HTML5 Video and You

Is your video format cutting edge? Well, you might not want it to be. While HTML5 may be a lighter simpler way for enabled browsers to read and display media, developing for browsers without HTML5 support can be a whole project in itself.

Older browsers still require third-party plugins, like Flash or Quicktime, to display videos across the web.  Luckily Flowplayer will suck in a video formatted for HTML5 and spit it out as flash, so encoding videos as h.264 will work in most cases.  On the content preparation side of things though, this means updating old videos to suit new formats and reformatting takes time.

Why not just keep older videos in flash and format new videos for HTML5? Well, flash won’t display on apple’s mobile devices for starters, but more importantly enabling both technologies means spending time enabling past solutions rather than optimizing for the future. Where do we draw the line?

YouTube seems to have taken full advantage of this tension with its July release of YouTube Mobile, an iPhone and Android interface that uses HTML5 exclusively and ignores flash altogether. While YouTube’s web interface has supported HTML5 enabled browsers since 2007, releasing mobile specific products allow the service to move forward and leaving old browser technology behind. That said, YouTube’s priority is publishing content, not owning it, so storing commercial content with the service is often conflict of interests (removing the youtube logo layover from the player format is against YT’s terms of service).

New media developers prefer to release smaller community specific products over infinitely flexible products for an undefined audience. The decision about whether or not to use the most cutting edge technology will always require a good strong look at yourself. Have you already purchased your ticket on Airbus’ first commercial space plan? If so, blast away.

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