HTML and CSS Reference
In May 2011, Google announced WebRTC, an open technology
for voice and video on the Web, based on the HTML5 specifica-
tions. WebRTC uses VP8 (the video codec in WebM) and two
audio codecs optimised for speech with noise and echo can-
cellation, called iLBC, a narrowband voice codec, and iSAC, a
bandwidth-adaptive wideband codec (see http://sites.google .
As the project website says, “We expect to see WebRTC support
in Firefox, Opera, and Chrome soon!”
Yo u ' v e s e e n h o w H T M L 5 g i v e s y o u t h e i r s t c r e d i b l e a l t e r n a t i v e
to third-party plugins. The incompatible codec support currently
makes it harder than using plugins to simply embed video in a
page and have it work cross-browser.
On the plus side, because video and audio are now regular ele-
ments natively supported by the browser (rather than a “black
box” plugin) and offer a powerful API, they're extremely easy
standards knowledge, you can easily build your own custom
controls, or do all sorts of crazy video manipulation with only a
few lines of code. As a safety net for browsers that can't cope,
we recommend that you also add links to download your video
files outside the <video> element.
There are already a number of ready-made scripts available
that allow you to easily leverage the HTML5 synergies in your
own pages, without having to do all the coding yourself. jPlayer
that degrades to Flash in legacy browsers, can be styled with
CSS, and can be extended to allow playlists. For video, you've
already met Playr, MediaElement.js and LeanBack Player which
are my weapons of choice, but many other players exist. There's
a useful video player comparison chart at http://praegnanz.de/
ers. In the next chapter, you'll learn how to manipulate native
media elements for some truly amazing effects, or at least our
heads bouncing around the screen—and who could conceive
of anything more amazing than that?