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Enable MP4 (H.264 + AAC) HTML5 video in Firefox on Windows XP without Flash

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On 4/7/2020 at 10:18 AM, reboot12 said:

I noticed that now 720p quality is no longer marked as HD

HD inflation!

Officially, 720 lines is "HD," 1080 lines is "FHD" ("Full" HD), 1440 lines is "QHD" ("Quad" HD), and 2160 lines is "UHD" ("Ultra" HD). The latter is often referred to as "4K" due to 3840 pixels/line. (True 4K is 4096 pixels/line, but I guess the marketers decided it's OK to "round up" a bit :rolleyes:).

But with everyone wanting (or at least thinking that they want) UHD resolution, and some even clamoring for 8K :o, I guess Google decided calling 720p "HD," with only 1/9th the number of pixels of UHD, just didn't seem right.

It's like soft drink sizes at American fast food restaurants. I'm of an age where a "small" drink was 12 oz. (355 ml), a "medium" was 16 oz., and a "large" was 20 oz. But it wasn't long before the 12 oz. became "child size," 16 became "small," 20 became "medium," and a new 32 oz. "large" size was introduced. And some have even moved on to 16 oz. being "value size," 20 oz. being "small," etc.!

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Maybe it's "local jargon", but we always referred to 720 as "dvd quality", not as "HD".

Oh, don't get me started on drink sizes!

I always ask for a "tiny" and when the cashier says "We only have large, medium, and small".

I reply, "Not true, you have large, gigantic, and mega-sized.  Can I have a kid's size?"

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DVD quality (at least in the US but probably most places) is 720x480p. I've sometimes heard that referred to as "ED" ("Enhanced" Definition) as opposed to 704x480i, or SD (Standard Definition).

720p (actually 1280x720) is noticeably sharper, but it is pretty much the lower bound of what folks would consider HD.

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  • 9 months later...

I have a doubt:
Firefox from version 53 implements H.264 in the API?
I have made several tests and I see that Serpent, New Moon, K-Meleon and Mypal 68 support native H.264. How do they do that? and Chrome?

I have also seen that New Moon has differentiates from the previous ones, New Moon does not install OpenH264 by Cisco, for webRTC compatibility with calls H.264, if it is not created medium.gmp-provider.Enable with the TRUE value.

Edited by Cixert
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On 5/10/2022 at 5:30 PM, Cixert said:

Firefox from version 53 implements H.264 in the API?
I have made several tests and I see that Serpent, New Moon, K-Meleon and Mypal 68 support native H.264. How do they do that? and Chrome?

This has been explained often times in the past, though I'm now plainly lazy to track down relevant MSFN posts...

The gist of it is:

H.264 (for video) and AAC (for audio) are patented decoders, inclusion of them into an app demands the app authors pay a handsome fee to the patent holders (currently the MPEG consortium). 
Google are big/wealthy enough to afford the fee and thus have included those decoders in their Google Chrome web browser; this is not the case for many of the rest of the Chromium-based browsers (e.g [Chrom]Opera, etc.)

Mozilla couldn't afford including those patented decoders inside the Firefox browser core; instead, they shifted the onus on the operating system itself...
Through the Windows Media Foundation (WMF) framework, Firefox can make use of the OS-provided copies of h.264/aac decoders for decoding HTLM5 video (audio) clips; Media Source Extensions, MSE, also comes into play here for the playback of fragmented (DASH/HLS) streams...

The unfortunate thing for XP die-hards is that WMF is only supported on Windows Vista SP2 and onwards - in the case of Vista, a slightly less complete (to the one in Win7) implementation of WMF is installed via Platform Update Supplement (PUS), itself a Windows Update offering... And I can tell you that "native" H.264 support in Fx came long before v53.0 (but only available, as explained, in Vista SP2+, not XP)...

Roytam1 browsers on WinXP

The FxESR 45 fork and the Goanna 3 (Tycho) based forks, i.e. New Moon 27+K-Meleon, have been modified to load the patented decoders from externally supplied (and manually installed in the application folder) LAV dlls (these are based on the open source FFmpeg project; XP-compatible versions of FFmpeg are used to compile those LAV dlls...).

The UXP-based browsers (New Moon 28, Serpent 52 etc.) have been modified to load the patented decoders from a modded, internal, codec library called ffvpx; ffvpx is itself derived from FFmpeg, but in Firefox it normally only includes support for VPx and other non-patented decoders; the roytam1 version of this library has been patched to also include h264/aac support (via native FFmpeg decoders). 
Indeed, if you toggle the about:config pref media.ffvpx.enabled to false, said browsers lose h264/aac decoding capacity under XP...

Serpent 55.0.0 => Same case as with Serpent 52

Feodor's new child MyPal68: I haven't been following its code development, feel free to visit the main code repository and discover how native h264/aac support under XP has been implemented; my educated guess is, again, via FFmpeg libs...

