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The ABCs of HTML5: What You Need to Know

Confused about where to start when it comes to HTML5? Not sure what it means to you or your viewers? This is the place to start.

At the recent Streaming Media Europe conference [1] in London, streaming expert Jan Ozer guided the audience through the basics of HTML5. There are two essentials to be aware of: browser support and codec penetration.

“If you look at the HTML5 playback environment, there’s really two very distinct market segments that you care about. There’s desktop and there’s mobile, and there’s two aspects to both of those. One is HTML5 browser penetration and one is HTML5 codec penetration, because you need both to be able to play back HTML5 files,” said Ozer. “There’s two things that have to be present for the video tag to work. Number one, the browser has to be HTML5 compatible. If you don’t have it HTML5 compatible, the video tag is meaningless. And the browser must supply the appropriate decoder.”

But why use HTML5 at all? Why not just continue using Flash? Ozer explained the reason HTML5 video was created:

“The key benefit to HMTL5 was the ability to play video natively without a plugin,” Ozer said. “So, if you hated Flash, if you hated Silverlight, which a certain segment of the market inevitably did, the promise was you don’t need these plugins to play your video. How it works is that instead of getting the decoding capability that decodes the video that you compress, instead of getting that from Flash or Silverlight, you get that from the browser itself. The browser supplies both the player and the decoder, and it uses the video tag in HTML to call the player. So there’s no long plugin calls; it’s basically just a single video tag and that’s why HTML5 and video tag are kind of synonymous in a lot of people’s minds.”

For much more on delivering HTML5 video, watch the full video below and download the slides [2] for this presentation.