YouTube: HTML5 video ain’t good enough yet

Is HTML5 about to take over as the standard for video on the web, as people like Steve Jobs suggest, or does it still have a ways to go? YouTube Software Engineer John Harding has weighed in on the subject in a post on the video sharing site’s official API Blog, and he thinks Flash is still the way to go—at least for the time being.

Harding lists a good number areas where HTML5 still isn’t on par with Flash. Among them: live video streaming, digital rights management, embedding, full-screen video support, and live video conferencing. Reportedly, all of those features are either completely lacking or not implemented in a standard way in HTML5.

Add the fact that Google’s open WebM video format still hasn’t solved the thorny issue of HTML5 codec standardization, which means that HTML5 video must be offered in different formats to work on different HTML5-compatible browsers, and all the hype starts to sound a little premature.

If one issue kills HTML5 for me, it’s gotta be the lack of full-screen support. YouTube’s HTML5 video player works well enough in Google Chrome, but there’s no simple way to make a high-def clip span your entire display. The best alternative I’ve found is to click the "full-screen" button, which makes the video take up the whole window, and then hit F11 to switch to full-screen browsing for that particular window. Not exactly very user-friendly—and the video controls will stay up no matter what.

Comments closed
    • joselillo_25
    • 9 years ago

    The real problem of html5 is flash, now using GPU, works pretty well. Just install 10.1 and see.

    Also everyone using internet have enter in youtube and this tell him to install flash so adobe software in now in every pc in the world thanks to youtube.

    If youtube keep flash, which is obvious for me, there is no need for HTML5 video because every person who enter in this page is asked to install flash.

    • JdL
    • 9 years ago

    Just like HTML5, fullscreen support requires the BROWSER to support it. #blamebrowsersforlackofsupport

    • pogsnet
    • 9 years ago
      • Farting Bob
      • 9 years ago

      So far html5 is only better than flash in terms of security (its very new which helps it alot there) and if you are that concerned about open source. Performance might be slightly better until you factor in hardware acceleration.

    • thebluebumblebee
    • 9 years ago

    Ain’t? “YouTube: HTML5 video ain’t good enough yet” Ain’t? Ain’t?

      • burntham77
      • 9 years ago

      Git er dun?

    • A_Pickle
    • 9 years ago

    That is a huge list of very prevalent flaws with HTML5. How can people be so enamored with it? I get the desire to go open before proprietary, but if it’s a better product…

    • The Dark One
    • 9 years ago

    While this could cover HTML5 video if MS and Apple have their way, in five years h.264 users could start getting gouged by the MPEG-LA when it starts jacking up the price for using anything covered by its patent pool.

    • jstern
    • 9 years ago

    To me it’s like a non issue. By the time HTML 5 catches up to flash, say 5 years, most computers will be much more powerful than the ones we currently use, have GPU that supports video acceleration, etc. I mean, correct me if I’m wrong, but weren’t some 720p video only drawing 12% cpu power for flash beta 10.1? I now find it to be such a waste of time to care about flash video vs html5 video.

      • blitzy
      • 9 years ago

      yeah but performance is still important for mobile devices

        • jstern
        • 9 years ago

        Even so, I doubt it will be an issue even for mobile devises 5 years from now.

    • Sniper
    • 9 years ago

    Thanks to Microsoft, it will be at least 5-7 years before HTML5 becomes mainstream. Most of the market falls under the category of IE6, IE7, or IE8, all of which are outdated browsers. Furthermore, Microsoft said Windows 7 will be required for IE9 to be installed — and they gave us a bullshit reason for us to choke on. Yeah, HTML 5 is fucked for a good while, you can take that to the bank.

    And for a recent (somewhat) browser, IE8 doesn’t even support rounded corners on elements. CSS3 support is vacant. Microsoft’s main failure is that they failed to implement an auto-update feature. Internet Explorer’s application design principles are outdated. Most browsers today are rapidally updated to keep pace with technology, and their auto-update features ensure users aren’t left behind.

