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MP4 embeding...when will it ever work on FireFox?

  • 11 replies
  • 10 have this problem
  • 17010 views
  • Last reply by cor-el

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As someone who deals with video media on the web quite often, this handicap inherent in Firefox is a fairly big and ridiculously obvious problem. When, if ever, will it be resolved? If Firefox wasn't such a popularly used browser, this issue wouldn't be as much of a concern, but people are using Firefox quite a bit on-line. It seems very strange to me that this otherwise excellent browser from Mozilla can't play back a simple MP4 file in HTML 5.

"Firefox doesn't support MP4 and 3GP due to their patent-encumbered nature."

Is there a way of resolving that at any point? If not, is there a reliable format that I should switch to instead of MP4, like Flash? I'm aware that there are plugins available to make Firefox "see" MP4 files, but asking customers to download and install a plugin is not really a professional solution. Please advise! Thank you.

Modified by Marc Esadrian

All Replies (11)

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Have you considered WebM? http://www.webmproject.org/

Edit: This page compares some features of and support for various kinds of encoding: Media formats supported by the HTML audio and video elements - MDN

Modified by jscher2000

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Hi Jshcer,

Thanks for writing back! I am currently using WebM in addition to using MP4. The problem with this is that I'm duplicating the movie in order to make certain it plays on all browsers, as MP4 OR WebM doesn't work in all browsers:

"WebM is natively supported in Gecko (Firefox), Chrome and Opera, and support for the format can be added to Internet Explorer and Safari by installing an add-on."

So again, I'm in the same boat with the WebM movie format as I am with MP4. Plugins will need to be installed on browsers that don't support WebM natively, or I have to double up on my files, thus bloating server space. Neither option is really optimal.

Modified by Marc Esadrian

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You're correct that there is no one optimal, universal format. Flash used to be that format, but with Apple's stance in iOS, that is no longer true. I'm not sure there is an alternative to maintaining two different formats. In fact, I suspect the video hosting services transcode into even more formats, but make that transparent to you.

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You're right, I'm afraid. Since the future (and the present) is so media driven, a patent-free and universally understood media format is the next thing to bring to the masses, I'd imagine. WebM shows promise, but it seems the heavy players (Microsoft & Apple) aren't feeling it. Profit motive and patent squatting...isn't it a wonderful thing?

I wish all the big companies would somehow come together and learn how to play nice in this regard. I don't see why either of the major computer giants can't put this basic support in their browsers.

So I think it will have to be two versions of each movie, then, at least until Apple and Adobe figure out the Flash issue.

I would still like to know what's involved in Mozilla finding a way to work with the MP4 patent and if it's possible to incorporate its usage into future versions.

Modified by Marc Esadrian

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See also:

  • bug 541286 - MPEG2 and MPEG4/H264 support for HTML5 <video>

(please do not comment in bug reports)

Modified by cor-el

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Thanks for the link, Cor-el. My opinions remain unchanged however. Flash, MP4, WebM, H.264, and WMV should be standard formats accepted by all browsers, as some designers/content providers may have a preference, either way.

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OK i went through hell just to log in but.I need the Youtube portion of this updated.For many of us the old 480p is out of date.The requirement for higher frames per second is more critical than ever before to draw in costumers.An subscribers for videos.The MP4 format is becoming more available to users an need supported software for this.Contacting Youtube on this does not work.We require not just there support but yours for these requirements.Please address this issue immediately.The longer we wait the more interest goes to outer services for marketing and sales.

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Firefox 14 and newer can do H.246. You need to build it with --enable-gstreamer, and then install a gstreamer codec that for H.264. https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=422540

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@ssam

Does that mean it will be able to handle MP4 generated on a Mac, too? Or is that a separate issue? I can't speak for others, but I know that, ideally, MP4 is what I'm after.

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if the mp4 contains an h264 video stream it should work. gstreamer can play quite a range of format/codec combinations (if the right plugins are installed), though I am not sure if firefox will pass any video file through to it, or just ogg/theora, webm and h264.

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Firefox will only play supported MIME types via a video tag and audio tag.
If that is not the case then try to right-click the player and use View Video or Copy Video Location to see if you can make Firefox play the video via a plugin.