Re: [rtcweb] H.261

Steve Kann <> Fri, 22 November 2013 06:12 UTC

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Date: Thu, 21 Nov 2013 22:11:48 -0800
From: Steve Kann <>
To: "Mo Zanaty (mzanaty)" <>, Basil Mohamed Gohar <>
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Thread-Topic: [rtcweb] H.261
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Subject: Re: [rtcweb] H.261
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I think we all agree that choosing H.264 or VP8 would be better, but it is
clear that neither option today has consensus.    Circumstances could change
in the future, but it seems that OpenH264 was not enough to change that

I think that where your scenario might go astray is that users won¹t
associate their poor experience with ³WebRTC², or ³that web stuff² ‹ they
will associate it with the brand of the service which they are using at the

So, for example, if Facebook builds video chat using WebRTC, and they do no
transcoding, 30% of users might associate their poor video with Facebook,
but most of them won¹t call it ³that web shit² ‹ they would say Facebook
video sucks.

Of course, Facebook could decide to transcode 30% of the time, in which case
the user would have a different experience.

Facebook obviously just being used as an example service which might
implement WebRTC video.


From:  "Mo Zanaty (mzanaty)" <>
Date:  Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 9:17 PM
To:  Basil Mohamed Gohar <>
Cc:  "" <>
Subject:  [rtcweb] H.261

> On 11/21/13 12:48, Basil Mohamed Gohar <> wrote:
>> Has anyone actually objected to H.261 being the one MTI codec [...] ?
> Assume this wins and all obey. Chrome does H.261+VP8, Firefox does
> H.261+H.264+VP8, IE does H.261+H.264, Safari does H.261+H.264. According to
> various (incredibly extrapolated, possibly inaccurate and sometimes
> conflicting) sources [1] on who uses what browser, the chance of H.261
> fallback is a whopping 30% [2]. Not the minor insignificant case some had
> assumed.
> How will these users react to H.261 QCIF/CIF compared to what they use today,
> say Skype for example? "This web shit really sucks. I¹m going back to Skype
> and never trying it again." Is that the first (and perhaps last) impression we
> want from users that try webrtc? Those arguing crappy video is better than no
> video are ignoring the critical importance of first impressions. While some
> may accept crappy video as usable, many more may be permanently turned off and
> tune out even faster than if they got only (good) audio. It¹s not as if webrtc
> is the only game in town. Users have options, so it needs to be competitive
> with competitive technology which has already set the bar.
> We previously narrowed the options down to H.264 and VP8 for good reasons over
> the course of this excruciatingly long decision. Reopening discarded tangents
> like H.261 does not move us forward as a workgroup, and certainly does not
> move webrtc forward as a technology.
> Mo
> [1]
> [2] H.261 fallback % = 2 x VP8-only% x H.264-only% = 2 x Chrome% x (IE% +
> Safari%)
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