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Many Homegrown HTML5 Solutions Are Already Broken

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Companies that have created their own in-house solutions for streaming HTML5 video may be in for an unpleasant surprise. According to Jeff Whatcott, CMO of Brightcove, many homegrown solutions don't stream correctly to the latest devices and platforms.

In a StreamingMedia.com webinar entitled "The Truth About HTML5 Video Performance and Compatibility," Whatcott offered guides for understanding HTML5 video and putting it to use. HTML5 is literally the future of the web, Whatcott said, as it's the standard that defines web pages. Browsers are rapidly supporting it and end-users are rapidly upgrading their browsers. Not everyone can view HTML5 content, however. An HTML5-only site cuts out 30 percent of the audience, he offered.

HTML5 video is still young: Whatcott compared it to where Flash was at in 2002, when the platform has just started supporting video. While HTML5 can play video, don't look for more in the way of advanced features.

HTML5 is currently most relevant for the mobile audience, thanks to Apple's decision to turn away from Flash, and Adobe's decision to stop development of Flash for mobile devices.

In crafting an HTML5 video strategy, Whatcott urged webinar attendees to be pragmatic, not dogmatic, and understand what HTML5 can and cannot do. He guided viewers through the specifications that make up HTML5, including the containers and codecs supported. Advanced features such as adaptive bitrate, playlists, branded players, DRM, in-stream advertising, and video analytics will all be a part of HTML5 in the future, he said, but aren't part of it now.

Even when streaming to mobile devices, using HTML5 is complex. Playback is fractured among various versions of the Apple iPhone, Apple iPad, and Android devices, so that they'll display the same pages and videos differently. Older homegrown solutions may break on new devices, Whatcott said, adding that it happens more often than people think.

During the question and answer section, Whatcott fielded questions on specific problems, such as synching an online slide show or dynamically linking to cue points. Attendees also wanted to know how long Flash would remain on the desktop and how quickly they should move on adopting HTML5.

The full webinar is archived and is available for viewing.

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