YouTube launches experimental HTML5 supported video player

A while back, YouTube released a demo of a video player based on HTML5. The demo was popular, and since then, the company posted a blog regarding a "pre-spring cleaning effort," which led users to let YouTube know that they wanted more content based on the update to the markup language. Google's given that the thumbs up, and announced today that an experimental version of an HTML5-supported video player is available.

The announcement blog post (found here) revealed the changes, though at the same time, the limitations were also listed; the HTML5 player doesn't support videos that have advertisements, annotations or captions, and it's obviously only compatible with browsers that support the new web standard as well as h.264 encoded video. That means that if you're using Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer with Google's ChromeFrame, you're in luck; anything else, too bad. While this sounds restricting, you have to keep in mind that it's still relatively new technology and that companies catch up pretty quickly when they need to. 

If you'd like to try a video that uses the new HTML5 video tag, visit YouTube's demo page. Be warned though, as YouTube stated that this will enable HTML5 video for your browser, provided that you meet all the aforementioned criteria. Additionally, if you've enabled other experimental projects with YouTube, you may not get the HTML5 player working correctly. You can manage your enabled or disabled experiments over at TestTube, should you need to. Let us know how it goes!

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59 Comments

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Guess Google just won't convert Youtube video to Theora. Seems they'll just use H.264, or some newer On2 codecs after the merger completes.

Aren't the Youtube videos encoded in h.264 already? Now you can just play them with your browser, rather than having Flash handle them. This let them turn on HTML5 support without having to re-encode their entire video library.

Maybe as they get more comfortable with HTML5, they'll start encoding new videos in Theora too so that Firefox/Opera users can view them.

To recap what others have been trying to say: Firefox doesn't support h.264 due to licensing issues, it supports Theora. Theora is, importantly, an open source and free codec. H.264 isn't. This alone is a pretty good reason to want Theora support over h.264.

If you are so shortsighted to see this as a problem with Firefox's lack of financial backing, then wahey, long live the expensive paid-for web. >_>

Kirkburn said,
To recap what others have been trying to say: Firefox doesn't support h.264 due to licensing issues, it supports Theora. Theora is, importantly, an open source and free codec. H.264 isn't. This alone is a pretty good reason to want Theora support over h.264.

If you are so shortsighted to see this as a problem with Firefox's lack of financial backing, then wahey, long live the expensive paid-for web. >_>

Agree completely, using and making licensed technology the standard kind of takes away from one of the benefits implementing video support into HTML5 would be achieving.

Edited by TSO, Jan 21 2010, 4:14pm :

I still see
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/loose.dtd">

coth said,
I still see
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/REC-html401-19991224/loose.dtd">
fail :P

Well, HTML5 is not better for me at all. I'm even willing to say that it takes up more CPU than the flash based player. My CPU jumps between 12-18% with the flash player in 480p and on HTML5 with standard quality, my CPU jumps between 12% and 50%

Omen1393 said,
Well, HTML5 is not better for me at all. I'm even willing to say that it takes up more CPU than the flash based player. My CPU jumps between 12-18% with the flash player in 480p and on HTML5 with standard quality, my CPU jumps between 12% and 50%

Then your decoder is doing it wrong. :P Because QuickTime passes H.264 decoding off to the GPU on my system, I get much lower CPU usage.

Much better on the Mac than Flash based players. Feels more faster and less resource hog. All HTML5 is like a game changer for all developers.

So far the experience sucks! Mostly due to the "limitations" such as no full screen support and mostly Firefox doesn't support H.264...

tooshpz said,
So far the experience sucks! Mostly due to the "limitations" such as no full screen support and mostly Firefox doesn't support H.264...
I guess that's why they're calling it an experiment...

Edited by TSO, Jan 21 2010, 4:16pm : typo

Soldiers33 said,
I want silverlight player :(

Holy crap yes, Silverlight does streaming video so much better than anything else out there right now. It still baffles me how my little netbook can play Netflix movies without even breaking a sweat, but Hulu stutters like a Sarah Palin interview. And yet people call SL bloated. Out of their freakin' minds, the lot of them.

/and flash videos are actually *worse* in Ubuntu+Firefox than Win7+IE, how the crap did that happen?

Edited by Joshie, Jan 21 2010, 9:48am :

Pc_Madness said,
Gah, waste of time Youtube, if it can't support Firefox then theres no point.

seriously a stupid comment to make.

It's Youtubes fault that fireforx hasn't pulled their finger out to support h.264? No. YouTube are releasing new technology that any innovative browser supports. Let's move away from the firefox bandwagon and get with some browsers that actually support this stuff.

NeonRainbow said,

seriously a stupid comment to make.

It's Youtubes fault that fireforx hasn't pulled their finger out to support h.264? No. YouTube are releasing new technology that any innovative browser supports. Let's move away from the firefox bandwagon and get with some browsers that actually support this stuff.

haha, I was simply going to say 'don't you mean "if firefox can't support it"...'. Ya took the words right out of my mouth. That's always been one of FireFox's downfalls, it doesn't have any REAL company or backing behind it (and don't get me started on Mozilla, they don't qualify as a company in my book), thus it is harder for them to PAY to license technologies like that and drops them behind the rest of the crowd.

