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When will Firefox support .h264 / vp9 HTML5 video playback on Windows XP?

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  • 9 zinale nkinga
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  • Igcine ukuphendulwa ngu PPNSteve

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Youtube (and a few other sites) are forcing me to enable the now blocked Flash Player to view video.

Currently unable to use previously installed h264 (i.e. Core AVC pro) codec in Firefox. .h264 and vp9 playback is not enabled in Firefox on WinXP but works fine on other browsers including Google's Chrome.

Screenshot: http://snag.gy/iaQMd.jpg

Would like a way to point Firefox to the proper codec so that HTML5 h264 video can be played.

Thanks..

All Replies (17)

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There is a H.264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc supplied by Mozilla - don't know if it is available for WinXP though, I have it on Win7 32-bit and it just showed up upon installation of Firefox on my new PC back in May.

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the-edmeister said

There is a H.264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc supplied by Mozilla - don't know if it is available for WinXP though, I have it on Win7 32-bit and it just showed up upon installation of Firefox on my new PC back in May.

I have that too, it works with a chat thing that Cisco has, not with HTML5 video such as on YouTube.

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There is a H.264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc supplied by Mozilla

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PPNSteve said

I have that too, it works with a chat thing that Cisco has, not with HTML5 video such as on YouTube.

HTML5 video and audio are built into Firefox - doesn't need anything else.

Did you click on "Request the HTML5 player"?

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Thanks for the replies the-edmeister..

the-edmeister said

PPNSteve said
I have that too, it works with a chat thing that Cisco has, not with HTML5 video such as on YouTube.

HTML5 video and audio are built into Firefox - doesn't need anything else.

Did you click on "Request the HTML5 player"?

Again, the screenshot http://snag.gy/iaQMd.jpg shows the browser test page at YouTube,, https://www.youtube.com/html5 Chrome works fine, Firefox does not.

you can plainly see h264 ( as well as MSE and vp9) is not supported by this browser (Firefox 39.0).

No I didn't.. If I do, I can't watch most video on YouTube

Okulungisiwe ngu PPNSteve

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https://www.youtube.com/html5 I clicked on that "Request the HTML5 player" and this is how it looks on Firefox 39.0 for me.

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the-edmeister said

https://www.youtube.com/html5 I clicked on that "Request the HTML5 player" and this is how it looks on Firefox 39.0 for me.

I tried that as well.. http://snag.gy/yyeiy.jpg

no h264 playback on most videos.. http://snag.gy/RxYnS.jpg in fact it doesn't even load the player at all.

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Alright, "we" have the HTML5 issue solved by telling YouTube to use it when HTML5 is available.

You say that you have the H.264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc installed - why doesn't it show up in your System Details that are with your initial posting here? see - More System Details which can be seen by clicking on the link in the right column at the top of this thread - has a listing of the plugins that Firefox recognizes Check the Addons Manager > Plugins in Firefox = { Ctrl + Shft + A } Is that Cisco plugin there? What version number? - 1.4 ? Is the Cisco plugin enabled = Always Activate? Or is it set to Never Activate? check the Addons Manager > Plugins

I did check my old WinXP box that has been 'parked' for a few months since I started using a new Win7 PC that I built in May; there Firefox does have that plugin installed. So I misspoke when I commented that it might not be available for WinXP.


As far as the 2 with MSE & - the MSE & h264 one needs the upper h264 to be there and the MSE & VP9 - I have no idea as I have never run across needing it. I believe VP9 involves adding support for very high resolution devices like with the new 4K. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution An old "End Of Life" OS like WinXP won't ever have support that new standard even when / if Firefox supports it in the future.


"no h264 playback on most videos.. http://snag.gy/RxYnS.jpg in fact it doesn't even load the player at all." As far as - http://snag.gy/RxYnS.jpg goes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSevzRwDaps - works for me using the HTML5 player even if I disable the Cisco h.264 plugin - player appears & both audio and video play. In the future if you provide a screenshot as an example of a video that doesn't work, please provide the URL for that video so I don't have to search for it - my "search FU" isn't the best. And can't copy & paste from an image.

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the-edmeister said

Alright, "we" have the HTML5 issue solved by telling YouTube to use it when HTML5 is available. You say that you have the H.264 Video Codec provided by Cisco Systems, Inc installed - why doesn't it show up in your System Details that are with your initial posting here? see - More System Details which can be seen by clicking on the link in the right column at the top of this thread - has a listing of the plugins that Firefox recognizes Check the Addons Manager > Plugins in Firefox = { Ctrl + Shft + A } Is that Cisco plugin there? What version number? - 1.4 ? Is the Cisco plugin enabled = Always Activate? Or is it set to Never Activate? check the Addons Manager > Plugins I did check my old WinXP box that has been 'parked' for a few months since I started using a new Win7 PC that I built in May; there Firefox does have that plugin installed. So I misspoke when I commented that it might not be available for WinXP.

As far as the 2 with MSE & - the MSE & h264 one needs the upper h264 to be there and the MSE & VP9 - I have no idea as I have never run across needing it. I believe VP9 involves adding support for very high resolution devices like with the new 4K. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4K_resolution An old "End Of Life" OS like WinXP won't ever have support that new standard even when / if Firefox supports it in the future.


