Will ORBX Codec Turn the Web into Platform for All Apps?

Mozilla and rendering firm OTOY have developed a new codec that is designed to stream cloud-stored apps, video content and more directly to browsers. The JavaScript-based system opens up possibilities of running native PC apps on any connected device, purchasing and protecting content without DRM, and embracing HTML5 rather than relying on proprietary or legacy plug-ins. The creators also see it as a means of combating piracy.

“The JavaScript library ORBX can render apps, gaming platforms or an entire operating system in any HTML5-capable browser, including Chrome, Safari or Firefox, even on a mobile device,” reports GigaOM. “The announcement is another attempt at destabilizing the hegemony of the H.264 video-compression standard, famously advanced by Apple over Flash and present in all iOS devices, after the promotion of WebM by Matroska and Google.”

“With the presence of William Morris Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel at the launch,” notes the article, “the creators of the ORBX.js technology were also seeking to emphasize its piracy-fighting powers for the movie and TV industries: with video streams or apps watermarked in the cloud, DRM in the browser becomes unnecessary.”

ORBX will work with HTML5 browsers including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, IE10 and Opera. However, WebGL technology is required to leverage the full decoding speed. Additionally, streaming on this scale requires bandwidth and money.

“Video seemed to stream well on an iPhone over 4G, and with the adaptive streaming and superior compression of ORBX, [OTOY founder and CEO Jules] Urbach projects a 25 percent bandwidth savings for, say, Netflix streaming,” explains GigaOM. “For that to happen, Netflix, Amazon and other providers have to adopt ORBX, something that the Mozilla-OTOY partnership is actively working on. They are hoping that their solution will be the one to put the format wars to rest, and allow consumers to collect the highest-definition content possible in a way that is format-agnostic.”