Leave The Technical Garb To The Pros

Prior to HTML5, there was no standard way to embed video into a web page. Just about every web video you’ve seen has been played through some third-party plug-in such as QuickTime, Flash, or maybe even RealPlayer. Most of these plug-ins are common enough that you may not even notice you’re computer is using them. Unfortunately, with new technology comes new problems.

HTML5 supports a new code to define a standard for web video: the <video> tag. Since we’ve started integrating mobile videos into our website, I’ve been doing some research of my own to see how this new tag works. There are relatively simple commands that allow you to easily change attributes of the embedded video. I got a couple test pages working and I must say, it looks clean and professional. The downfall of this tag, however, is that support for this element is pretty limited at the moment.

Although the video looks good on browsers such as Chrome and Safari and supported mobile devices like the iPhone/iPad, it won’t play at all on Mozilla Firefox. The less common video format Theora .ogv/.ogg is needed for proper playback instead of the typical h.264 video. Why? Because Mozilla can’t afford the h.264 licensing through the MPEG LA group. Internet Explorer, on the other hand, will eventually support the <video> tag in version 9 but for now IE8 users will have to deal with empty screens. What a mess!

What does that mean for us video and web developers?  Provide options- lots of them. It seems as though there has to be multiple encodings of the same video to ensure proper playback on a wide variety of browsers and platforms, at least until HTML5 gains a bigger foundation in the web world. Through tactical web coding, our web developers can have websites automatically detect what browser and platform the user is running and play the correct video.

Don’t know how h.264, Theora .ogg, or html5 works? Then perhaps your site may not be reaching your maximum audience. DDA’s new mobile divison, AppleSAVVY, can take care of all the technical garb so you don’t have to worry about it. Visit our site for more information!