Microsoft Delivers HTML5 Video Plug-in for Firefox

Microsoft's new plug-in for Firefox supports HTML5 video on Windows 7.

Microsoft has released a new add-in for Firefox that supports HTML5 video on Windows.

As part of the interoperability bridges work Microsoft's Internet Explorer team does, the company created a new Firefox add-on that enables Firefox users on Windows to play H.264-encoded video on HTML5 by using the built-in capabilities found in Windows 7.

In a Dec. 15 blog post, Microsoft's Interoperability team said Microsoft has already been offering for several years now the Windows Media Player plug-in for Firefox


which is downloaded by millions of people a month who want to watch Windows Media content. This new plug-in, known as the HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in, is available for download at no cost.

Claudio Caldato, program manager for the Microsoft Interoperability Team, said the new plug-in extends the functionality of the earlier plug-in for Firefox, and enables web pages that that offer video in the H.264 format using standard World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) HTML5 to work in Firefox on Windows. Because H.264 video on the web is so prevalent, this interoperability bridge is important for Firefox users who are Windows customers, he said.

"The HTML5 Extension for Windows Media Player Firefox Plug-in continues to offer our customers value and choice, since those who have Windows 7 and are using Firefox will now be able to watch H.264 content through the plug-in," Caldato said. "Microsoft is already deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C as we believe that HTML5 will be important in advancing rich, interactive web applications and site design."

Caldato explains that H.264 is a widely-used industry standard, with broad and strong hardware support. "This standardization allows users to easily take what they've recorded on a typical consumer video camera, put it on the web, and have it play in a web browser on any operating system or device with H.264 support, such as on a PC with Windows 7," he said. H.264 is also a very well established and widely supported video compression format, developed for use in high definition systems such as HDTV, Blu-ray and HD DVD as well as low resolution portable devices. It also offers better quality at lower file sizes than both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 ASP (DivX or XviD).