A majority of web video is now HTML5-ready, showing that web standards — and Apple — are winning the day when it comes to how video is delivered online. Video viewable in an HTML5 video player now accounts for 54 percent of all video online.


A majority of web video is now HTML5-ready, according to new research from MeFeedia, showing that web standards — and Apple — are winning the day when it comes to how video is delivered and viewed online. The research shows that the amount of video viewable in an HTML5 video player has doubled in the last five months and now accounts for 54 percent of all video content online.

It’s important to note that HTML5 video is not replacing Flash video on the web, but augmenting it; most HTML5 videos today are available through a universal embed code that auto-detects the device requesting the video and serves up the appropriate version. That means for most of these videos, there are at least two versions — one Flash and one HTML5  — stored online.

It’s not only HTML5-ready web browsers that are pushing the envelope; it’s a multitude of mobile devices, which have caused publishers to rethink the formats for delivering online videos. The biggest proponent in the move to HTML5 video has been Apple, which refused to support Adobe’s Flash on its iOS devices — including the iPhone and iPad — meaning that publishers that wanted to have videos on those devices would have to turn to standards-based, in-browser delivery.

The launch of the iPad, in particular, has been instrumental in leading this change. Despite the iPhone being HTML5-only for years, the amount of video available through the nascent web standard in January was just 10 percent. But owing to the iPad’s larger screen real estate and its propensity to be used as a video consumption device, many more publishers were forced to jump on board. At the time it was launched, just one-quarter of web video was available in an HTML5 video player. Now it’s up to more than half of all web videos.

The iPad has been the biggest driver of HTML5 video, but all mobile devices should benefit from the change. Despite the fact that newer Android-based devices come with Flash pre-installed, theoretically giving them access to all the web’s video, our own tests have shown that it’s not always a great experience. In fact, sometimes it’s shockingly bad.

While launching the video in a separate Flash player might help, Flash is still a processor hog and mobile devices don’t really have the gigahertz, nor the spare battery power, to keep Flash happy. HTML5, which delivers video natively (without extra software) is leaner. That’s bad news for Adobe, which has been banking on embedding the Flash player into mobile and connected TV devices. But if a native HTML5 implementation is available for most videos online, it might be smarter for those videos to be delivered in HTML5 than in Flash. Why waste cycles and power if a device doesn’t need to?

It seems that even Adobe has conceded this point, recently rolling out an HTML5 video player widget that serves up standards-based video to devices that don’t support Flash. The widget works by trying to serve up HTML5 video, but defaults to Flash when the standard isn’t supported. With mobile viewing growing in importance, that delivery scenario may be the future for most web video, which leaves Adobe Flash hanging on by its fingernails (or rather, a widget).

To learn more about Adobe’s plans for HTML5, come see CTO Kevin Lynch at this year’s NewTeeVee Live on Nov. 10 in San Francisco.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Cameron Russell.

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  1. Based on personal experience I’d say that this falls under the 54% of all statistics are made up. I’d say that unless I am specifically searching yt, then less than 10% of the videos I come across are non-flash.

  2. I don’t agree w/ the author of this article. YouTube hasn’t fully switched; and other major sources of video (i.e. Netflix) hasn’t adopted HTML5 either. It’d be nice to understand how the author came up with 54%.

  3. I don’t know about other sites, but when reading tech sites, most of the video available works on my ipad. And this isnt just youtube stuff. Most porn sites even work on the ipad. 54% though? I kind of doubt it, but its probably at least 30%

  4. Use iPad to go to YouTube on Safari, and you will notice it is serving video using HTML5

  5. 3 betting sites I used to use have live sport streams are Flash-based, Eurosport just switched to Silverlight for video streaming. Where are the HTML5 streams?

  6. So what you’re saying is that half of video sites offer HTML 5 as an alternative to Flash rather than as a replacement? So that means half of all sites don’t care about HTML 5 at all?

    And, looking at the article, this isn’t really HTML5 at all but rather H.264 codec… which Flash plays as well. Also this apparently doesn’t include any adult sites.

    Sorry to interrupt your wet dream. Apple remain a minority, Flash is still dominant and your article is rubbish.

    You may return to your wishful thinking.

  7. Steve W, Indialantic FL Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    “…most HTML5 videos today are available through a universal embed code that autodetects the device requesting the video and serving up the appropriate version.”

    That’s the problem. It detects the device, not whether Flash is installed. If a PC is capable of running Flash, it will not be offered HTML5 if it does not have Flash installed.

  8. Until I can visit XfinityTV.com and view the insane amount of cable TV content on my iPad/iPhone – HTML5 is getting their asses beat in the “war.” Sorry.

  9. You only talk about video. How is that winning the HTML5 war? There is much more you can do with flash besides video. Such as…


    (I am not affiliated with aviary.com in any way)

  10. I have yet to come across a HTML5 video… Oh wait I don’t own any apple crap…

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