August 16, 2013

HTML5: The Future of Online Video

Online video is becoming, in ever increasing numbers, a useful part of people’s lives. It’s also becoming an increasingly large part of operations for businesses as well, and as such, a lot more bandwidth is consumed in the viewing of online video. But with the rise of online video also comes the rise of ways to improve the consumption of said video, and HTML5 in video is becoming one of the biggest such methods around.

HTML5 offers advantages in terms of both presenting and consuming video online, including presenting video without the need for extra plugins and on more devices, making video more readily available and without the need for a lot more coding. This was deeply tempting for a lot of video providers, yet at the same time, there was one major problem in HTML5 video: a lack of protection measures for the content in question. This led to a recent decision from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C (NewsAlert)) to bring out the first draft of Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), a specification for HTML5 that would provide the desired protection for online video. While the tech community was less enthusiastic in its response, it was still a measure largely necessary to get the content providers on board.

But with HTML5 at least somewhat in place, video providers like Netflix can offer up a smoother, less restrictive way to view video than previous methods like Flash and Silverlight could offer. While there are still challenges to overcome for the new format, overcoming these challenges will likely see HTML5 as the top of the online video chain.

One of the biggest such challenges is the matter of support for both live and adaptive streaming. This has left the overall quality of the HTML5 experience a bit on the scattered side, and ultimately pales the experience a bit against native and plug-in systems. Additionally, support for HTML5 has proven a bit limited in terms of the hardware market. While Web browsers are doing pretty well in bringing out an HTML5 experience, there are plenty of products capable of presenting streaming video, like Smart TV systems and connected Blu-ray players, that are further complicating the overall picture. HTML5 development has produced some measures, however, to help bring the rest of the connection experience into its fullest potential, including the MediaStream API.

Those looking for a video player system should consider a few important aspects of the experience to get the most out of the operation. Speed is extremely important; recent studies have discovered that, should a video take more than two seconds to load, viewers will click away from the video and find something else. The player should also be prepared to work well with ad networks and analytics systems to provide the best return on investment and tracking of performance, which can impact the development of future videos. Also, it’s worth having a choice of several different HTML5 platforms, which in turn can improve the overall development process, allowing the largest number of overall devices—and thus the largest number of potential viewers—to be brought into the fold.

image via shutterstock

It’s hard to deny that HTML5 is offering a lot of advantages when it comes to video. The impact on the mobile market alone is worth considering HTML5 closer, and there are plenty more from there. While there are still some roadblocks to this particular future, the overall path is quite clear, and HTML5 is going to make up a big part of the video landscape.

Edited by Ryan Sartor


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