The Browser Wars Continue.

Ci is an amazing tool that allows users to share content and collaborate wherever they are in the world. In developing Ci, there were many obstacles to find the balance between speed, flexibility, and performance. Every time a video file is uploaded, it is transcoded into several other proxy formats and optimized for use in the app suite including VideoReview and RoughCut. The timecode is burned in and the framerate and resolution are all considered.

There was much debate about which video formats to support and which types of proxies would be created. This is a constant conversation and the algorithms continue to be improved. When it came to the proxy playback feature set, we had to pick a video format that would be most resilient and well-supported. The extra server load required to generate additional formats exclusively for support in different browsers just didn’t make sense.

At the current juncture, H.264 remains our preference for proxy playback files. Although there were concerns in the early development of MPEG LA’s H.264 format surrounding its closed source code and licensing costs, many barriers have been lifted since Cisco decided to release the source code of their H.264 implementation. This basically extends Cisco’s H.264 license out to the general public, which essentially makes it free and open source for the web realm.

Due to these ongoing concerns, most popular browsers have ended up preferring certain codecs over others. Chrome prefers VP8, Firefox prefers Ogg Vorbis, and Safari prefers H.264. Being that Chrome and Safari are both built on WebKit, they both support native H.264 and a myriad of other bleeding-edge and experimental technologies not available in other browsers. Additionally, Firefox supports H.264 on platforms that have support built in, which include certain versions of Android, Linux, and Windows, so it seems that H.264 will eventually be universally supported. For this reason, Ci has been built and optimized for WebKit browsers. For the best experience with Ci, Chrome is recommended. Safari is also supported.

Further Reading

Mozilla’s Supported Audio and Video Formats
Cisco Releases Open Source H.264 Code
Apple’s H.264 Technology Brief
MPEG LA’s License Holders

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