NeonRainbow said,

seriously a stupid comment to make.

It's Youtubes fault that fireforx hasn't pulled their finger out to support h.264? No. YouTube are releasing new technology that any innovative browser supports. Let's move away from the firefox bandwagon and get with some browsers that actually support this stuff.

Not particularly. Firefox can't support h.264 due to licensing issues, they can't get a license for Linux versions of Firefox (which are modified versions of Mozillas). I think the community version of Chrome is the same?

Aside from which, the web is currently "free" as best that I'm aware, you don't have to pay any royalties / licenses to create a brand new web browser, but you would if you wanted to support h.264. Which means browsers won't.

Pc_Madness said,
Gah, waste of time Youtube, if it can't support Firefox then theres no point.

Isn't this a little near-sighted? I'm sure Firefox will support HTML5 eventually.

Pc_Madness said,
Gah, waste of time Youtube, if it can't support Firefox then theres no point.

Isn't this a little near-sighted? I'm sure Firefox will support HTML5 eventually.

rheostat said,

Isn't this a little near-sighted? I'm sure Firefox will support HTML5 eventually.

Firefox already supporting HTML5. It just doesn't support h.264 as this guy said, I guess:
http://www.neowin.net/news/youtube-launches-experimental-html5-supported-video-player#comment-974313

edit: Why not bbcode support in comments ?

Edited by Pupik, Jan 21 2010, 7:31am : fixed link

Pc_Madness said,
Gah, waste of time Youtube, if it can't support Firefox then theres no point.

lol... Google Chrome + Safari combined support this and has about half of Firefox's market share.

Have to post a new reply.. can't seem to edit my own comment.. I don't have permission.. but I found some videos.. isn't working on Chrome nightly builds... odd.. works in IE8 .. I didn't see any difference.. maybe I'm just really tired?

Fred 69 said,
Would be nice if they mentioned Opera 10.5 supports it too...

Firefox and Opera only support videos with Theora. The Linux build of Opera could also play h.264 videos via GStreamer (haven't checked yet).

Edited by Denis W., Jan 21 2010, 6:39am :

Tarrant64 said,
Works for me. Chrome OS X and Safari.

Good news is, it takes between 50% and 66% less processing power than with Flash.

Great news. Really pleased to hear this. Flash Player sucked most of my CPU, but YouTube was where I was usually using it.

:: Lyon :: said,
So what's the advantage of using an HTML5 player compared to a Flash player?

Dosen't use flash (add ons) to play the video.

I've yet to have it explained to me to my satisfaction why having an addon that handles video rendering is a bad thing on a whole. Expecially with stuff like...say... firefox, where they can't licnese thingslike...say h.264... but adobe? can. And silverlight's got a far far far better streaming mechanism then any implementation of 5 i've seen so far.

Just my opinion, but something that's built to do that sort of thing well and is loaded in separately (silverlight) strike sme as the better choice... it's almost like they're going HTML5 route specifically because of the strength of silver light streaming showing them how bad the Adobe choice is.

AgentGray said,
I've yet to have it explained to me to my satisfaction why having an addon that handles video rendering is a bad thing on a whole.

Because it's unnecessary. Flash is a horrible resource hog and I don't see why I should have a separate plug-in that's not as good as the built-in solution.

Tried to try it, but got "Your browser does not currently recognize any of the video formats available." on both Firefox 3.6 RC2 and ChromePlus.

Pupik said,
Tried to try it, but got "Your browser does not currently recognize any of the video formats available." on both Firefox 3.6 RC2 and ChromePlus.
Firefox does not have support for h.264, as it is technology that needs to be licensed, and is not open source.

I assume ChromePlus is based on Chromium, and therefore doesn't have h.264 either, for the same reasons. Chrome is different, as it's distributed by Google

Edited by Simon, Jan 21 2010, 5:12am :

Simon said,
...
I assume ChromePlus is based on Chromium, and therefore doesn't have h.264 either, for the same reasons. Chrome is different, as it's distributed by Google

Yeah, the source code Google distributes can't contain the H.264 decoder due to licensing reasons.

Licensing and patent reasons alone is enough to disqualify the H.264 codec from getting accepted by the W3C, but some people are still pushing it.

>limitations
>the HTML5 player doesn't support videos that have advertisements, annotations or captions
"Limitations," he says.

BaikenGuro said,
>limitations
>the HTML5 player doesn't support videos that have advertisements, annotations or captions
"Limitations," he says.

Captions are a pretty important component in accessibility. I don't know what's the current state in the HTML5 drafts, but I've seen several wanted implementations.

tiagosilva29 said,

Captions are a pretty important component in accessibility. I don't know what's the current state in the HTML5 drafts, but I've seen several wanted implementations.

It's definitely possible to add all of the annotations using JavaScript.