First Youtube, Then Vimeo: HTML5 is Future of Online Video

Just last week Youtube reported about the prototype player that uses HTML5, and by the end of week even Vimeo had its own HTML5 player. What does that mean? Could it be that the era in which Flash content ruled the online media is over? Yes, we definitely think so. Why? Just for the plain simplicity, efficiency and better bandwidth utilization by HTML5.

vimeo

Just last week, Youtube reported about the prototype player that uses HTML5, and by the end of week even Vimeo had its own HTML5 player. What does that mean? Could it be that the era in which Flash content ruled the online media is over? Yes, we definitely think so. Why? Just for the plain simplicity, efficiency and better bandwidth utilization by HTML5.

In case you are still clueless about Youtube HTML5 player, you can check it out here. To enable the HTML5 player in Vimeo, click the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below any video. But, as this is still an experiment on Youtube and Vimeo, if you have a supported browser, you can choose to use HTML 5 browser over Adobe Flash Player. The list of supported browsers include: Google Chrome, Safari (version 4 and above) and Internet Explorer with Chrome Frame installed. Even if you have a supported browser there are some more restrictions as stated on Youtube:

  • Videos with ads are not supported (they will play in the Flash player)
  • Full-screen is not supported
  • If you’ve opted in to other test-tube experiments, you may not get the HTML5 player (Feather is supported, though)

For a simple web surfer, if we put down the advantages of HTML5 browser over Flash Player, the list includes:

  • No additional bandwidth required to load the player, as video content is now natively supported by HTML5 via <video></video> tags. Isn’t it simple enough ?
  • If you are on a slow connection and wait for a video to buffer until you finish checking your mail, you will no longer have to. You need not wait for the video to buffer completely and can jump anywhere in the video.
  • Better bandwidth utilization by HTML5 means your video will no longer stuck in between frames and the video will run smoothly.

All being said about the browser support and video player, only 90% of the video library owned by Youtube and Vimeo, two of the largest online video hosting sites, will work with the new player. Also embedded videos on other websites will not work with HTML5 player.

We had seen a big welcome for HTML5 by Google in the Google I/O conference in My 2009, and Google even said that it will eventually drop Google Gears offline application to support HTML5. Most of the major players are in support for HTML due to its standardization. The h.264 motion codec is flexible enough to display the same video on most of the devices, without any need for format conversion.

Coming onto the Flash Player, most of the Mac and Linux users know that flash performs terribly on their PCs. Even on the mobile devices that do support it, the playback is not even close to being uniform. Dragging ourselves to reality, flash is not even a player, it’s just a browser-plugin. In contrast to flash, HTML5 allows videos to be rendered in the browser, as images like JPEGs or GIFs i.e the video is embedded. Looking into the huge infrastructure that is built around flash, why do people even curse Microsoft Silverlight? It is the same brower-plugin. Looking above these two, HTML5 is the obvious solution for major video hosting sites owing to its simpler and efficient solution.

Youtube is trying to push forward HTML5 with its huge base of subscribers and with the other big player Vimeo joining the party, the prediction is clear: Flash is going to die in the long race. You will no longer have to wait for years for the flash support on your mobile device. It is the end of Flash era, HTML5 is the future.

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