Tag Archives: HTML5 Blog

The State of HTML5 Video

It looks like the promise of standardizing video delivery with the advent of HTML5 will take a little longer to fulfill. As usual, no one among the companies that already dominate the web wants to agree on how to best serve users.

HTML5 added the <VIDEO> tag, theoretically freeing us from using the de facto standard for video playback, the notoriously crash-prone Adobe Flash. The reality, sadly, is much different. Of all the major browsers, not one of them fully supports the tag. Firefox and Chrome can only play HTML5 video if it uses the WebM codec, while IE and Safari will only play H264-encoded video. When you throw mobile browsers into the mix, things get even more confusing. Most mobile browsers use Webkit, the open-source browser platform that Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome are based on. This would be great, but different mobile devices support different profiles and aspects of the highly complex H264 codec, which means potentially more encoding for those devices.

In the view of these companies, upon whom we rely to make the web useful for everyone, it’s apparently more important for each to promote their own standards so they can dominate some facet of the web for themselves. And, of course, it’s users who suffer. Don’t they understand that no one should own the Internet? Be prepared for more laborious workarounds for both users and producers of video to deliver video to people.

Read full article: http://localtype.org/html5-video-sucks/

Web Video Is Still a Mess

It looks like no one can agree on what is the best way to deliver video over the web. Why is this important? Because with ubiquitous fast connections and processors now available to most people, video is the preferred medium online for entertainment, and in many cases, information. If a picture is worth a thousand words, and a sound is worth a thousand pictures, then video is, well, you get the idea. If this weren’t so, TV and movies would not be at the center of the entertainment world. And because the Internet can deliver these media digitally, it is naturally the best way for consumers to access them. And that equates to big business.

So what do the people who have the power to establish the standards that allow everyone to benefit from video online do? They fight with each other, of course, since it’s much more important to own the whole pie than to create a level field for all to compete on. And the battle goes on.

First, it was Real vs. QuickTime vs. Windows Media. Then Flash stepped in and, because of YouTube’s adoption of Flash and the ubiquity of the Flash plug-in, it became the de facto web video standard. Today, it’s Flash vs. the H.264 codec, which plays without plug-ins in browsers via HTML 5.

So what’s the problem? In brief, Adobe wants to own the world of web video, and Apple doesn’t like this. Nor does Microsoft, which has designs on web media domination with its Silverlight technology. Several patent holders own the rights to H.264 and they can’t agree on anything, especially royalties. And the Firefox and Opera browsers support a format that few have even heard of (Ogg Theora – ugh).

We can only hope this mess resolves quickly, the way the format war between Blu-Ray Disc and HD-DVD did in recent years. But according to this article from Webmonkey, that doesn’t appear to be likely. So in the meantime, keep that Flash plug-in handy — although it won’t help if you own a mobile product made by Apple.

Full article: http://bit.ly/cgxcSu