why no h.264 built-in?

  • hello there,

    i use vivaldi on my debian 8 boxes. after searching, trying and ofc. failing a lot, the found a simple solution to run h.264 videos - use the ubuntu ( X_x ) package chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra.

    but what i still don't get: why aren't the codes built-in and delivered with a vivaldi installation? afaik chromium has those codecs built-in, so it works out of the box.

    issues with the license?


  • Moderator

    Why? Codec licenses for MPEG and h264, h265 costs much for each installation and year.
    And no, Chrmoim does not have the installed, youi mean Chrome.

    But here is need to implement, because most OS cant install such extra codecs. Many Linuxes can have libs for h264 etc.
    For Debian you can install a Ubuntu chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra from e different repo.

    On Debian i use my script to fetch and extract the correct libffmpeg.so for Vivaldis.: https://labs.gwendragon.de/blog/Web/Browser/Vivaldi/vivaldi-debian-install-libffmpeg-1-0-6-beta-en and https://labs.gwendragon.de/blog/tags/ffmpeg

  • thanks so far, then what about cisco's openh264? wasn't it published because of those issues?

  • Moderator

    Be sure the Vivaldi developers and CEO have investigated what they could use.

    The Cisco codec is for OpenSource products because if BSD license. Vivaldi Technologies cant use it.

  • so V has to move to bsd-l,i see 😉


    thought V is full os, guess i'll have to check more background info then

  • Moderator

    And the cisco codec would not solve all problems. AAC is not supported as i know.

    Too much work for Vivaldi Devs to implement all useful codecs in Vivaldi.
    Vivaldi uses proprietary codes installed in Windows, Mac and Linux.

  • Vivaldi Team

    We could in theory use openh264 if we like (BSD license causes us no issues) but it does not fix the main problem, since as as Gwen-Dragon points out, it does not give us AAC support and almost all H.264/MP4 videos found on the internet are using AAC for sound. The cost of the AAC license is actually higher than the cost for H.264.

  • Vivaldi Team

    To be a bit clearer, the most common HTML5 audio and video codecs (H.264, MP3 and AAC) are what I would call "proprietary" because they are patented and hence require various licenses to distribute software that can decode them. Each user costs the person distributing the software money. To an extent, these costs reduce as you gain more users (e.g. the licensor for H.264 gives discounts over certain numbers of users and you eventually hit a cap where these is no additional cost) but at our current size it is not viable for us to pay for a license for all our users and still fund the development of the browser.

    One day we hope to be big enough to pick up the cost of this but consider that at this stage Opera is still a far bigger company than we are and yet they also have to use third party libs to play "proprietary" media, rather than licensing them. The same is also true for Mozilla who are even bigger than Opera. They do use openh264 for video but AAC is decoded via libs provided via the operating system.

    Ubuntu does provide codecs capable of decoding "proprietary" media via packages such as chromium-codecs-ffmpeg-extra. I am not sure how they are able to do this but I would assume that they either paid for the licenses (whilst they have a free OS, their profits might be higher due to their wider range of products and services) or perhaps they have some reason why they believe that they do need to pay for licenses. That is for them and their lawyers to decide.


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