HTML and CSS Reference
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Embedding Video with HTML5
Embedding video on the web used to be a very long-winded process. Before
Flash became popular, all of the browsers, computers, and even the same
version of the same operating system had varying support for codecs and
containers. There was no real common format, and you could not simply embed
several formats of the same video so that the browser could choose the correct
video for the user.
Flash came along and fixed most of those problems. By requiring only one
plugin to play all formats, it was the ''knight in shining armor'' for video on the
web. So much so that almost every web site used it to deliver videos to their
Then smartphones came about and Flash for mobile became a nightmare. It
required high amounts of CPU, which would drain the mobile phone's battery
like a vampire. The same could be said for Flash on almost any portable device,
racking up large amounts of CPU power, which had an effect on not just the
performance of the machine but the battery draw from cooling the CPU and
powering it. To this day, Flash still consumes large amounts of CPU on Macs.
In addition to this, developers often didn't produce Flash-based content with
mobile phone handsets in mind. So when watching a video on a mobile that was
targeted for desktop, you would usually get a 500 MB HD video that wasn't
really optimized for your handset. This also has an effect on user's pockets, as
that 500 MB per month data plan would be consumed by a single video in
Along came HTML5. Finally, the focus was on the browser, standards, and
hardware acceleration without the need for third-party plugins.
HTML5 brought about HTML5 video. HTML5 video provides a way for browsers
to support decoding video within the browser regardless of the codecs
supported on the platform. This now means that if a user is using Android
Browser, they will definitely have support for WebM or MP4; and if they are
using Safari browser, they will definitely support MP4 but not WebM. Not only
this, but HTML5 video also supports multiple video sources of different types.
This means that you can provide video files that are optimized for each codec
and container. The browser will pick the best codec and container from the list
of sources, sudo-stream it, and deliver it to the user's browser.