Those who haven’t left the planet in the last year have at some point heard of HTML 5, the new improved language that will likely power the Web in the coming years.
One of the many great features it sports, which will be of interest to free formats enthusiastics, is the multimedia elements: <video> and <audio>. Imagine being able to post video and audio in your blog as easily as you do with images. On forums, on online shops, on office intranets, on anything. It really has the potentional to revolutionize the Web. No more Flash, no more YouTube. Independence! And all of this using Vorbis and Theora as the baseline codecs!
Sounds too good to be true? Mayhap. I’ll be honest with you. There are problems, starting right there with the browsers. You, the users, need to understand that this will only take off if you start using those elements to 1) force browser makers to support them and 2) make other people aware of them. The browsers have to support those elements and its associated codecs, but that will only happen if there’s a demand for it, and that demand can only come from its users.
Firefox is heading in that direction, and Opera has shown interest too with already two experimental builds, but what about the other browsers? The way I see it, if you see promise in those features you should request your browser maker for them. And, meanwhile, you should probably post content in the Web using Theora and Vorbis through the <video> and <audio> elements.
With free software browsers the process is easy: you either request or vote for that feature in their bug tracker, or you code it yourself and give them the code, which will look good in your resume.
With proprietary browsers it is a bit more tricky. You have to contact the company and hope they care about your opinion. But it’s either that or nothing, so it’s worth a try at least.
Finally, you can download a Firefox video-enabled to help test it for bugs, or you can look into Opera’s experimental build, which unfortunately only works in Microsoft Windows currently. Then, you can test any of them in the demo pages that both Opera and Mozilla’s Chris Double provide.