Commentary: The Five Key Myths About HTML5

[The following is an excerpt from Jan Ozer's Streaming Media Learning Center blog. Click here to read the entire post.]

I was preparing for a webinar last week and scanned 46 websites to see how many used HTML5 as the primary playback option for video. This was a mix of media sites (14), business to consumer sites (22) and business to business sites (10). The answer was 1 - Wikipedia - with YouTube offering HTML5 as an alternative to Flash. Even Apple - the sugar doesn't melt in my mouth, we believe in open standards -- poster child for HTML5 uses the QuickTime plug-in for displaying video on Apple.com. 

That got me thinking; why would any site where video was mission critical use HTML5 today, or even in the near term? There’s no standardized way to protect their content, no streaming server that can efficiently dole the content out to multiple viewers on different browsers and no scheme for adaptive streaming. There isn’t even full support for all advertising servers.

Looking at it from the other direction, the installed base of HTML5 compatible browsers is only around 40-50%, depending upon who you ask, and you need to produce using at least two, perhaps three codecs to service those browsers. That made me realize that HTML5 is a FUD and media driven fiction that won't be widely relevant for at least three or four years, and then only if the relevant parties make some hard decisions that they've as of yet shied away from. 

So here are my five key myths about HTML5. See here for the detailed explanation behind each.

Myth 1. Current Producers Hate Flash

Myth 2. HTML5 is Ready for Prime Time

Myth 3. Group Standards are the Best Way to Advance Technology Development

Myth 4. iPad Compatibility Equals HTML5 Compatibility

Myth 5. H.264 Video Equals HTML5-Compatible Video

HTML5 came to prominence with Apple's decision to exclude Flash from the iPad. As part of that furor, HTML5 become the flavor of the month, and has garnered significant press and developer attention that far exceed its short term usability for most sites that don't simply adopt technology for technology's sake. HTML5's value proposition today, and for the foreseeable future, is "encode in more formats that offer no advantage over H.264, and play on fewer computers, and distribute your on-demand video with less quality of service, fewer features and less ability to monetize than you can with Flash or Silverlight. Oh, and forget live."

Wake me up when HTML5 is ready for prime time.

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