With all the “screw Flash, HTML5 is the way to go for iPad web video!” static in the air, nobody’s asking: is anyone actually USING HTML5 on a regular basis?
Correction — the web video blog MeFeedia actually asked. With a reported 30,000-strong video index (from the likes of YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, CBS, and ABC), they actually have enough of a body of data to get an idea of who’s backing Team Jobs vs. Team Adobe. Here’s what they found:
- Currently, 26% of all web video is available for playback using H.264-encoded video and HTML5 control wrappers (up from only 10% in January). This is why YouTube and Vimeo worked fine for video playback on iPad Day One. (Hulu, if you remember, supports H.264 video but still uses a Flash wrapper for metrics and DRM support.)
- Sites that support HTML5 will detect if an iPad’s requesting video playback and switch to an HTML5-compatible format. YouTube goes one further: it enables this functionality when its videos are embedded on other sites.
- Most major TV networks haven’t jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon. Similarly, news sites offer their most recent stories in HTML5 format; older articles have yet to be re-coded.
The out-of-the-gate success of the iPad is clearly driving what seems to be a steadily increasing (if not all-together grudging) acceptance of “okay, we gotta provide some HTML5 support.” Like the iPod and iPhone before it, the iPad wasn’t the first tablet computer (and won’t be the last), but it’s managed to capture enough of the buying public’s attention to position itself as a soft of de facto standard.
(As an interesting sidebar, one commenter on the original story wondered how much, if any, online porn was factored into MeFeedia’s data. It’s a valid point: one can argue that smut has driven most, if not all, tech advances, from the printing press to photography and filmmaking to home VCR’s to home Internet use to even the triumph of Blu-Ray over HD. As much as Uncle Steve wants to keep porn out of the App Store, Apple hardware owners are still going to seek it out — and the movers and shakers behind America’s billion-dollar “dirty little secret” would be fools not to make it readily available to them…)
(And one more “by the bye:” there’s still some controversy about whether H.264 is a “free” compression protocol, or if it’ll require licensing to content providers — and if so, whether said licensing costs will be passed on to viewers. More on that here.)