all.

  20. The only epic fail here is the guy who is too lazy to educate himself.As for hardware decoders, they are mostly generic chips programmed in a certain way. They could easily be modified using software to accelerate Theora.And no, there is no red herring. But evidently you support a closed web.

  21. Originally posted by Purdi:

    It does. I think it's pointless. But here it is:"As we explained in our detailed examination of the codec debate last year, the future of h.264 licensing costs is somewhat ambiguous, making it a risky choice for the Web."http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2009/07/decoding-the-html-5-video-codec-debate.arsAlso:http://diveintohtml5.org/video.html#licensing

    Great pictures, 0 numbers. Epic fail. So you cannot give us any meaningful estimate as how much h264 cost to Opera. Thanks for proving my point. Originally posted by Purdi:

    Yeah, and what about all the other platforms Opera is used on? But who cares about being able to browse the web from any device, which is Opera's vision. Opera should throw away its vision!

    They already have hardware decoders, which the OS exports for using by the applications, i.e. it's the same as the desktop. Same for Wii, TV sets etc. I sense the smell of a red-herring.

  22. Originally posted by Purdi:

    Yeah, and what about all the other platforms Opera is used on? But who cares about being able to browse the web from any device, which is Opera's vision. Opera should throw away its vision!

    There is no need to throw away Opera's vision – h.264/h.263 is already supported by most devices out there. Even my three years old feature phone support h.263. h.264 is an industry standard, not supporting it is silly.I suppose 10.50 will be more of a testing version for VIDEO support. I suggest making a proper cross-platform media framework for future versions, whitch will simply be a wrapper around native media playback using WM on Windows, QT on Apple, GStreamer on *nixes and other APIs for other devices. h.264 is playable by WM, QT, GStreamer and on most modern mobile phones/smart phones/pdas/tv set boxes/etc, along with other media formats.I believe that in near future we will see three dominating media formats: OGG, h.264 and MP3 and I believe that most web-devs will have streams in all these formats. This will resolve incompatability issues (since web dev can figure out which formats are supported by client via JS) and make web trully accessible.Current problem with accessibility is that OGG is NOT support by most hardware (I'm not speaking about PCs, but about phones/players), so h.264 and MP3 dominate. Including support for OGG is only a way to speed up the process of its adoption. Disabling h.264/MP3 will cause Opera/whatever browser vendor to loose in this game – You can't force Sony Ericsson to exclude their h.264 hardware support and put OGG instead – that will never happen.So here is a very simple conslusion forced by current industry situation – h.264 is a MUST. No workaround accepted.

  23. Opera would indeed have to throw out its vision of not only "any device", but also an open web.Maybe they will be forced to give in to the evil bastardization that is H.264, but they will not do it with pleasure.H.264 needs to die a horrible death just because it's getting in the open web's way.

  24. Perhaps it would be possible to wholly acquire the VLC code base? What people continually neglect is the fact that PLUGINS are DIFFERENT on each OS. The major format in Windows is .dll, the major format in Linux and (possibly) Mac should be .so, is that clearer? Quicktime is a bad match, DirectShow is Windows-only, Opera either needs to hardwire support into the core OR use a fully cross-platform framework.GStreamer is a media framework for various Operating Systems, while VLC is supposedly embeddable and detached from the visible interface. Both can use any presentation method supported by the host OS, including several methods of hardware acceleration. Both also use their own codecs, rather than general OS media codecs.

  25. Originally posted by "Mark Pilgrim twit":

    Bravo to Mozilla for their courageous stance that only third-party plugins using nonstandard APIs should be able to play YouTube videos.

    What is worth noticing is that Mozilla and Opera know better what is good for the business of the web video market than the actual players of the market themselves.

  26. Originally posted by deadHarlequin:

    What is worth noticing is that Mozilla and Opera know better what is good for the business of the web video market than the actual players of the market themselves.

    Opera and Mozilla know better than some cabal of extortionists what's better for the web. They have been around and know first hand what this crap can do to the web.But I guess you are saying that closed monopolies have been great for the web so far. Microsoft really did a great job to a point where they could just disband the IE team and let the web stop evolving for many years.So let's repeat it all over again and make the web rely on yet another closed, proprietary monopoly. It worked out so great the last time.Because as we know, closed monopolies always know best. And organizations that have been around and learned from the past don't know crap.

  27. I just checked out that Sherlock Holmes trailer… the quality is REALLY bad with blocking and blurring all over the place. This is despite being encoded at 4.6 Mbps (more than double the 2 Mbps that YouTube uses!). I just checked an SD video and there are similar quality issues though they aren't quite so glaring. However, the SD video is encoded at 2.25 Mbps (~2.5x the .9 Mbps that YouTube uses!). Maybe tinyvid implements theora in a poor manner with highly suboptimal encoder settings. If this website isn't anomylous then it would seem that Google's statements about the increase in bandwidth to maintain quality with theora seem to hold some water. In such a case, there would be an added cost incurred upon video distributors from the increased storage and bandwidth consumed. I'm not sure how those increased costs vs storing/sending video as h.264 would compare to the licensing fees, and maybe they aren't as significant. The increased bandwidth/needed also affects the end user, though hopefully general consumer bandwidth/speed pricing improves over time.Originally posted by hellspork:

    But what about x.264? So far as I know, it is legitimately reverse-engineered to be per-pixel compatible with proprietary solutions for h.264 media.

