Microsoft previews H.264/AVC video codec support for plugin-free video calling in Edge

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One day Microsoft Edge users will be able to make video calls from the Edge browser without any plugins at all.

That goal just got a step closer, with Microsoft previewing H.264/AVC video codec support for the real-time communications stack in the Edge browser.

Support for H.264/AVC enables  interoperable video communications solutions across browsers for basic 1:1 video calling scenarios.

The preview release adds the following for H.264/AVC support in the Edge RTC stack:

  • Support for packetization-mode 1, per RFC 7742
  • Support for Constrained Baseline Profile with levels up to 4.2 (i.e. with profile-level-id=42c02a)
  • Support for the absolute send time header extension (abs-send-time)
  • Support for Picture Loss Indication (PLI), per RFC 4585

Microsoft also plans to extend this in future releases by supporting additional feedback messages (e.g. Generic NACK) as well as congestion control and robustness mechanisms (e.g. RTX).

H.264/AVC support is currently available through the ORTC API in Microsoft Edge with Microsoft aiming to enable these features via the adapter.js library as well.  You can preview the feature in Windows Insider Preview builds starting with EdgeHTML 14.14352 by navigating to about:flags and checking “Enable experimental H.264/AVC support.”

Microsoft eventually aims for full WebRTC 1.0 API support, but this will arrive after the Anniversary release in July.

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