Video Essentials

Switching to HTML5 Video? Don’t Forget About Flash

It’s an HTML5 world, right? Not so fast.

Anyone encoding video for the web has likely wondered if they should devote all their energy to creating HTML5 files and leave Flash behind. As writer Jan Ozer pointed out during the recent Streaming Media West conference in Los Angeles, Flash and HTML5 both still have their place.

HTML5_LG“When I look at the HTML5 playback environment, it really is a tale of two markets,” Ozer said. “There’s the desktop market and there’s the mobile market, and really if you’re producing video today there’s two markets you need to serve: there’s the desktop market — that’s the one we’ve been serving for years and years and years — and then there’s mobile. Two very different characteristics; you really need to approach them separately, both for single file streaming and for adaptive streaming.”

While HTML5 has gotten a lot of attention, it’s not yet ubiquitous on the desktop. That’s because not all browsers support HTML5 video.

“When you look at a market for HTML5 playback, you’ve got to consider two aspects of that market,” Ozer explained. “You’ve got to consider the HTML5 browser penetration and the HTML5 codec support within those browsers. What do you need to play video on a desktop if it’s presented in an HTML5 format? You need an HTML5-compatible browser. If you don’t have an HTML5-compatible browser, you can’t play video presented in HTML5 format. You can fall back to Flash, and we’ll talk about what that means in a second, but if you’re thinking you can drop Flash today, support only HTML5, you need to look at how many browsers currently support HTML5.”

For a look at the current state of browser support, and for instructions on creating HTML5 video files, watch the full presentation below. Also, download Ozer’s presentation.


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