Microsoft revisits its Real Time Communications in Edge with an updated roadmap

A few months ago, Microsoft’s Edge Team released its ORTC API implementation to the open web community to foster a transparent development of its new browser. The Edge Team’s initial Object Real-Time Communication APIs were presented as part of EdgeHTML 13 and delivered to the public through a Windows Insider Preview Release back on September 18, 2015.

With some more development time under their belts, the team is ready to push forward with its second phase of bringing real-time communications to the Edge browser. Last week, during the second annual Edge Web Summit, the Edge team briefly spoke about their ORTC roadmap and how it’s been updated since its original release.

Today, developers are getting, even more, details on features planned for ORTC in Edge and when they could expect to see them.

As a first step towards video interoperability with other platforms, we’re now working to add support for the H.264/AVC codec. We’re additionally laying the foundation for video interoperability within the Edge RTC stack by adding support for additional feedback messages as well as congestion control and robustness mechanisms.”

Cross-browser support for H.264/AVC will enable the Edge team to begin testing our H.264/AVC implementation across browsers, with the eventual goal of an interoperable RTC experience. We expect to provide a preview release in the next few months with updated H.264/AVC and RTP/SAVPF support in Edge so developers can enable basic video scenarios across all major browsers.”

Perhaps the biggest news surrounds Edge adopting WebRTC natively. Current production is only in the prototype phase, but a subset of WebRTC 1.0 API are being built into the Edge Platform. Hopefully, we’ll see some expedient movement on that end.

Our focus is on basic 1:1 communications, and we will initially support a single H.264/AVC stream within PeerConnection. Advanced functionality like multi-stream support, provisional answers, or the WebRTC 1.0 object model, are currently out of scope for our implementation. We look forward to sharing updates on this implementation as our prototyping continues.”

Lastly, some developers can hold out hope for VP8 codec support possibly coming to Edge. As with most of their development, the Edge team is being cautious on how it rolls out new features and thus waiting for a stable foundation for video interoperability to be laid out. However, once the video foundation is secure, the Edge team seems to be open to the idea of implementing VP8 in its Real-Time Communications (RTC).

Because there is not yet broad hardware offload support for VP8 encoding and decoding, we will continue to evaluate the balance between RTC performance and overall system power consumption across all our device platforms. We will share updates on the timeline as work progresses.”

Hopefully, as the Edge team continues to develop their browser out in the open, it will also soon use the feedback from a public community to help plan and expedite theses new features for users.

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