H.264 goes royalty-free, web to go H.264?

The MPEG LA licensing group has announced that their H.264 video codec standard would be going royalty free in perpetuity for free-to-end-user use. Why does this matter to us? Well, if you're using an iPhone or iPad, you're using the H.264 video codec. If you buy video off iTunes, you're using H.264. If you're using Safari on iOS or Mac OS for that matter, you're using H.264 because it's the only HTML 5 video standard Apple supports. Google and Microsoft support it as well, along with others. Firefox has chosen not to support it for philosophical reasons, however, which has potentially stopped H.264 from becoming the one true HTML 5 standard to unify them all.

Will this change by MPEG LA be enough to get Firefox and everyone else on board? Will it lead to an H.264, HTML 5 video web? Will it relegate Flash to non-video content that requires that level of runtime support (and resources)?

Who knows, but it's another tiny little step in that direction, and good news for anyone rendering free content for iPhone and iPad support.


Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.