    Internet Explorer damages the web community.

    That said, I’m not even a fan of HTML5. It’s too fragmented right now, and too many things about it aren’t really thought out that well. HTML5 is like your sega genesis system, whereby Sega released the 32bit Addon and a CD addon, and it looked like a big pile of ass when put together. But maybe they’ll fix that.

    Fact is, plain ol’ XHTML is going to be here for a long time. Focusing on HTML 5 is a waste of time for the average person.

    P.S. I’m a web developer, and I deal with insane clients on a daily basis. The company I work at just recently dropped support for IE6. Thank god.

    • Farting Bob
    • 9 years ago

    If HTML5 said “thou shall use this codec for video and this codec for audio” in its spec it would have a much better chance of adoption. As it stands the best it can realistically get is as a secondry option people can click on if they dont want to/cant use flash.
    Also, why on earth cant it support full screen? Would have thought html5 people would have thought that would be a big issue and sort it out before release.

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      I only see the need for two video codec. H264 can be played by flash and HTML5, and WebM would be strictly HTML5. And there’s no reason WebM can’t be incorporated into flash.

      I think it would be really nice for a site to default to HTML5 as it should be lighter, resource wise, than loading flash.

      Also, I’d rather run two browsers than one browser with flash.

        • BlackStar
        • 9 years ago

        It has been confirmed that flash will gain webm support.

    • ApockofFork
    • 9 years ago

    Whoa whoa since when was HTML5 video progressing faster than flash. Flash isn’t exactly… moving like the flash (I appologize), but its taking forever for the HTML5 spec to be finalized and although browsers support html5 video each browser is doing it differently with its own problems. HTML5 video has a loooong way to go to catch up to flash at least in any meaningful cross browser compatible way. I’m not saying that flash is great but I think people are misunderstanding HTML5s short comings.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    There’s still no hardware accelaration for HTML5 right?

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      There’s always been hardware acceleration for it.

        • TaBoVilla
        • 9 years ago

        yeah… CPU

          • ironoutsider
          • 9 years ago

          Is there GPU acceleration I think was the question? Obviously everything is technically hardware accelerated at some level 😛

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 9 years ago

            I think this would be up to the browser makers to implement. HTML5 is just a spec.

      • ltcommander.data
      • 9 years ago

      Wasn’t one of the big new features of Safari 5 for Windows hardware acceleration?

      Safari has been hardware accelerated in OS X for a while with Safari 4 for animations like CSS Transforms. Presumably, Safari 5 supports HTML5 video acceleration with 10.6.3 through the Video Decode Acceleration Framework.

      And Safari 5 does have full screen HTML5 video playback support although it may not work on all websites.

        • crazybus
        • 9 years ago

        Hardware acceleration in Windows doesn’t refer to h.264 decoding. It still uses a software decoder.

        Safari for OS X has had acceleration of h.264 HTML 5 (for a limited number of GPUs) since 10.6 was first released, since it uses QTKit for video playback rather than the VDA framework.

        IE9 on Windows is similar, since on Windows 7 I believe it uses the system’s built-in DXVA2 accelerated h.624 decoder.

      • Hattig
      • 9 years ago

      H.264 (one of the HTML5 codecs) will be hardware accelerated if the web browser hooks into the hardware’s acceleration. I suspect that Safari will accelerate it on Macs, for example.

        • pogsnet
        • 9 years ago
    • BlackStar
    • 9 years ago

    HTML5 video is still in its infancy. Still, progress is *much* faster than flash player: how long did it take for Adobe to go from flash 9 to 10 or 10 to 10.1? How long did it take for e.g. Opera to add support for webm HTML5 video? (Opera 10.60 is being released this week).

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    HTML 5 is lagging but Flash is not that far ahead and hasn’t been supported in a meanful and timely fashion by adobe either. With the head start flash had, one could only blame adobe for letting the meager effort that is HTML 5 surpase it.

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