BBC has not fully moved its iPlayer service over to HTML5 just yet but has announced that it is launching an opt-in beta program. Currently, iPlayer uses Adobe's Flash but plans to completely phase out use of the plug-in.
Users on the beta program will notice a slightly different volume switch which has been designed with desktop and mobile users in mind. During the beta stage, the HTML5 version will gain feature parity with the Flash version. As they improve the player they will be taking user's feedback.
Content delivered by the HTML5 player will use the MPEG-DASH streaming standard and video will be encoded using the avc3 codec. Many of the TV shows will be available for the new player from day one, however live streams will not work and the user will be prompted to use the Flash-based player.
Anyone wishing to switch to the HTML5 player shouldn't have any issues in doing so provided they use the following browsers:
- Google Chrome (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android 4.4+, iOS 6+)
- Firefox 41 (Windows and Mac OS X)
- Opera 32 (Windows and Mac OS X)
- Internet Explorer 11 and Microsoft Edge (Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile)
- Safari (iOS 6+)
BBC says that some browsers will not be able to join the beta program due to limitations of their configuration. For instance, Firefox on Linux lacks Media Source Extensions support, the site reports back "Sorry, we can't provide you with the HTML5 Player beta because your browser doesn't support Media Source Extensions" then goes on to suggest using Chrome.
Other browsers and platforms that will not be eligible to join the beta program include:
- Internet Explorer on Windows 8.1 or below
- Safari on Mac OS X
- Opera on Mac OS X 10.8 or older
- Firefox on Linux or other UNIX-based operating systems
- Windows Phone 8.1 or below
- Android 4.3 or older
With this latest move, BBC joins the ranks of Twitch and YouTube in ditching the bug prone Flash plugin. In 2013, video streaming site, Netflix, moved from Microsoft's proprietary Silverlight plugin to HTML5.