HTML5 vs Flash – Confusing Times Ahead For Web Video Delivery?

Interest in HTML5 and in particular its support for video (bypassing the need for Flash and other non-native plugins) is gaining momentum.  The status quo that has enabled Flash to assume the role of de facto video delivery method of choice looks set for a serious challenge with HTML5.

In this article on, Michael Cervieri examines the options for web publishers

While HTML5 is about much more than video, the native browser support it promises for Web video will have tremendous repercussions for publishers and consumers in the immediate future. Think VHS versus Betamax, BluRay versus HD DVD. Among others, Dailymotion and Vimeo have released HTML5 players and support. So too has YouTube, the site most responsible for turning Flash into the defacto Web video delivery platform in the first place.

The key question for many DAM vendors who have nailed their colours to the Flash mast with Flex based interfaces is whether Microsoft may take the opportunity to finally remove default support for the Flash player.  This would result in many corporate installations of Internet Explorer needing to roll out plugins and could curtail demand for Flex based systems significantly.

A mitigating factor which might slow down the take up of HTML5 is the bickering about which codecs to support:

…our leading HTML5 browsers don’t all support the same codecs. For example, Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari support and can therefore play back h.264. Opera, Chrome and Firefox — true to its open source ethos — support Ogg Theora. So HTML5 video producers need to decide which codec to use in order to target different browsers and platforms. This isn’t necessarily an easy task and some providers are keeping mum about how they’ll handle it.

For anyone with an interest in using video for web based Digital Asset Management, these are certainly confusing times.

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