Support for H.264 Lands in Firefox Nightlies

Support for H.264 Lands in Firefox Nightlies

By | December 22nd, 2012
No Comments on Support for H.264 Lands in Firefox Nightlies

Mozilla recently had to renegue on their stance again H.264 for web video

and included it in the mobile Firefox version. Now it has come to Firefox

for desktops as well.


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Mozilla recently had to renegue on their stance again H.264 for web video. Mozilla claimed that the rate of adoption and penetration of WebM was still lacking, and that Google hadn’t been pushing hard it enough.

Google posted on their blog back in January of 2011 that they planned to remove H.264 support from their browser and support only open formats. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened as of now. Adobe too claimed a long while back that the Flash Player would include support for WebM, but despite several releases of Flash Player since then, this feature is still missing.

Additionally, Mozilla loses out to competition because of its lack of support for H.264, since that is still the most popular format for delivering content to mobile browsers. Also WebM is often not practical on mobile devices due to lack of support for hardware accelerated decoding. As such Firefox Mobile was first to offer support for h.264 video when running on Android 4 / 4.1 in the Firefox for mobile 17 release.

Mozilla originally indicated that bringing this to mobile users was more important since desktop users can always install Flash Player instead. Now it seems Firefox for desktop users are getting this feature as well. Currently the feature is available in the Nightly release channel of Firefox, and is deactivated by default.

It is important to note that Firefox itself does not support H.264 in the browser, but merely checks if the system itself supports it and uses the system installed codecs. For Windows users it means that h.264 video playback will probably work, but for Linux users the situation could be more complicated.

To check out h.264 playback on Firefox, download the Nightly build from here and check out the instructions posted here to enable it. Note that currently the only backend supported is Windows Media Foundation, which means that it will not work Linux or Mac OSX even if the requisite codecs are installed.

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Kshitij Sobti
Inserted into Kshitij's motivation banks is a particularly strong desire for justice. It's sad then, that he wastes his skills gaming, watching TV, and for the mundane task of writing prose. He tweets