Welcome, WebM <video>!

Photo: Håkon Wium Lie

Posted on May 19, 2010
by Håkon Wium Lie, CTO, Opera Software.

In February 2007, 1177 days ago to be exact, Opera proposed the <video> element and we published a manifesto for video on the Web. When proposing <video>, we knew there would be two challenges. The first was easy: to get consensus around the syntax. We wanted <video> to be as easy to use as <img>. The second was harder: to find an open and freely-usable high quality video format.

The web has always been open and freely-usable; Tim didn’t patent HTML, I didn’t patent CSS and Brendan didn’t patent JavaScript.

The big news today is that WebM will join the list of open and freely usable Web formats, and video will finally become a first-class citizen of the Web. This is a big deal, and the day will be remembered in the history of the Web. At Opera, we’re proud to add support for WebM into a Labs build — you can download this build for:

You can also find more out about the WebM format and view some examples by reading our “Opera supports the WebM video format” Dev Opera article.

Web access: a universal right

At Opera, we believe access to the Web is a universal right. We are working to add WebM support to Opera running on the desktop, mobile phones (Opera can be found on millions of handsets) and many other devices where Opera is running. Opera’s mission is to bring the Web to as many people on as many devices as possible.

It’s exciting days for the Web. HTML5 is here with <video> and <canvas>, CSS3 is adding a powerful set of tools for designers, and Web Fonts will change the (type)face of the Web. Combined, these will make the web more functional, faster and more beautiful — and it’s all based on open and freely usable standards.

To the Web community, I’d like to say this: we now have a great format for video. We all have video cameras in our pockets. Let’s use them, let’s back WebM, let’s make video available for all!

To Google, who have invested time and money on this and who are sharing the results with others, I’d like to say well done! It’s good to see you supporting an open Web, where end users will have access to many types of content from many types of browsers.

Also, a special thanks goes to Philip Jägenstedt, who has been working tirelessly to add support for WebM in Opera.

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