YouTube has announced it now supports HTML5 video by default on the Web, in favor of traditional Flash support.
The popular video streaming and sharing platform, owned by Google, published a blog post announcing that HTML5 is now enabled by default in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and beta versions of Firefox. In addition to defaulting to the HTML5 player, YouTube is now deprecating the “old style” Flash <object> embeds and Flash API; it is moving to <iframe> embeds and the iframe API instead.
“These advancements have benefitted not just YouTube’s community, but the entire industry,” wrote YouTube engineering manager Richard Leider. “Other content providers like Netflix and Vimeo, as well as companies like Microsoft and Apple have embraced HTML5 and been key contributors to its success. By providing an open standard platform, HTML5 has also enabled new classes of devices like Chromebooks and Chromecast. You can support HTML5 by using the iframe API everywhere you embed YouTube videos on the Web.”
(Related: Why 2015 will be a pivotal year for HTML5)
YouTube first provided support for the HTML5 <video> tag in 2010, but according to Leider, the company was initially held back by the technology’s limitations. In the ensuing years, HTML5 has added support for adaptive bitrate through Media Source Extensions, the VP9 video codec for higher-quality video resolution, and Encrypted Media Extensions and common encryption schemes.
Leider also pointed out that YouTube’s HTML5 support extends to WebRTC in-browser audio/video communication as well, along with a selection of new full-screen APIs enabled with a standard HTML UI.
The World Wide Web Consortium elevated HTML5 to “recommendation status” in October 2014, effectively standardizing the technology.