May 06, 2013

Mozilla and Otoy Unveil ORBX.js, High-Speed Codec for Any Browser

The free software community Mozilla (NewsAlert) and a Los Angeles–based graphics software company called Otoy are jointly releasing ORBX.js, a new JavaScript library that can deliver full 1080p, 60fps digital video in a browser window using only Web standards–based technologies.

The companies claim that the library can work on any modern browser, even on mobile devices, so long as they offer “fast JavaScript” and support WebGL – criteria which, unfortunately aren’t featured on most built-in smartphone browsers. But in that case, mobile browsers like Google (News Alert) Chrome, Firefox and Opera can be downloaded.

In a statement, Mozilla’s director of engineering, Vlad Vukicevic, described ORBX.js as a “remarkable achievement,” noting how impressive it is to see “a high performance video codec rivaling H.264 that runs entirely in the browser. We experimented with H.264 decoding in JavaScript with broadway.js previously and came to the conclusion that it was challenging to implement efficiently.”

Otoy’s founder and CEO, Jules Urbach, explained that the companies have “found a way to provide a full native PC experience entirely through HTML5 and JavaScript, without having to touch H.264, Flash, Java, or Google Native Client.” He added that it is “a huge win for the open Web and we expect HTML5 to replace legacy operating systems on desktops, TVs, consoles and mobile devices."

The high codec belonging to ORBX.js can facilitate application virtualization, allowing Windows, Linux, or OS X applications to be virtualized in the cloud and have their UIs streamed to any HTML5-compatible browser, where they are decoded by the ORBX.js library. This means that users could potentially access complex desktop applications like Adobe (NewsAlert) Photoshop and 3D games using a device as low-powered as a Chromebook or a Windows RT tablet – requiring no additional client software.

Mozilla and Otoy demoed ORBX.js at a press roundtable in San Francisco.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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