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By Thomas Baekdal - June 2010

The End of FLV. Hello h.264

Earlier today On2, the company behind the video codec used in the FLV video format (used by Flash), told us that they will discontinue their Flix video product line.

As you might remember, Google bought the company back in 2009, and have since announced the creating of the open HTML5 video format WebM based on their video codecs.

While FLV isn't officially dead yet, it is in all practical terms of the word. Anyone still relying on FLV (an the VP6 codec) needs to switch now to h.264.

The advantages of h.264 are many. It works with pretty much everything - including flash. Even Adobe recommends that you use h.264 in Flash over the now outdated FLV format.

What about WebM you ask? Well, I don't see much of a future for it. H.264 is already widely adopted as the defacto standard for video both on the web, offline and in Flash.

It is supported natively in every browser except Firefox and is the format of choice by all the big content providers. With the only exception of YouTube, that will support both h.264 and WebM.

This puts Mozilla in the rather curious position of ending up like IE. As the browser who doesn't want to play with others. I think it is only a matter of time before they will have to give in.

Of course, Mozilla sees it quite differently, claiming that they cannot support it because it's a closed format that they have to license.

But, the winners of this battle will be the content producers and people viewing it - and the far majority does not care about licensing deals vs. an open source philosophy.

Also, h.264 works just fine in Firefox via the Flash player, which means that h.264 is already working in every browser, on every platform - even on the iPad.


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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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