Microsoft announced its Edge browser will soon be supporting the open source video codecs – WebM and VP9 both of which in turn are open sourced and supported by Google. That is not all for the Opus audio codecs too will be supported, all of which as part of the upcoming Windows 10 Anniversary Update due this summer.
This will endow the Edge browser with more HTML5 video capabilities though the other benefits include better decoding support for 4K videos along with lower power consumption on devices.
As for Opus, the codec allows for rich media playback capabilities and is also known to be less demanding on bandwidth as well. Microsoft justified the adoption of these formats to allow for developing interoperable websites.
“Starting with EdgeHTML 14.14291, the open-source WebM container format and the VP9 video and Opus audio codecs are supported in Microsoft Edge. These are available to websites that use Media Source Extensions (MSE) to adaptively stream video content. Windows Web Apps (built on the same Edge APIs) will also be able to use WebM streams containing VP9 and Opus. This change will be available in stable releases starting with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update,” revealed the official Windows blog.
The Microsoft Edge browser comes bundled with Windows 10 as the default browser which replaces the legacy IE of yore.
Other mainstream browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, and Opera are already compatible with WebM and VP9. Safari though is among the major browsers, which does not support the open source codecs.
Microsoft also stated the Windows Web Apps that are shown in the Windows Store will also be upgraded to support the above codecs. This would be necessary since Microsoft uses the Edge web engine to display the Windows Web apps.
From an end user perspective, there is not likely to be much of a change though things are likely to be positive for the online video industry as a whole. This since WebM is an open source project and hence does not entail paying to the patent holder as is the case right now with some of the codecs.