One codec to rule them all

A year behind Adobe, Microsoft are rolling over and have announced they’ll support H.264 video in Silverlight.

That’s now a clean sweep for the format – if Microsoft handle file formats in a sane way (and that’s a big ‘if’), we should be able to encode once and embed as Flash, Silverlight or Quicktime, stream through these or (gaak) Realplayer, and download via iTunes to iPods, Playstation Portable, and other portable devices. Another compression pass at higher bitrate gets you Blu-Ray.

Game over. Finally, we have one video codec for everything. Astonishingly, it’s a good one, too.

Now that the delivery part of the process is sorted, and AVCHD is happening for acquisition, attention is rather drawn to the edit suite. Come on, Apple, let’s have Final Cut Studio 3 with a workflow like that for HDV: edit raw but render, when necessary, to ProRes.

[Edit: There’s a catch, of course. At the moment, standard H.264 formats aren’t supported in Windows Media Player. So Windows users viewing a film in Silverlight in their browsers would need Quicktime or VLC or whatever to view the same file downloaded. I’m going to assume Microsoft will plug this ridiculous hole at some point in the near future.]

1 Comment

  1. H.264 on Windows

    As I noted a month or so ago, Microsoft are including H.264 video support in their Flash-competitor Silverlight 2, which…

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