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CBS Testing Out HTML5 for iPad Videos

It looks like CBS (s CBS) will use HTML5 and H.264 to allow iPad viewers that connect to to watch its videos, if early test video pages discovered by The Other Mac Blog and examined by MacRumours are any indication of the company’s plans. If successful, the move to HTML5 by CBS could be followed by other broadcasters and premium video sites that wish to get their video content on the iPad without using Adobe (s ADBE) Flash.

Apple’s (s AAPL) iPad doesn’t support Flash, which is used by YouTube (s GOOG), Hulu, and most other sites for delivering video over the Internet. As a result, video publishers will have to find different ways to deliver videos to the device. We first speculated that many media companies would turn to selling videos through iTunes or creating apps to natively deliver video experiences on the upcoming device, but HTML5 provides another way for them to do so.

The Other Mac Blog uncovered several iPad test videos on, which were found to have HTML5 and webkit calls referenced in their CSS files. Furthermore, MacRumors found that if users visit using the iPad SDK Simulator, which makes the site think you are using an iPad, they are sent to a different version of a video than would be displayed normally in Flash. The videos, which appears to be ready to be delivered in HTML5, aren’t playable (yet), according to MacRumors, but the implementation shows how at least on publisher may choose to sidestep the lack of Flash video when the device is launched in about a week.

CBS’s expected adoption of HTML5 comes after several companies have thrown their weight behind the new standard for delivering video. Microsoft announced last week that it would support HTML5 video and H.264 encoding in Internet Explorer 9, the next version of its web browser. Meanwhile, YouTube and Vimeo have both launched HTML5 implementations for their web video sites.

The news also comes as H.264 licensing body MPEG LA recently extended its royalty-free license of the video encoding format until 2016. The codec has already become somewhat of an industry standard online video, but the royalty-free license could push even more publishers and technology providers to adopt H.264 as their encoding format of choice.

Related content on NewTeeVee: Sorry, HTML5 Crowd, Flash Ain’t Dead Yet

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Forecast: Tablet App Sales To Hit $8B by 2015 (subscription required)

14 Responses to “CBS Testing Out HTML5 for iPad Videos”

  1. One correction – there is an App for Youtube already on the iPad – so people wanting to get their videos on the iPad just need to upload via Youtube or they can make them available from as a podcast via iTunes. There are plenty of easy options for video producers to get their videos up on an iPad when it launches.


    Rob Walch
    Host – Today in iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Podcast

  2. Hi Ryan, it may be more useful to speak of VIDEO/H.264 and VIDEO/Theora, rather than “‘HTML5’ video”… the biggest “HTML5” desktop browser is Firefox, and the biggest “HTML5” mobile browser is Opera, neither of which can render video content which has been reworked to accommodate a certain proprietary device which intentionaly fails to support existing worldly web standards…. ;-)

    (I’ve put “HTML5” in quotes, because although the Apple-dominated WhatWG has finished with its document, this is merely a submission to the actual W3C HTML process… the media-relations have gotten a bit ahead of themselves on the spec.)

    For what it’s worth, Adobe Flash Player has included H.264 decoders since 2007, along with its Sorenson and On2 decoders… the markup itself isn’t “a new standard in delivering video”, just a different way to call the video publishers already use.


    • Ryan Lawler

      John – Thanks for your comment and clarification as always. And of course, the issue of H.264 vs. Ogg is one that will continue to plague HTML5 adoption. However, with IE9 around the corner and most folks already encoding H.264 video, I think Ogg will be left as a sort of odd man out. (As a side note, it’s tough to include all these issues in EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE about HTML5 adoption.)

      If the world does move to HTML5, though, I just don’t see publishers encoding in yet another format to support those two browsers, and especially not as iPhone/iPad continues to grab share of overall video distributed over broadband and mobile networks.