Firefox To Get OS-dependent Support for H.264 Codec

After long debate and wait, finally Mozilla is going to implement OS-level support for the patent-encumbered H.264 codec on Firefox for desktop and Android platforms. For Android 4.x devices, the beta version of Firefox for Android now supports hardware and software level H.264 decoding. On desktop platforms, except Windows XP, Firefox will take advantage of the codec support available with the OS itself. On Windows Vista and later versions, it would be done through the Windows Media Foundation. While on Linux, Gstreamer would do the trick. Moreover, Mozilla’s upcoming mobile operating system, Firefox OS (formerly, Boot to Gecko), would support H.264 hardware decoding.

As Microsoft’s Media Foundation framework is not available for Windows XP, Flash plug-in is the only solution for H.264 video playback in Firefox.

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Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript and CTO at Mozilla, writes in his blog post, “H.264 is absolutely required right now to compete on mobile. I do not believe that we can reject H.264 content in Firefox on Android or in B2G and survive the shift to mobile. […] OS-dependent H.264 decoding is not different in kind from Flash-dependent H.264 decoding in my view.”. An important advantage of OS-dependent decoding is that users no longer have to face the poor performance and frequent updates of Flash plug-in.

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