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It’s a common problem when publishing video content on websites that it may not be viewable by all of your website visitors. For many years users have required browser plug-ins like Flash, QuickTime and Silverlight in order to access video content on the web.

In recent years, the popularity of mobile web browsing has highlighted this draw back, as many popular mobile devices are unable to support the required plug-ins that play video. This has prompted many of our clients to ask about how to publish video content on their websites, which can be accessed on both desktop and mobile devices.

A quick answer to this problem is to use YouTube to host your video content, embedding the YouTube video player with your web pages. Hosting video content on YouTube offers a number of benefits;

    • Content is delivered via Google’s content delivery network (CDN)
    • Servers are configured to deliver video content at high speed
    • Content is converted into different formats and therefore delivers the appropriate version depending on the device accessing it
    • It reduces the space required on your own web server reducing hosting costs

Some briefs however require that video content is hosted on the website's own server. This will simply keep full control over the way in which video content is delivered and, for this case, HTML5 would be the answer.

What is HTML5 Video?

HTML5 logo1HTML5 is a set of web standards being developed by the “Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group”.

The standard includes many new features for more dynamic web applications and interfaces and one of these components being implemented is the <video> element. HTML5 is the very technology YouTube uses to publish video content and has done so since 2010, by which point, all the major web browsers supported this format except for Internet Explorer.

HTML5 Video can be embedded into web pages today without the need for any additional software extensions, therefore using native features of the user's web browser, and is supported by popular mobile devices too. HTML5 Video can be published in a number of different formats for each target browser, with perhaps a Flash version fall back for devices that require it.

The advantages of HTML5 Video are;

  • A better user experience, as the user doesn’t have to worry about plug-ins
  • It works on iPhones and other modern mobile browsers
  • The native video controls are keyboard accessible in Opera and Firefox (with JavaScript turned on)
  • You can have a textual transcript, which can be scripted into synchronised video captions: great for search engine optimisation and DDA compliance

Moving towards implementing HTML5 requires site owners to determine whether their videos are ready for the platform and to choose the appropriate codec. The popular video codecs are:

  • H.264
  • OGG Theora
  • Baseline
  • Main
  • WebM
  • VP8

Because the HTML 5 specification is unfinished, the video codecs mentioned above may expand or decrease in size. So this must be considered when choosing which codec to use and which browsers to target, not forgetting a fall back for older technology. Implementing video in this way, however, offers site owners and marketers a great opportunity to engage with consumers on every available screen.

If you need to implement video into your site, ask a Web Design Company to take a look, or for more HTML5 exploration, why not try the Google Chrome experiment, http://thewildernessdowntown.com/?

Categories: Articles, Video

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