Built-in video arrives in Opera beta

A fourth browser now plays video with no plug-ins. But codec wars continue: It uses Ogg Theora, like Firefox and Chrome but not Safari.

With the release of the Opera 10.5 beta, a fourth browser is available that can play video built directly into Web pages with no plug-ins required.

The HTML5 Web pages standard under development lets programmers build video into Web pages so browsers don't need a plug-in such as Adobe Systems' Flash to play it--the way they've been accustomed to doing with JPEG images for years. However, Opera's arrival isn't likely to bridge a video technology divide that's a serious hurdle for adoption of HTML5 video.

Opera 10.5, like Mozilla's Firefox, can play video encoded only with Ogg Theora technology. Apple's Safari, on the other hand, supports only H.264 encoding. Google's Chrome supports both, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer supports neither.

With such differing implementations, the HTML5 video standard is far from a complete standard in practice, and Web developers thinking of employing it must deal with browser incompatibilities.

Programmer Andreas Bovens announced Opera's HTML5 video support in a blog post. To try it out, watch Opera's Web evangelist, Bruce Lawson, showing his Turkish dancing skills.

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