The State Of HTML5 Video – Growing, But Also Kind Of A Mess

The State Of HTML5 Video – Growing, But Also Kind Of A Mess

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Remember all the hustle and bustle there was to get HTML5 off the ground and implement immediately even though there was no standard codec, it lacks tons of functionality and all that? LongTail Video does and they broke down just where it all stands now in a nice, informative way in the LongTail Video State of HTML5 Video.

They went through six key factors on how HTML5 Video is doing presently to give the industry an overhead look at how things are progressing and I have to say, in some areas it’s quite grim. For example, Internet Explorer 6-8 have no HTML5 support and still account for 28% of the market. Chrome and Firefox do have HTML5 support obviously and account for 47% of the market thankfully. With that large portion of the market, total 32%, not supporting HTMl5, Flash is still extremely relevant as a provider of web-based video.

In terms of codecs and formats, it’s a 50/50 split between MP4 and WebM. Chrome, Firefox and Opera support WebM while IE, Safari, iOS and Android support MP4 only. Odd that Android supports MP4 and not WebM but it’s due to a lack of hardware-based decoders in the devices whereas MP4 decoders are abundant. Chrome has been threatening to drop MP4 support totally and just support WebM but they haven’t pulled the trigger.

Video Tag Attributes

This is a bit of a mess. They looked at five tags – poster, preload, autoplay, loop and controls. Chrome, Safari and Opera are the only browsers that support all of them (this is all in addition to height, width and src). Android is the worst as it only supports poster and controls on occasion. According to their report:

The video controls on mobile devices differ greatly from those on desktop browsers:

  • On the iPad, controls are still quite similar, though there is no volume slider (volume is set with hardware buttons). As in Safari, there is a fullscreen button.
  • On the iPhone, only a round play button in the middle of the poster is shown. When clicking, the video starts playing fullscreen. When exiting fullscreen, the round play button appears again.
  • On Android 2.2, no controls are displayed. This means a video can only be started through custom controls built in JavaScript. Like the iPhone, playback is full screen only.
  • On Android 2.3, a control bar is displayed. The small play button must be clicked to trigger playback; clicking the poster does nothing. Though not as broken as Android 2.2, this is still a major UX issue.

If you think that’s messy, full screen playback is a total disaster.

Adaptive streaming is no better with just Safari and iOS devices supporting it with Android having some buggy prelim support.

So you can see that things are quite a mess in terms of HTML5 and after the initial rush for online video platforms, services and content providers to support it, the browsers are still fighting, dragging their feet and generally mucking things up, again. There’s far more to the LongTail Video State of HTML5 Video over at their site, I just wanted to give you some insight into how messy it all really is at present. The report from them is not an invaluable resource for those of you who are trying to get HTML5 integrated into your workflow or service. You can plainly see what is and is not supported, who supports it and who is working on it. Great job LongTail!


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