    The x264 team did not "reverse engineer" mpeg-4 AVC, they merely implement it with their encoder. If there are any licensing fees they have to pay for that, then they pay them. x264 has a number of corporate partners and a number of the updates for x264 come at the behest of these businesses.That's likely also the case with ffmpeg. VLC, Mplayer, FFDShow, etc are, at their, core implementations of ffmpeg and it's likely that ffmpeg has revenue streams that will allow them to pay for decoder distribution when licensing fees are enacted.

  28. @Purdi To my knowledge, the Mpeg-la is about as much a monopoly as the w3c. It's like a consortium of many video companies that submit their own patented technologies to be considered for future codecs. It's similar to the way w3c comes up with web standards, just that these companies collaborate for a profit and Mpeg-la gets a cut. Granted the different companies that collaborate to design mpeg codecs are generally trying to design codecs for broadcast (TV, 2-way video chat, etc) and not necessarily for the web.

  29. Originally posted by Astrophizz:

    I just checked out that Sherlock Holmes trailer… the quality is REALLY bad with blocking and blurring all over the place.

    Actually, the quality is better than the same video when you watch it on YouTube.

  30. Originally posted by Astrophizz:

    To my knowledge, the Mpeg-la is about as much a monopoly as the w3c.

    Your knowledge is evidently severely lacking. It is nothing like the W3C. The W3C pushes open, patent-free standards. The video cabal does professional extortion.

  31. I made the distinction that Mpeg-LA contributors seek a profit through patents, intending to imply that W3C doesn't work like that as seen with the qualification in the 3rd sentence of that post. Please read more than my first sentence of both my posts πŸ™‚

  32. Actually, they are uploaded to YouTube.The videos for DOWNLOAD are .mov files. And they were added to that page LONG BEFORE 10.5.Evidently you are trying to accuse Opera of something, but you failed miserably due to your lack of knowledge and common decency.

  33. Originally posted by Purdi:

    Evidently you are trying to accuse Opera of something, but you failed miserably due to your lack of knowledge and common decency.

    I am very sorry, i did not want to do this. The reason for placement that link was informing. I knew that it was obsolete page.

  34. Theora/.ogm files can look really good at fairly low bitrates. However this is not often the case, and .ogm is somewhat rare. How much is lack of technical convenience and how much is lack of formal training?I am reminded that h.264 is not *that* CPU-intensive if you know what you're doing, though even some 720p content will crush the average computer if you enable special features of the codec. By experience, .ogm files typically require the same CPU as DivX/MPEG-4; however bitrates may be slightly better. I do not believe that Theora's data efficiency is at the level of h.264/x264.The last time I examined videos that were available in multiple formats, h.264 and AAC permitted double the resolution plus 5.1 surround; all in the same file size as MPEG-4 video with .mp3 stereo. Meanwhile Flash is a nearly universal plugin that supports h.264 and not Theora, which also tips the scales.Of course with phones there's always .3gp, but a single codec with multiple quality ranges would still be ideal.

  35. Originally posted by Purdi:

    H.264 needs to die a horrible death just because it's getting in the open web's way.

    Not really, the things that need to die are patents of algorithms and data structures.Originally posted by Purdi:

    And no, there is no red herring. But evidently you support a closed web.

    You throw a statement without any proof, I wanted a proof, you didn't delivered it, but instead give another baseless statement. Your way to convince other people in your view point is … strange. Anyway, I found the numbers in an OSNews article, so I made my opinion.Also, I forgot that Opera supports every possible 32-bit Windows version, back to 95, so they MUST include their codecs so they have to pay for the patents 😦 So yes, it is not cheap for them. And obviously the fact that MPEG LA wants taxes for every encoding & decoding makes their codec really unsuitable for anyone but the guys with the deepest pockets. Ironically these guys are members of MPEG LA and they basically get this stuff for free because of the cross-licensing deals among them.

  36. Well, that's how IP consortiums work. The first guys in get to run the club, the rest pay them to run the club. The promise of royalties encourages innovation, but does not allow for much generosity.The best stance (ethically) is to control the encoder and freely support the decoder. For most proprietary media types, playback is free to the end-user while creation software costs money (and wide distribution costs lots of money). I feel that MPEG-LA could further its monopoly (and profits) by ensuring free access to the h.264 playback method. In that way, offering the code for free FORCES companies to use if they wish to be competitive. And that could only sweeten the lucrative distribution market.

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