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When Steve Jobs was challenged on the iPad’s lack of support for Adobe’s Flash runtime for web video, manifested at the time as black rectangles on websites in place of Flash video, he said that “those holes are getting plugged real fast”.

And guess what? He was damn right.

It was a time of the prevalence of Flash and web developers had only begun experimenting with HTML5 for online video delivery, but boy what a difference a few years make.

As reported by VentureBeat, YouTube announced today that it’s ditched Flash for HTML5 video by default. “Other content providers like Netflix and Vimeo, as well as companies like Microsoft and Apple have embraced HTML5 and been key contributors to its success,” YouTube said in a statement.

There are many benefit to using HTML5 over Flash for online video.

For starters, HTML5 delivers web video without a plug-in whereas Adobe Flash requires a browser plug-in (by the way, the Flash player is baked into Google’s desktop Chrome browser). And because browser plug-ins typically open new attack vectors, using HTML5 for video increases your security.

HTML5 video is also more resource-friendly than Flash, which tends to send your notebook’s fan into overdrive when browsing YouTube.

More importantly, HTML5 video is an open technology based on web standards which are developed by industry bodies. Flash, on the other hand, is a proprietary technology.

HTML5 video player uses a Media Source Extension feature called adaptive bitrate which adjust video quality on the fly depending on network conditions, reduced buffering by more than 50 percent globally and as much as 80 percent on heavily-congested networks.

YouTube HTML5 video player web screenshot 001

It also supports the VP9 video codec for higher-quality video delivery like 4K at 60FPS with an average bandwidth reduction of 35 percent and faster video startup time.

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC), an open project for real-time voice and video communication, allows YouTube’s HTML5 video player to provide broadcasting tools from within the browser, no plugins required.

Finally, Google is using other fancy technologies like Fullscreen APIs for immersive fullscreen viewing experience with a standard HTML interface, as well as Encrypted Media Extensions and Common Encryption for supporting multiple content protection technologies on different platforms with a single set of assets.

YouTube’s HTML5 video player is compatible with Google’s Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 11, Apple’s Safari 8, and it also works in beta versions of Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

To check out which features of YouTube’s HTML5 video player are supported on your system, point your browser to this page on YouTube.

YouTube HTML5 video player web screenshot 002

Furthermore, YouTube’s old Flash object embeds and its Flash API are now officially deprecated in favor of the iframe API, which adapts the video depending on the device and browser you’re using.

Google started experimenting with HTML5 video player back in January 2010, coinciding with Steve Jobs’s introduction of the original iPad.

Over time, more and more YouTube videos changed to the HTML5 player by default, though it took them five years to finally complete the transition across all of YouTube and in most browsers.

Well, better late than never, Google!

Source: VentureBeat

  • A’s Network

    I personally like to use Flash since it doesn’t randomly cause the dock and status bar to appear when trying to change a setting.

  • And Flash slips further into irrelevancy…

  • Fanboy 

    Better late than never…
    but never late is better!

  • Good riddance Adobe Flash.

  • Sleaka J

    Keep hammering those nails into the coffin internet!!

  • Chris

    One thing to note is the VP9 codec is only supported by Chrome and Firefox, if you want videos to play at 60 FPS browsers such as Safari might do so but at a much lower bitrate as the h.264 decoder relies heavily on the CPU whereas the VP9 codec doesn’t.

    • Ángel Javier Esquivel

      Actually I play videos in 1080p60fps in Safari and it flows like water…

      • Chris

        I never said you couldn’t watch videos at 60 FPS, I said you won’t get the same quality as Chrome and Firefox.

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Actually, it does

      • Chris

        It’s a trick of the eye, the quality is much higher and smoother when using the VP9 codec, the bitrate is also a lot higher as it’s able to process around 3 times as much data using less CPU power.

        Chrome is the first screenshot and Safari is the second.

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Ok, I need to agree
        You PWNED me 🙂

      • AnArcticMonkey

        I like your argument;

        “Here are the technological behind the scene reasons why Safari does not stream at the same quality as Chrome and Firefox”

        “nah b it does trust”

      • mrgerbik

        You cannot, repeat cannot, criticize anything made by Apple.
        I think its a law or sumpin’

      • Ángel Javier Esquivel

        Me be like “trust me brah, Im on the internet” xD

      • Apple won’t likely support VP9. Just wait for H.265 which is about the same quality in the same size.

  • kled23

    till html5 adds more quality like 144p and 240p, its going to be really hard on some users, i see minimum quality option at 360p, thats going to be a problem for users with a cellular data connection and will run out of data plan, hope they fix this before disbanding the flash player completely.

    • Do you mind elaborating on this? To my knowledge HTML 5 is just a standard of HTML (the fifth standard). When it comes to video playback to my knowledge the quality is irrelevant as long as the video can be played by the browser…

      • kled23

        i mean just go to youtube and select html5 player as ur default player, and play any youtube video, u wont find 144p or 240p, just 320p and over, its the quality of the the video, i know html5 is not a video format, but i cant find the option to change the video to a lower quality playback to save cellular bandwidth.

  • WiseBlasian

    I was one of the many that hated the fact that iOS devices didn’t have flash. Damn Apple has so much influence.

    • Rowan09

      Android stop awhile back as well since Adobe stopped support for mobile flash.

    • Kr00

      No, Apple were pushing for a better web experience while others were too ignorant to push for better and Adobe were too lazy to change a 15 year old plugin. Technology can’t move forward if its grounded in the past.

      • mrgerbik

        rubbish? rofl w/e

  • Martin

    Flash SUCKS! Had so much crashes and problems.. Since I installed Windows 10, 4 days ago I am using HTML5 and had no problems at all. 🙂

  • Kr00

    About bloody time too. Thank god, the Internet is finally stepping into the 21st century. Good riddance to crappy web plugins like flash. No one will weep it’s death.

  • Noah

    The only thing left is for a better YouTube app video player…

    • Chris

      ProTube works nicely for me

  • ClaudieX X

    Finally!!

  • sailesh

    So, this is the reason I’m unable to download youtube videos.

  • AnArcticMonkey

    Batteries around the world rejoice

  • freefulltime

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  • Gucek

    if *any* “Fullscreen API” is now “fancy technology” then I truly don’t want to live on this planet anymore..