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Firefox Desktop To Get Native H.264 Support

Posted by: , 11:05 AEDT, Thu October 25, 2012

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The desktop version of Firefox will get OS-level native support for H.264, following the same addition to the mobile version of the popular web browser
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Mozilla has confirmed that work is under way to bring OS-level native support for H.264 to the desktop version of Firefox, after the company recently released the mobile version of Firefox with the same level of support.

This comes after the company having fought a valiant battle against the adoption of H.264, a video codec that, while an industry standard, is not royalty free or open source and goes against the principles behind Mozilla's web browser. 

But the popularity of H.264 was just too great in the end, with it being the technology behind websites such as YouTube, and video standards such as Blu-ray. The company signalled their defeat in fighting the spread of H.264 back in March, but it's only this week that Mozilla confirmed the desktop version of Firefox would also get native H.264 support.

Back in March Mozilla's chief technology officer Brendan Eich had this to say about H.264: "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."

Currently, Firefox can only play back H.264 content via the Flash plug-in, but with native OS support, Firefox will delegate the decoding work to the operating system. This avoids the need to have and use Flash, and should also bring some performance and stability benefits.

Only Windows XP will not be receiving the OS-level H.264 support, as Windows XP does not have OS level tools for working with H.264.


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