MICROSOFT HAS ANNOUNCED that the Edge browser introduced with Windows 10 will soon support the popular open source WebM VP9 codec.
A Microsoft Edge Dev blog post today confirmed that compatibility is in active development. The codec is designed to offer much more efficient compression of HD content at lower bitrates, making it ideal for streaming media.
Support will, as ever, begin with Insider Programme builds of Windows 10. Initially the plan is to offer adaptive streaming with Media Source Extensions using the existing detection API. It is aimed at supporting streams that offer video along with MP4/AAC sound codecs already supported.
Media Tag and local playback support will be offered later, and support for other sound formats, such as Opus, are under consideration.
Software and hardware decoding will be considered where supported, and Microsoft pointed out that best results will naturally come from high-end devices. As such the codec will initially be flagged as 'experimental' and will need to be turned on manually in the about:flags screen.
The news comes a week after a number of market bigwigs announced the Alliance for Open Media, a new standard which will eventually bring a single standard for codecs with increasing simplicity and compatibility.
Codecs have historically been a bane of developers' lives when it comes to implementing streaming and local video in equal measure. Fake codecs are also sometimes used to carry malware, especially in conjunction with payloads carrying porn videos.
VP9, along with Thor and Daala, will be a starting point for the joint work of the Alliance. Microsoft is also exploring OGG and Vorbis support.
The team announced in May that Dolby Audio will be available in Edge from launch, along with HLS and MPEG DASH Type 1 streaming.
Initial use of Edge reached 20.1 percent in the week after launch as people tried it out, but many have drifted away and its most recent market share figure stands at 14.1 percent. Still, it's early days. µ
But it's not yet available here in Blighty
We're not sure this is what The Maybot had in mind
Typical politicians - meme, meme, me
But it keeps the juicy details firmly under wraps