Video Essentials

HTML5 or Web Apps for Streaming Video? Finnish TV Says HTML5

Last week we turned to Comcast for the answer the question or whether content creators should use HTML5 or apps to deliver their content to TVs and mobile devices. Both, said Comcast.

That cover-all-bases approach doesn’t work for everyone. For an alternate take, we turn to Lauri Kivinen, CEO of Yle, Finland’s national public broadcasting company. Kivinen is firmly in the HTML5 camp. Creating apps for every platform is unwieldy, he says, and leads to a cluttered user interface.

The fragmented mobile and connected TV market is a challenge to content creators, he says. While creators want to deliver new channels of content for devices, they have to be sure that they don’t make those channels incompatible.

One estimate says that we’ll see 150 tablet devices introduced in the next 18 months, relates Kivinen. No creator can afford to create apps for all those devices. Making apps for only a few would mean deciding for consumers which tablets will be successful.

The alternative is to go with HTML5, so that content can be seen by a variety of devices, as well as future devices.

“We have to make generic solutions where we offer our content so that it’s adaptable, it’s scalable through various channels, through various billing systems, through various screen sizes, through various speeds of delivery network and so on, so that it remains easy for the consumer in a fragmenting world,” says Kivinen.

While consumers enjoy downloading and using apps, Kivinen doesn’t see them as a future-proof solution. They lead to situations where consumers have dozens of apps but rarely use any of them.

“Apps are handy, but then how many apps do you want to have on your phone or your tablet or your TV screen?” asks Kivinen. “There are voices saying already that we are going somewhere toward a next step that it beyond apps, that is after apps: a scalable service that doesn’t require you to download the script.”

Big content creators are already moving away from apps. Kivinen relates that The Financial Times has gone with an HTML5 format with no apps required for viewing on devices. His own company is also shying away from apps. As Yle is publicly funded, he feels a mission to go with solutions that support the most viewers.

“Fundamentally, our strategy is to serve the whole population. Therefore, ease of access is the main concern we have. We want to make it as easy as possible for the people to access independent of what device they use,” Kivinen says.

To view the entire interview (used courtesy of, scroll down.


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  1. Yes. In Finland we are doing HTML5 Web App video delivery right now. Check Katsomo with your iPad or iPhone. Katsomo is WebTV of MTV MEDIA, biggest commercial broadcaster in Finland –

    Posted by Jani Tiihonen | January 18, 2012, 8:46 am
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