Google Ditches H.264 Support In Google Chrome

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 12, 2011
Updated • Mar 1, 2015
Music and Video

The HTML5 web video wars are heating up again, this time with news that Google announced to remove support for the h.264 codec from the Chrome browser in the next couple months.

Google product manager Mike Jazayeri admits that " H.264 plays an important role in video" but that Google has decided to direct their resources exclusively "towards completely open codec technologies".

What does it mean for Chrome users? Chrome will eventually only support HTML5 web videos that are making use of Google's own WebM (VP8) codec or Theora video codecs, and refuse to play H.264 videos if the website in question streams video in that format only.

While that's not the case for YouTube and maybe a few other sites, the majority of Internet sites will not encode their videos multiple times to make sure they can be watched in all browsers.

Lets take a look at browsers and their HTML5 video support:

  • Google Chrome: WebM8, Theora
  • Firefox: WebM8, Theora
  • Opera: WebM8, Theora
  • Internet Explorer 9: H.264
  • Safari: H.264

Google Chrome until now was the only browser that supported all video codecs. Internet users now have the problem that their favorite browser may not be able to play videos that they want to watch on the Internet which means that they need to keep a second browser installed, or download the videos to the computer to watch them locally.

H.264 is the Blu-Ray codec and Apple makes use of it as well in their products. If you look at entertainment devices you notice that the majority plays H.264 but not WebM or Theora.

The majority of commenters at the official blog announcement over at the Chromium blog appear to disagree with Google on the move. Some think Google tries to push their own codec at the expense of the Chrome user experience, others state that the WebM8 codec is inferior to h.264 in quality.

What's your take on this? And how will you handle HTML5 web video?


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  1. Anonymous said on August 1, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Why not make use of the mplayer.conf?

  2. Mike J said on August 1, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Huh, I have never even seen this “font cache” pane; videos play at once for me, using VLC & XP SP3.

    1. Martin said on August 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

      Mike, in theory this should have only been displayed once to you, at the very first video that you played with VLC. The time this window is displayed depends largely on the number of fonts in your font directory.

      1. Mike J said on August 2, 2010 at 2:30 pm

        huh, I lucked out for a change?? Amazing!!
        Apparently VLC keeps this info through version updates, but I didn’t see this message after a fresh OS install about 8 weeks ago, & a new VLC.

  3. myo said on August 1, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    yes, yes, i have the same problem. sometimes, VLC crashes when it is playing .mov file.

  4. Kishore said on August 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Buidling font Cache pop-up


    Open VLC player.

    On Menu Bar:


    (at bottom – left side)
    Show settings — ALL

    Open: Video
    Click: Subtitles/OSD (This is now highlited, not opened)
    Text rendering module – change this to “Dummy font renderer function”


    Re-open – done.
    Progam will no longer look outside self for fonts

    Source –

    1. Martin said on August 13, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      Great tip, thanks a lot Kishore.

  5. javier said on August 14, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    @Kishore, I’ll try your tips, but does this mean it will no longer show subtitles either?
    I do use subtitles, but the fontcache dialog box pops up (almost) everytime I play a file.

    Could this be related to the fonts I have installed? Or if I add/remove fonts to my system?

    I’ll try to do a fresh install also, if your tips does no work. I’ll post back here later…


  6. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,

  7. Kishore said on August 15, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    @ Javier, The trick i posted will show up subtitles too. If not,Dont worry, VLC is currently sorting out this issue and the next version will be out soon.

    No probs @ Martin !! Its my pleasure

  8. Ted said on October 22, 2010 at 3:57 am

    Try running LC with administrator privileges. That seemed to fix it for me

  9. Evan said on December 8, 2013 at 1:48 am

    I am using SMplayer 0.8.6 (64-bit) (Portable Edition) on Windows 7 x64. Even with the -nofontconfig parameter in place SMplayer still scans the fonts. Also, I have enabled normal subtitles and it is still scanning fonts before playing a video. Also, it does this every time the player opens a video after a system restart (only the fist video played).

  10. Mike Williams said on September 6, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Does that mean that only instrumental versions of songs will be available for non-paying users?

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