HTML5 Video

The limitation of Flash that prevents keyboard control of the video player is a block to Flash video being used for tv-true internet content. The latest specification of the HTML standard (HTML5) introduces a new <video> markup element that for the first time allows video content to be treated as true web page content (rather than requiring a plugin). As the <video> element is a true part of markup it can be fully controlled by javascript and CSS. This gives rise to the possiblility of controlling the video playback (start, pause, fullscreen, etc) using the keyboard and hence permits remote controls to be configured to control the player. The ability to use a remote control to play videos is essential for a tv-true website.

The Apple iPad does not support Flash but does support HTML5. Google have released a TV set-top box product which will be based on the HTML5 capable Chrome browser/OS. It seems that HTML5's time has come!

Here are some of the sites offering HTML5 videos:

  • Video for Everybody - a demonstration website showing how the video content can still be played by falling back to Flash if HTML5 video is not supported. No keyboard control
  • Jilion Sublime - a wonderful looking HTML5 player with a sample video in both H.264 and Ogg Theora formats. Limited keyboard control (there is no key to make the video fullscreen)
  • Vimeo - Provides an option to play the videos in H.264 in HTML5. Select the "switch to HTML5" link (shown for certain browser types, see below). The player allows limited keyboard control: 'f' makes the video expand to the full size of the browser window (you could then press F11 to make the browser fullscreen), 'q' returns the video to initial size, space starts and pauses the video
  • YouTube HTML5 beta - allows you to join to the HTML5 beta test. HTML5 player is used if the video has been uploaded in the H.264 format. No keyboard control
  • jQuery video demo - a demonstration website showing a video player with keyboard control, instructions for the keyboard shortcuts are on the page
  • tv-true player - provided demonstration of an html5 video player; total control using the keyboard and onscreen controls suitable for viewing on the television

How to get HTML5 video

Video in HTML5 can be encoded in two formats; H.264 and Ogg Theora. Not all browsers can handle all video formats:

  • Firefox - version 3.5 supports Ogg Theora format
  • Google Chrome - supports HTML5 video for H.264 and Ogg Theora video encoding formats. Google are also developing a further HTML5 video format WebM. As a follow-up to this Google is considering dropping H.264. However as of Chrome 12 (july 2011) the format is still supported.
  • Internet Explorer 8 - you will need to install the Google Chrome Frame to enable HTML5 video. IE9 will support H.264
  • Opera - version 10.50 of Opera supports Ogg Theora format
  • Safari - same as Chrome


Further reading for HTML5 video capabilities:

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