The lie that HTML(5) video is plugin less.

21 Apr 2014, Posted by Malaika in Onlinelib Blog

lie1-1The title sounds a bit harsh, but it describes exactly the current situation about that HTML(5) video is plugin less.

In the last 2 years we found so many posts about the HTML(5) video standard. Many of these posts mention that the HTML5 video is killing adobe flash technology cause you don’t have to install a plugin.

Is that really true?

We at Onlinelib have to develop now in seven programming languages to hit all platforms, all devices. We use more than 500 frameworks about video that we think gives us the expert know to say that the HTML(5) video standard is not plugin-less.

Technical information:
The HTML(5) videotag is addressed by javascript inside the browser. The javascript browser engine works in the background to interpret this video tag. All browser, no matter if firefox, google chrome , MS IE , Apple Safari , etc. have different plugin video wrapper and different decoders and file-transmuxers that co-exists on different plattforms. They also use different frameworks and mostly fast C codes libraries/plugins which allow the video playback inside the browser.

So, we have the situation that not one company, like Adobe defined in the past the video standards with the help thru their flash player plugin,  we have now several plugins and playback solutions in each browser which were developed by different developers of the browser manufactures to playback HTML(5) videos. 

Do you really think now that HTML(5) video is plugin less?

Is Javascript able to decode and display at a bitstream level the H.264 or AAC stream? Of course not, cause javascript is too slow to do this at bitstream level. That´s why you will need plugins inside browsers.

Unfortunately , the HTML(5) video streaming standard is currently not a real video standard yet! Google chrome has its own specifications , Microsoft IE, Mozilla also have different standards. When i compare the video decoders in these browsers, like H.264 baseline profile for example, i saw that baseline is nearly supported on 90% of the internal h.264 decoder. Main or High Profiles that you need for HQ playback of 720p or 1080p resolutions are only 20% correct  supported and full implemented. H.265 is seems to be very far away from a browser implementation.

Another good point is that we saw on top of this facts, that streaming portals like netflix (which i love by the way) are experimenting and developing their own in-house HTML(5) plugins. The reason for this is that HTML(5) currently does not offer adaptive streaming , live streaming or DRM. This technology is important for companies like netflix and a must have contract rule from the content licensors.  As far as we have seen, only chrome book had installed the netflix plugins.

I hope i gave you a little information about the HTML(5) video standard that currently exists where you see that HTML(5) is far far away to be called a Plugin-less solution.

We really like to develop HTML(5) application, we will never develop a 100% native flash web side anymore. Javascript is on a good way, but we didn’t see a global standard for video is coming soon.

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