For companies looking to deliver HTML5 video, there’s good news and bad news. While HTML5 is certainly the future for online video, there are still battles to see which HTML5 codec will win out.
The state of HTML5 support in browsers is just as fractured as ever. Leading a Streaming Media East audience through a chart on HTML5 support by browser, encoding expert Jan Ozer showed where the Ogg Theora, H.264, and WebM codecs are now used.
“The vision, of course, for HTML5 is we have plug-in-free playback in the browser of our video files. That’s the promise. That’s what we all want,” said Ozer. “What we see here, to kind of summarize it for you, is there’s some support for Ogg Theora, and the only browser with significant penetration right now that still uses Ogg Theora is Firefox 3.5 and 3.6. So, there’s still probably 3 or 4 percent of the people out there using this browser that, if you’re using HTML5 as the delivery method, you can only reach them by producing an Ogg Theora file.”
Ozer then looked at the current state of H.264 support:
“H.264 is the codec that’s been used by Internet Explorer 9 and Safari, as well as being available on the iPhone and Android, but so far it’s not integrated into Opera,” noted Ozer. “It’s still in Chrome, but Google says they’re going to take it out.” Ozer has doubts that that will actually take place. “I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Chrome will continue to play back H.264, but you don’t get Firefox. Mozilla has said they may consider H.264, because they know they’re losing market share because it’s an important codec, but if you’re an Opera user you may never get H.264.”
Ozer then guided the audience through WebM browser support, before concluding that HTML5 still isn’t the easy path for video that creators want.
“If you’re trying to use one codec to deliver via HTML5, you can’t do it. In fact, if you want complete penetration over all HTML5-compatible browsers, you need to have three versions of your encoded file,” said Ozer.
For advice on creating a useful HTML5 video strategy, watch the full video below and download a PDF of Ozer’s presentation.