Just like a Flash, YouTube switches to HTML5

28 Jan 2015

YouTube has made the switch from Adobe Flash to HTML5 videos after several years of trials and testing.

Now in use, by default, in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and in beta version of Firefox, the shift comes about after a four-year evolution of HTML5, improving across the board to the point where Adobe Flash is being left behind.

Richard Leider, engineering manager at YouTube, noted several key aspects of both the video streaming site as well as HTML5, which made the switch make sense.

Firstly HTML5 is now commonly used in smart TVs and other streaming devices, a sign of Adobe Flash’s flagging popularity. Then there are elements such as MediaSource Extensions, which help with live streaming, becoming more attractive on the back of improving buffer times.

HTML5 also allows you to take advantage of the open VP9 codec, “which gives you higher quality video resolution with an average bandwidth reduction of 35pc,” explains Leider.

Perhaps more significant to the average viewer, though, is the improved full screen presentation of videos.

“Using the new fullscreen APIs in HTML5, YouTube is able to provide an immersive fullscreen viewing experience (perfect for those 4K videos), all with standard HTML UI,” he adds.

YouTube image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic