W3C Video in the Web is not just what you see

— it's what you can search, discover, create, link, distribute and manage.

Video in the Web Activity Proposal

1. Activity Summary

The goal of this activity is to make video a "first class citizen" of the Web. Video on the Web (and this includes audio, as the two are typically used together) has seen explosive growth, improving the richness of the user experience but leading to challenges in content discovery, searching, indexing and accessibility. Enabling users (from individuals to large organizations) to put video in the Web requires that we build a solid architectural foundation that enables people to create, navigate, search, link and distribute video, effectively making video part of the Web instead of an extension that doesn't take full advantage of the Web architecture.

The targeted audience for this activity are:


W3C organized a workshop on Video on the Web in December 2007 in order to share current experiences and examine the technologies (see report). Online video content and demand is increasing rapidly, becoming omnipresent on the Web and is expected to continue for at least a few years.

W3C has been involved in the area of Video on the Web since 1996. SMIL, developed in the Synchronized Multimedia activity and first published in June 1998, provides support for embedding audio and video content. W3C continues to work on the integration of video with other media, synchronized video content in graphics with SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), and direct support for video and audio in Web browsers with the proposal for a video element in HTML 5. There are already experimental or product versions of browsers with video support included, both in HTML and SVG. VoiceXML is starting to look into adding support for video as well.

Several other organizations are involved in enhancing the state of video, some with related but non-overlapping work and some with whom we should coordinate:


The general scope of this activity is to provide cohesion in the video related activities of W3C and from outside organizations, as well helping other W3C Groups in their effort to provide video functionalities. In addition, this activity will focus at implementing the two next steps from the W3C workshop on Video on the Web:

It is expected that this activity will be significantly revised in the upcoming near future to implement additional but substantially important steps mentioned at the workshop:


The Video in the Web Activity would be chartered until the end of 2010, with its Groups attached to the Hypertext Coordination group.

The activity would be composed of one existing Group and 3 new proposed Groups:


Total of Team resources would be around 0.7FTE until mid-July 2009.


See the individual charters.

Intellectual Property Information

The W3C team is working at evaluating the situation with regards to video codecs, and what, if anything, W3C can do to ensure that codecs, containers, etc. for the Web encourage the broadest possible adoption and interoperability. Depending on the outcome, it may be difficult or impossible to meet the Royalty-Free licensing goals of section 2 of the W3C Patent Policy in the area of codecs and containers. While this activity may help W3C Working Groups to resolve the situation, no specific work is proposed around the area of video codec in this Activity proposal.


The following organizations expressed interest and overall support in the Video in the Web activity proposal (note that it does not imply commitments to participate in any of the Groups in the activity).

Philippe Le Hégaret,

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