Online video management firm Brightcove is going after media companies that want to make their videos available on the Apple iPad by adding a whole new feature set to deliver iPad-compatible HTML5 video. The company also has unveiled a road map to eventually bring along features like advertising and advanced analytics support that will make HTML5 video playback more competitive with Adobe Flash video.
As we’ve noted in the past, the iPad doesn’t support Flash, which means that web video publishers — the majority of which use the Flash player for video delivery — will have to find new ways to reach the device. Sure, they could build iPad-specific apps, but many will also want to ensure that their web video experience translates to the new device as well. HTML5 provides one way to do so, and Brightcove hopes to provide services to make it easy to target the device.
While the iPad won’t be on sale until this Saturday, April 3, Brightcove says customers like the New York Times and Time Inc. are already using the “Brightcove Experience for HTML5″ to create web sites that are custom-built to seamlessly deliver video to the device. That begins with device auto-detection, which enables Brightcove to determine what device a user is connecting to the page from, and sending the appropriate video. For desktops and most other mobile devices, that will mean displaying video in Flash, but when an iPad user connects, they will get a custom HTML5 video player.
Brightcove will transcode existing video assets into compatible H.264 videos for playback on the iPad for publishers that wish to enable HTML5 video. The new features will also enable publishers to create multi-title playlists which can be viewed whether a user is connecting from a PC, iPad or other mobile device.
While publishers will be able to display HTML5 video on the iPad, there are still a number of features that are standard for Flash that have yet to be fully fleshed out in HTML5, such as advertising, analytics, digital rights management, and the creation of custom video players and user interfaces. At first Brightcove will support just basic playback on the iPad, with a small amount of player customization. But over the next three to nine months, it will be working to add more features. By the end of three months, Brightcove expects to have more robust player customization as well as support for Apple’s multi-bitrate streaming and some basic advertising and analytics. By the end of 2010, it hopes to have a complete analytics and advertising features for HTML5 video.
Brightcove’s announcement follows similar news from multiple technology companies and publishers seeking to get ready for HTML5 video. Rival Ooyala, for instance, announced that it is also rolling out support for HTML5 video on the iPad. CBS appears to be testing out an HTML5 implementation on CBS.com specifically designed for iPad video. And earlier this year, YouTube and Vimeo both rolled out their own versions of HTML5 video players.
For Brightcove, supporting video on the iPad just expands the number of devices that it can reach. Earlier this year, the white-label video platform announced support for Flash 10.1 to deliver video on BlackBerry, Google Android, Palm, Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. It also previously announced the ability to reach multiple Internet-connected TV platforms, such as Boxee, Roku, Vudu, and Yahoo TV Widgets.
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