YouTube Lacks Confidence in HTML5 <Video> Tag

Pulkit Chandna

HTML5 and Flash have just begun sparring and there is still no time frame on when the two will start trading some heavy blows. According to YouTube, there is still a fairly long way to go for the business end of this bout. Despite what Steve Jobs and many of the internet's self-styled experts might tend to think, YouTube is still not convinced that the the HTML5 <video> tag can replace Flash in the immediate future.

“It's important to understand what a site like YouTube needs from the browser in order to provide a good experience for viewers as well as content creators. We need to do more than just point the browser at a video file like the image tag does - there’s a lot more to it than just retrieving and displaying a video,” YouTube programmer John Harding wrote on the YouTube API blog.

Harding cited a number of reason for YouTube's current lack of confidence in HTML5 as far as online video distribution is concerned.  He stressed the need for a standard video format, which is obviously not the case right now as the propriety H.264 codec and the open WebM format are locked in a battle to determine the most popular HTML5 video format – the HTML5 spec does not require support for a standard format.

“The <video> tag certainly addresses the basic requirements and is making good progress on meeting others, but the <video> tag does not currently meet all the needs of a site like YouTube:”

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