WebM support confirmed in Firefox 4

June 10, 2010 // 10:51 a.m.

Tags: #browser #codec #firefox #firefox-4 #firefox-4-nightly-builds #google #h264 #mozilla-firefox #mozilla-foundation #vp8 #webm

While hardware support for Google's WebM video codec might still be nothing more than a glimmer on the horizon, software support is on the rise with the Mozilla Foundation being the latest to jump on the bandwagon.

The latest code for Firefox 4 - the next-generation edition of the Mozilla Foundation's popular web browser - features in-built support for WebM, Google's VP8-based web-oriented video codec. While support has always been planned, the licence used for the WebM codec - while open-source in nature - was incompatible with the GPL used for Firefox.

Thankfully, this little hiccup has now been resolved, and ReadWriteWeb confirms that full support for WebM will feature in Firefox 4 as an in-built codec - meaning no plugins will be required in order to stream WebM content as part of the HTML 5 video specification.

Firefox will join Google's own Chrome in supporting the codec, while Microsoft's next-generation version of Internet Explorer is set to include support as well. However, with a public release of Firefox 4 expected as early as the end of this month, it looks like Microsoft is going to be the Johnny-come-lately to this particular party.

So far Apple, which has been vociferous in its public support for the rival patent-encumbered H.264 video codec, has not declared whether future editions of its Safari browser will include WebM support. Should the codec take off as the standard for web video - as Google is no doubt hoping it will - the company would be insane offer the only major web browser to not feature WebM support.

Do you believe that WebM could be the future of streaming video, or will the H.264 licensing body bury it under patent lawsuits before it gets a chance to be really popular? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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