4 out of 5 videos are encoded in H.264

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A full 80 percent of videos are encoded in H.264 and, at least theoretically, could be delivered to an iPad with the HTML5 video tag, according to new data from MeFeedia. That doesn’t mean they will be, or that they are… just that if a video publisher wanted to use the same video asset for distribution on the iPad, it wouldn’t have to re-encode it. It would just have to switch out the video player from Flash to HTML5.

The latest figures show just how far the industry has come in adopting the H.264 video format as the de facto standard for video encoding. The share of videos encoded in H.264 has risen from just 10 percent in January 2010, to 80 percent less than two years later.

Much of that change can be attributed to the introduction of the iPad and other connected devices, most of which support H.264 hardware acceleration. In May 2010, not long after the initial launch of the iPad, MeFeedia reported that just 26 percent of videos were encoded in H.264.

Wider availability of HTML5-ready files is having an effect on the strategies of other big players in the video delivery market. Adobe, for instance, has announced that it is taking a step back from mobile Flash development. And despite being released with an open-source license last May, Google’s WebM video format has yet to gain any serious traction. MeFeedia reports that less than 2 percent of videos indexed were encoded with the VP8 codec that Google acquired from On2 Technologies.

As even more devices take advantage of H.264 video, we can expect that number to increase even more. Until we see broader adoption of device with hardware acceleration for a competing video format, it’s pretty clear that H.264 has won the codec war — at least in the short term.

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