Microsoft adds H.264 format support for Chrome

2 Feb 2011

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Just weeks after Google said it would be dropping support for content on the H.264 format on its Chrome browser, rival Microsoft has unveiled a HTML5 Extension for Chrome.

The new plug-in from Microsoft enables Windows 7 users who use Chrome to continue to play H.264 video.

Google in recent weeks revealed it plans to drop support for the HTML (video) based H.264 codec in Chrome. It said it plans to instead support WebM and Theora codecs to be more consistent with open Chromium codecs. The WebM Project was launched last year to bring an open, world-class video codec to the web.

“We believe that Windows customers should be able to play mainstream HTML5 video and, as we’ve described in previous posts, Internet Explorer 9 will support playback of H.264 video as well as VP8 video when the user has installed a VP8 codec,” said Claudio Caldato of Microsoft’s Interoperability Strategy Team.

“We are committed to ensuring that Windows customers have the best web experience, and we have been offering for several years now the extremely popular Windows Media Player plug-in for Firefox, which is downloaded by millions of people a month who want to watch Windows Media content.”

Video formats and optimal experiences

Microsoft said it recently provided an add-on for Windows 7 users who choose Firefox to play H.264 video.

“We also recently provided an add-on for Windows 7 customers who choose Firefox to play H.264 video so as to enable interoperability across IE, Firefox and Chrome using HTML5 video on Windows.

“For many reasons H.264 is an excellent and widely-used video format that serves the web very well today. As such, we will continue to ensure that developers and customers continue to have an optimal web experience,” Caldato said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com