HTML5 prospects brighten following MPEG LA licensing decision

The likelihood of H.264 being adopted as the video compression format for HTML5 looks more likely after a decision last week by the MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG LA) to make H.264 royalty-free in perpetuity to video services that are free at the point of use.

The MPEG LA had previously said it would keep H.264 royalty-free until 2015. However, the emergence of other open-source and royalty-free formats as potential competitors has led to uncertainty about which format will adopted as standard for HTML5 video.

While uncertainty remains over the direction of HTML5, the MPEG LA’s move removes a possible hurdle to the its adoption, which is seen as a potential competitive threat to Adobe Flash as the de facto standard for web video, and makes it more likely that Mozilla Firefox will support the standard along with other browser providers.