FWIW, the Cisco Openh264 Video Codec plugin was provided in the context of WebRTC video-calls (it can both encode/decode the video stream), but it was limited to low video resolutions, only, and could not (to the best of my knowledge) be used as a full-fledged h264 decoder for general MP4/HTLM5 web clips (i.e. unlike the Adobe Primetime CDM's included decoder) ...

NM28 is being compiled without WebRTC support (this is set from upstream, they NEVER supported WebRTC in Pale Moon), so no wonder the Cisco plugin is not installed by default there... And Serpent 52/55's WebRTC implementation is lagging very much behind the current Google-dictated specs, so much so that the majority of services requiring WebRTC today (2022) don't work in those browsers... 

OK, have you got a clearer picture now?

Edited by VistaLover
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8 hours ago, VistaLover said:


Roytam1 browsers on WinXP

OK, have you got a clearer picture now?

Perfect explanation, thank you very much.

about MyPal68 I have seen this here

Enabled webtrc - please check, the discussion is here #24.
FFmpeg hardware acceleration - its own technique not related to the browser.
0 - none
2 - cuda
4 - dxva2

Edited by Cixert
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I am using Windows XP Pro 64 with FF 52.9 ESR and Slimjet 10 (uses Chrome 50)

A couple of years ago I implemented everything listed and it worked great with FF 52.9 ESR for over 90% of the streaming video sites I use. About a week ago https://www.ctvnews.ca/ctv-national-news stopped working and I get this screen every single time now.


https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video still works and so do the other links listed on the page including the “CTV News at 6” link.

Is/are there any new things not yet listed that I can do to get this National News site to play the news again?

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@EarlyRizer: First, welcome to these forums :P ...

Second, I hate to be telling you this, but there's practically nothing you can do under XP to mitigate this... 
CTV.ca are using Digital Rights Management (DRM) now on the streams found under 


I don't know how savvy you are, but these are MPEG-DASH streams with Common Encryption (cenc), for successful playback in a browser you need a very recent version of a browser supporting the very recent version of the Widevine CDM, the Content Decryption Module owned and supplied by the omnipresent "villain" Google; the latest widevine version is 4.10.2449.0 ; WV is closed source (as you'd imagine), plus support for XP+Vista was dropped many years ago...

Your current options now include: 
1. Watch the national news on your smart phone (Android 7+) or smart TV; you may need to install CTV.ca's DRM'ed app...
2. Resort to another desktop machine with, at minimum, Windows 7 SP1 (fully updated), on which the latest Google Chrome and/or latest Mozilla Firefox can run (these two will come with a sanctioned WV version)
3. Use your existing XP x64 OS (provided you have ample RAM there) to install and deploy a VM of a Windows (or other) OS capable of running those recent browsers mentioned in #2.

Both FxESR 52 as well as SlimJet 10 come with "ancient" WV versions, long ago deprecated by Google, and thus can't acquire decryption licences/keys from Widevine licence servers... To add insult to injury, FxESR 52 under XP doesn't support WV at all, because WV (on Firefox) itelf relies on Windows Media Foundation, a feature not found in XP...

The "Error Code: 102630" is generated form the embedded JW HTML5 player, more below: 



102630 | Either an empty playlist was requested or none of the items passed our filter for valid files. This includes the browser being unable to play the video, e.g. if the required codecs are not installed. | No playable sources found | This video file cannot be played.

But in my case (Vista SP2 x86 fully updated), when using FxESR 52.9.1 to try and play the vid, I am prompted to enable DRM


but even if I do, no dice again: 


I get a different error :( ; FxESR 52 only supports (Vista and higher) Widevine v1.4.8.903, a version blacklisted by WV lic servers eons ago... :(

Do you get the broader picture? Google, with their tight grip on everything web-related, have their sure way of crushing all users of OSes/browsers they don't saction themselves... :realmad:

PS: You can (still) playback vids over at 
because these are NOT DRM'ed (yet?)...

Edited by VistaLover
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  • 10 months later...

Or just use MPV+yt-dlp and watch Youtube instead, better performance, better user experience, better ? https://forum.palemoon.org/viewtopic.php?f=19&p=237706#p237631


Example video: https://streamable.com/4zztn3

Watching 3 videos at the same time is pretty much impossible for most web browsers nowadays, but it's so possible with MPV because it has very good performance. At least my HP 8560p, a 11 years old laptop says no to that, lmao watching 3 videos using Firefox/Chrome/Pale Moon... with my laptop will make it so hot that I can even use it to cook barbecue.

Edited by OutlawHusbando
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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
On 3/18/2023 at 8:33 AM, OutlawHusbando said:

Watching 3 videos at the same time is pretty much impossible for most web browsers nowadays, but it's so possible with MPV

Oh, thank goodness! You have no idea how often I have the need to watch 3 videos at the same time!!


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