"no h264 playback on most videos.. http://snag.gy/RxYnS.jpg in fact it doesn't even load the player at all." As far as - http://snag.gy/RxYnS.jpg goes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSevzRwDaps - works for me using the HTML5 player even if I disable the Cisco h.264 plugin - player appears & both audio and video play. In the future if you provide a screenshot as an example of a video that doesn't work, please provide the URL for that video so I don't have to search for it - my "search FU" isn't the best. And can't copy & paste from an image.


Not sure why It didn't show up in my info.. perhaps a Firefox thing, lol. sorry. bad joke.

I do have the Cisco h.264 plugin.. http://snag.gy/xb9Uy.jpg Yes it is ver 1.4 and enabled = Always Activate.

Yeah kinda figured that for those last 2, not really worried so much about them if I can get HTML5 h.264 vids to work.

whoops sorry, I meant to also include the video URL om my reply. My bad.

Here is a video I was able to load using HTML5 player, however it is not h.264. its vorbis / vp8: http://snag.gy/jaOE0.jpg ( YouTube URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QS0q3mGPGg ). Again it goes back to Firefox don't use the Cisco supplied codec nor any available system ones (if installed) so if the HTML5 vid doesn't have webm or vorbis / vp8, it doesn't work. (many sites only bother with h.264 / aac encoding)

As noted, I also have system installed h.264 codecs (core avc, adobe's h.264, open h.264, and x264) why can't FireFox allow a setting to point to the proper codec, if available?

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Sorry, this gotten beyond my knowledge level - especially knowledge of the various h.264 codecs available out there - thus I can't answer the why.

Maybe someone else has the answers for you.

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The Cisco H264 codec is useless for watching video. It's specific to video chat. Windows XP does not include any H264 decoder, so by itself Firefox has no way to play back H264 video. Random other H264 codecs (specifically DirectShow ones) aren't necessarily usable for Firefox' purposes (they entail huge security risks). I don't know if there's a solution here due to the severe patent restrictions on H264.

VP9 support is built into Firefox, but in current release version it is blocked from being used by MSE (an HTML5 extension used by some video streaming sites like YouTube). You can enable it via editing about:config:

media.mediasource.whitelist=false media.mediasource.webm.enabled=true

Okulungisiwe ngu gcpascutto

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gcpascutto,

Thanks for looking in on this thread. Good explanation for that Cisco h.264 plugin being on Firefox, one that hadn't crossed my mind - now I realize that I didn't see that in Firefox until about the time that Hello was released. I don't fully understand what WebRTC entails yet, but that knowledge will come in time.

So, VP8 is enabled, but those two prefs need to be "toggled" to have VP9 working. I guess VP9 will be enabled by default in a subsequent release then?

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the-edmeister said

So, VP8 is enabled, but those two prefs need to be "toggled" to have VP9 working. I guess VP9 will be enabled by default in a subsequent release then?

VP9 has been enabled in Firefox since version 28. The problem is with MSE and WebM support. See the following tracking bugs:

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=778617#c73 https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1183977 https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1187247

As far as I know Firefox 42 should have everything enabled by default.

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Got ya, thanks again.

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Thanks for your reply gcpascutto, It was a bit informative.

I did some reading on the Cisco provided binary and it can be and is designed to be used for video as well as the webRT chat thing.. now why Firefox doesn't take advantage of this I do not know and, quite frankly, question.

So doesn't Firefox running on Vista, Win7, Win * etc., rely on the system provided h.264 decoder? What is the difference if I install one via a third party such as Core AVC or similar?

I am glad to hear that the MSE whitelist will likely be removed in Firefox 42, making MSE available to all websites.

Okulungisiwe ngu PPNSteve

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>So doesn't Firefox running on Vista, Win7, Win * etc., rely on the system provided h.264 decoder?

It does, *if* the system has one to begin with. Windows XP is simply too old for that. All other (newer) Windows versions are fine.

If there is no system decoder, we can fall back to the Cisco decoder for the specific subset of H264 used by WebRTC, but this does not help for video sites like YouTube because they use more features.

>What is the difference if I install one via a third party such as Core AVC or similar?

Those only expose a DirectShow filter with a more limited API than the system decoder (Media Foundation). Usable by video playing programs, not good enough for a browser. And they are a huge security hole.

There's a lot of discussion (unfortunately most somewhat outdated now) here: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=435339

Note that for example the Cisco codec is very heavily sandboxed to protect against security holes. Running random H264 decoders in the browser is a far worse security hole than Flash (which prompted this question in the first place).

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I can understand the security issues, and agree.

why not expand the profiles available on the Cisco binary.. it is open sourced and on github.. ? Cisco did say they wanted it used for video as well.

But also, just because XP is old, doesn't mean its not still in use ( It is used by millions still - and likely will be until equipment is replaced.). I'd love to be able to see my h.264 encoded web-videos (made on my win XP workstation - i.e. this computer) in my default browser but can't.. I have to load up Chrome to watch/preview them as embedded HTML5 video.

It's all just very frustrating and a PITA