Bad news for Flash video. The biggest drawback to HTML5 video adoption has just been eliminated. MPEG LA, the license manager for the H.264 MPEG specification, just announced that the license to use H.264 will be royalty-free for the life of the license. Essentially, this means content providers can freely use the standard without worrying about switching a few years down the road when the license converts to a fee-based system.
Fears of such a scenario had been so strong, that Mozilla wasn’t even supporting the H.264 standard for HTML5 video, favoring an open standard instead. With this news, hopefully that will change. Managing multiple video types for each different browser is a total pain. Safari and Chrome already use H.264, and Microsoft has committed to it for IE9.
Now that a royalty-free standard has been established, hopefully more larger video sites will begin to migrate toward H.264 since it is now clear that the investment will be longstanding. Sites like YouTube and Vimeo have already embraced the standard.