A recent post on YouTube’s API Blog explains the reasons why HTML5 is not ready for Primetime Video Distribution.
While many independent and smaller sites that do not need the full features of Flash may adopt HTML5 Video it seems that larger sites that serve to many platforms and allow their videos to be embedded off site need flash to provide the features not found in basic video serving.
If you have experimented with the new video tag the first question is which video codec is compatible with your inventory. YouTube like many others serves in .flv and .mp4 formats unfortunately the licenses that will be available for browsers is still up in the air. This could be ok for future inventory or smaller sites that can convert their holdings but unless an open source codec or license agreement can be adopted with little or no cost to browser distributors we are likely to see the Video Tag delegated to only a select number of formats.
In addition to the actual video are feature such as scripting of the interface to allow advertising, annotations and security for copyright protected content agreements.
Encapsulating the content in a distributable player is also very important. The percentage of off site plays vs simple linking would be a major drawback for sites that host their content remotely to reduce bandwidth and allow others to distribute their videos without licensing contracts. Basically every news clip, music video or funny cat clip that goes viral would not be available for redistribution.
Whether or not is is even possible to provide these features without a container such as flash is still to be discovered.
Although YouTube has begun working with HTML5 it seems for the foreseeable future they can not adopt it do to these drawbacks. As for smaller sites that do not rely on video as their main content the HTML5 Video tag may be a solution for training videos or other content where intricate controls are not necessary.
This will surly effect the adoption of the HTML5 Video Tag as Browser developers will be less likely to provide video codecs that cost licensing fees if there is no return on their money.
So for now it seems Flash is still the standard of choice and will remain so for content developers and hosting companies.
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