CBS Uses ‘Star Trek’ To Explore HTML5 Frontier

Star Trek Enterprise fans can watch any episode from Seasons 1-4 at as long as their browser plays nice with Flash — or, as I realized when I checked on a whim, a very limited grab bag of episodes if they want to geek out on an iPad. Seven episodes fall somewhere between better than none and not anywhere close to parity, enough to make me ask Anthony Soohoo what the disparity says about the network’s strategy. It turns out I’d wandered into an experiment with HTML5 as CBS Interactive (NYSE: CBS) tries to figure out the best approach to a two-party online video world. Soohoo, CBSi’s SVP & GM of entertainment, ducked out of E3 for a bit to talk about it.

“What you see right now is a small, little experiment,” Soohoo explained, with Star Trek Enterprise as an “ideal” subject, in part because of its fan base and because CBS owns it. “We’re currently just testing for the time being.” CBSi plans to move towards HTML5 parity with Flash video but first Soohoo and his team need to find the right mix of tools. It’s not hard to offer the video in both versions but it’s far more complicated than that.

“Our goal is over time at some point having content parity. The tools aren