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YouTube kind to HTML5, says Flash is still needed

updated 04:50 pm EDT, Tue June 29, 2010

YouTube says Flash essential for DRM, scaling

YouTube Software Engineer John Harding today explained that the video site was still closely tied to Flash. While the site is "excited" about HTML5 and is using it for most videos in its optional player and mobile devices, many of the site's features still need Adobe's plugin to work well or to work at all. At a minimum, embedding needs the option as videos otherwise can't port over their ads, annotations or notes.

Many of the secondary features considered important to YouTube also need Flash to work. As HTML5 just provides direct access to the video, it can't dynamically adjust the buffer or the bitrate of the video to reflect the quality of service or the sheer load on YouTube's servers. The new web standard can't yet fully address microphone and webcams, doesn't always elegantly scale to full screen, and sometimes has trouble with content showing over top.

The recently introduced YouTube movie rental service also won't work as it needs copy protection due to studio requests.

Harding was emphatic that HTML5 was making "good progress" and that some issues like scaling were being addressed, but he warned that for now there were too many issues on both the creation and playback sides to ignore. Standards would play a part: YouTube has had to fork its video to support both H.264, which Apple and Microsoft are endorsing alongside Google, and the WebM standard Google created to help Chrome, Firefox and other browsers use a patent-free format. Splintering support makes it difficult to advance video technology.

WebM may not help Google's video development, as the MPEG-LA group and members like Apple have warned of patent issues that might not be addressed simply by claiming the format is royalty-free.

by MacNN Staff



  1. facebook_Matthew

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2010


    Content protection

    Content protection is mentioned for YouTube rentals and this I think is the main reason we will have plugins, either Flash, Silverlight or Quicktime to view video for quite some time on the web. As large content owners (tv networks, movie studios) want to protect the video stream so that users cannot easily download the video source file, as you can do so now with HTML5 video. With the way browsers fighting over video codec, I don't think browsers will ever see eye to eye over some sort of DRM method to stop users from downloading a video stream, especially an organization like Mozilla who are likely to be against the whole idea.

  1. facebook_Mark

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2010


    arrogance of Apple

    It amazes me that Steve Jobs thinks he is so important that he can dictate global standards. The man is a control freak in the guise of a friendly computer geek.

    Flash will take YEARS and years to be phased out. His decision to not support flash has NOTHING to do with this, but ALL to do with politics between large IT companies. Apple have long turned their backs on universal systems under the pretense of "thinking different" and marketing the schmarmy, superior snobbishness that we humans are to weak to resist. Clever marketing, but seriously lacking in integrity.

    No Steve, you need to get flash compliant, and when HTML 5 takes over, THEN you could stop supporting it, but do not try to impose your limited and controlling view on people who like your products, yeah?

    Mark, UK.

  1. facebook_Justin

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2010


    comment title

    ITs only still needed cause YouTube wants to push the c*** flash ads at us. When you join the HTML5 beta, the only videos that don't play in HTML5 are the ones with built in ads. Of course, since that's 75% of the site now, most videos don't play. Absolute shame this is what YouTube became, that money hungry corporation Google needs to keep out of good things. The only thing they will EVER be good for is search, stay OUT of the rest of the world.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yes, how dare Google try to make money on a bandwidth and storage hog like YouTube! They should be just doing everything for free, none of this 'gouging' the customer.

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