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Loron Fhang

HTML5 embedded video, what's going on?

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Hi,

I am  the author of an SL media system that relies on HTML5 video using Shared Media and MOAP  to provide synchronized streams from various video sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and others. Going through many iterations, this product has taken many years to develop (on and off), and back in August I was getting close to finally coming out of beta and fully releasing.

I first noticed the problem after upgrading to Firestorm 5.1.7, but subsequently found that the official viewer broken in the same way at version 5.1.3. Just about all videos stopped working except for some YouTube videos. This affects all platforms, and there are numerous other people reporting their TV systems are broken too.

I reported the bug to Firestorm at first (https://jira.phoenixviewer.com/browse/FIRE-22862), and then to Linden (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-225207), and have been patiently watching the JIRAs waiting for some kind of progress on this, but nothing happened until a couple of days ago when a Linden CLOSED another identical related bug (https://jira.secondlife.com/browse/BUG-225196) as "Expected Behavior",   pointed to a Wiki update they had just made that says ..

""Note: At this time, it is not possible to play embedded .mp4 files in Second Life using Shared Media. "

... and directs the submitter to create a Feature Request for something that is most definitely not a new feature, it has been working for years and there are products in the marketplace that rely on it!

The irony is, in a world that is trying to get rid of Flash and replace it with HTML5, we now have a viewer that ONLY supports Flash video despite having previously supported HTML5 very well.

Is there anyone out there who can shed some light on what is going on here? I am getting frustrated questions from my customers, I am frustrated, and am just about at the point of shutting down my product and giving up with SL entirely :(

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Hi Loron, 
I'm a member of the Firestorm team and I'm afraid that I don't have a complete answer, and what I do have is bad news, but I'll try to at least clarify where we are.

It is highly unlikely that you will see any restoration of embedded MP4 media for inworld media in the near future. Like yourself, we (Firestorm team) have been awaiting full clarification before advising our users as to the status but as time draws on, and lacking all the answers, we feel obliged to make it clear that the loss of MP4 cannot be considered a bug, and any attempt to fix it would be a potential legal infringement. We hope to make a public blog post early in the coming week to make this clear.

A simple summary of what we do know is as follows:-
There are long-standing licensing issues around the MP4/H.264 format, which is controlled by MPEG-LA. You can read more details on this from a well-written blog post made by the Alchemy viewer team about a year ago (https://www.alchemyviewer.org/patented-media-formats.html). Essentially, we understand that Second Life viewers are not able to stream embedded MP4 because there is no clear license to do so and due to the nature of the Second Life platform it is not possible to guarantee that the usage of the streaming within SL is compliant with the terms of the free license laid out by MPEG-LA.

We are not lawyers, we have no legal team and thus we must follow the guidance from the Lab and we are awaiting full clarification. If a way forward emerges then we will endeavour to update our users. 

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news

Regards

Beq

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Hi Beq,

Thanks for the reply, even if it is terribly depressing :( I confess I was not expecting a legal issue here, if anything I was expecting some technical issue due to new new media framework. I was always under the impression decoding was something that was delegated to the OS anyway and not something that you generally had to worry about.

Am slightly at a loss for words. I never expected I would actually have to follow through on my threat and actually shutdown my products. Synchronized live streams are  as far as I know pretty unique in SL, and I've had some great feedback from my beta testers and it has been so much fun sharing music and videos with friends in world, actually social! While the product still works on the dwindling stock of non-MP4 content, it's now a shadow of it's former self. I guess all good things must come to an end.

Thanks again, I really hope a solution can be found to this sooner rather than later.

I am curious about one thing though. My product also uses HTML5  to do *Audio* (using  the  <audio> tag and avoiding traditional parcel audio streams), so these are OGG and MP3 streams. These are also broken at the moment, apparently in a similar way. IANAL either, but aren't MP3 patents expired, and OGG is free anyway. Is this just a bug, or is all streaming just being blocked indiscriminately?

Thanks,

Em

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It's news to me we plan a blog post about it next week or so, but... ;)

The situation is even worse for the H.265 codec. That isn't under sole control of the MPEG-LA, but there are three different patent pools involved, representing the companies holding patents of the codec. While it is technically possible to enable those codecs in the CEF browser used within the viewer to display web pages, we better keep our hands off it due to the aforementioned legal issues Beq mentioned.

Edited by Ansariel Hiller
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55 minutes ago, Loron Fhang said:

I am curious about one thing though. My product also uses HTML5  to do *Audio* (using  the  <audio> tag and avoiding traditional parcel audio streams), so these are OGG and MP3 streams. These are also broken at the moment, apparently in a similar way. IANAL either, but aren't MP3 patents expired, and OGG is free anyway. Is this just a bug, or is all streaming just being blocked indiscriminately?

This should work.
Is your product rezzed inworld where I can test it?
Or feel free to pass me a copy of your product & instructions for how to reproduce the problem.

Edit to add: I found the beta demo version https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Multistream-Demo-Edition-BETA/13996180

Edited by Whirly Fizzle
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Have done some reading. What a mess. To be honest, 90% of viewing is done on YouTube. If that could be fixed ... perhaps the AV1 codec will save the day.

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1 hour ago, Whirly Fizzle said:

This should work.
Is your product rezzed inworld where I can test it?
Or feel free to pass me a copy of your product & instructions for how to reproduce the problem.

Edit to add: I found the beta demo version https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/Multistream-Demo-Edition-BETA/13996180

Oh sorry yeh. Glad you found it. Yes the demo edition should demostrate broken MP3 streams.

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1 hour ago, Loron Fhang said:

Oh sorry yeh. Glad you found it. Yes the demo edition should demostrate broken MP3 streams.

I'm unable to find an mp3 stream that won't play through your system.
Can you give me a URL of a broken stream?

For example, here's a couple of mp3 files that play fine.

https://dszgqm4n1rmsp.cloudfront.net/assets/chem1/vo/CloudsVille_Part_1.mp3

http://www.magiclandpark.com/parkloops/ml_riverfront_music.mp3

I'm unsure if I'm using your system correctly though - I'm clicking the "Request" button & pasting in the URL into the text box, which seems to work fine so far.


 

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2 hours ago, Loron Fhang said:

To be honest, 90% of viewing is done on YouTube. If that could be fixed ...

Most YouTube videos should play in current viewers, not all unfortunately.

Known problems with YouTube are:

This seems to come down to how YouTube has encoded the video. Useful debugging tool: https://www.h3xed.com/blogmedia/youtube-info.php

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11 hours ago, Whirly Fizzle said:

Most YouTube videos should play in current viewers, not all unfortunately.

Known problems with YouTube are:

This seems to come down to how YouTube has encoded the video. Useful debugging tool: https://www.h3xed.com/blogmedia/youtube-info.php

Oh ok, thanks for trying that. I can confirm those those MP3 files do indeed play. I was actually referring to Live streams that I have had reports of problems with. You can paste in M3U, PLS or XSPF URLs from Shoutcast and Icecast etc, or use the 'Directory' feature from the main menu and browse live radio categories.

Been doing some more testing myself and it seems that audio streams do work. Static MP3 files start more or less immediately, but live streams take a very very long time  (at least a minute or two) to actually start playing. So this was just me being impatient and giving up too quickly. I'm sure before the update is way way quicker, but it might be something im doing wrong in the audio tags I am generating. Will do some more investigating and report back on that.

So really, it is just this MP4 situation then. Thanks again for your time.

 

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