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Player only supports a few browsers now, Firefox not included

The top video destination online is YouTube by a large margin – other video watching sites like Hulu are much further behind YouTube in the number of users. YouTube is constantly working to improve its service to keep its edge and help bring in more advertisers.

YouTube already showcased HTML5-based video player demo, but the video site reports that users have been asking it to do more with HTML5. To give the viewers what they want, YouTube has announced a new experimental HTML5 supported video player.

YouTube engineers wrote on the official YouTube blog, "HTML5 is a new web standard that is gaining popularity rapidly and adds many new features to your web experience. Most notably for YouTube users, HTML5 includes support for video and audio playback. This means that users with an HTML5 compatible browser, and support for the proper audio and video codecs can watch a video without needing to download a browser plugin."

There are a few caveats to the experimental player right now. The biggest is that there are a relative few browsers that support HTML5 at this time. YouTube lists Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer running ChromeFrame as being compatible. The capabilities will be expanded later to include new capabilities. The new video player can be used by visiting TestTube if your browser is compatible. Other issues include the lack of support for videos with ads, captions, or annotations.

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RE: Death to flash!
By Sunday Ironfoot on 1/21/2010 1:56:48 PM , Rating: 2
From the inability to choose a codec standard...

I've never understood why that's a problem, at least from a user point of view. HTML5 already supports OGG and H.245 does it not? What's wrong with them?

RE: Death to flash!
By omnicronx on 1/21/2010 3:16:45 PM , Rating: 4
Because its basically left up to the user to make sure said codec is installed/updated. All flash supported codecs are self contained, if you have flash, you can play the video without having to worry. The most you would have to do is update to the latest version of flash, which pretty much any user can do.(and it usually prompts when you are out of date)

Basically the HTML 5 working group could not decide on making either OGG or h264 the standard, and it seems no compromise could be made. So they basically gave up on trying to define codec specifics within the standard itself.

Essentially, without a uniform codec, content creators will not be able to make videos in a single format with assurance that it will work across all browsers. This is what flash gave us, and this one of the BIG reasons why it gained popularity in the first place.

I'm not an adobe fan by any means, but the HTML 5 working group royally screwed up here.. I guess sometimes closed source does have its advantages.

RE: Death to flash!
By heffeque on 1/21/2010 4:51:22 PM , Rating: 3
Wow... so many people that haven't a clue.

After reading quite a few posts I can clearly state that none of them know why Firefox or Chromium aren't included in the supported list.

Here's the reason: YouTube uses h.264 which is better than Theora (ogg) but requires licensing fees which Mozilla and Chromium don't pay.
Chrome and Safari do pay the royalties so they can embed h.264 capabilities into the browser.

So there you got it.

If you're really interested on knowing more details, I suggest you all google "html5 video controversy".

RE: Death to flash!
By omnicronx on 1/21/2010 5:16:04 PM , Rating: 2
To be clear Google pays the licensing fees for Chrome, but not for Chromium ;)..

Bang on though, kind of goes against the methodology of an open source browser if they have to pay licensing fees to distribute it;)

RE: Death to flash!
By Alexvrb on 1/21/2010 9:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
Don't the licensing fees apply to web sites that are providing the H.264 streams? In other words, the licensing is for the content providers like Youtube and Hulu, and not for playback software and codecs (such as Divx 7, Flash, etc)? So really... there shouldn't be such a restriction on HTML5 standardizing on H.264, and any browser should be able to add support any time they want.

Omnicronx's explanation makes more sense. Unless what you actually mean to say is that they didn't want to standardize on H.264 because it would place a financial burden on anyone who wanted to put up H.264 streams.

But that would still be silly. Because if that was the case they could have simply standardized on BOTH - meaning supporting H.264 and Theora, and nothing else. That way any HTML5 videos would work out of the box, but content providers would have the choice. That would have been a better solution than the one they chose, which is "Good luck nubs have fun lawl".

RE: Death to flash!
By heffeque on 1/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: Death to flash!
By Alexvrb on 1/22/2010 9:36:34 PM , Rating: 3
Why can't they just package a free H.264 decoder with the browser installation? End users could opt out and use their own if they want. Heck Win7 can decode H.264 out of the box. I read through a bunch of MPEG LA licensing info, and I didn't see anything about fees on the playback side. But whatever, I guess you're right and they're all too worried about getting dragged into court. My bad.

This is how open standards crumble, and why things like Flash become ubiquitous. OpenGL fell behind, and HTML5's video support was pissed on by Google, since they own Youtube and want to save every ounce of bandwidth they can.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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