File Under: Browsers, HTML5, Multimedia

Developer Gives Internet Explorer the Gift of HTML5 Video

Internet Explorer lags well behind its rivals when it comes to supporting the latest emerging web standards.

Not only is that bad for IE’s users, but Microsoft, once an innovator (one of the single most useful standards for today’s web, XMLHttpRequest, began life at Microsoft), isn’t even part of the discussion any more.

We’re hoping to see Microsoft become relevant again when details about IE 9 arrive later this year, but in the mean time it seems the web is doing its best to pick up Microsoft’s slack.

Take, for example, HTML5 video, which has been making waves lately with YouTube, Vimeo and other jumping on the native video bandwagon (although neither site supports open video codecs). Unfortunately, Internet Explorer users can’t enjoy native video since even the latest version of IE doesn’t know what to do with the HTML5 <video> tag.

Luckily for those that would like to stick with IE and enjoy native web video, Cristian Adam is working on a plugin for Internet Explorer that implements the HTML 5 video element. Adam’s work draws on Vladimir Vukicevic’s attempt to support the HTML5 canvas tag in IE8. Taken together, IE8 users can get at least some benefits of HTML5.

Adam’s HTML5 video support works with the free, open Ogg Theora video codec and the latest version features better Windows 7 support. Don’t hold your breath for an H.264 version of the add-on, since that would require Adams to pay licensing fees (one of the many, many reasons H.264 is bad for the web).

So far, Adam calls HTML5 video in IE a “Technical Preview,” and things are indeed very basic — there’s no seeking, no video controls and no HTML5 interface. If web-based HTML5 video controls like SublimeVideo catch on then lack of embedded UI controls won’t matter since site developers can easily add their own.

Web developers who would like to support Adam’s hack will need to add the xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml/video" attribute to turn on the <video> tag for Internet Explorer.

For more details and to download the installer, head over to Adam’s website. To see a demo of HTML5 video working in IE8, check out the video below (it’s an open video demo, so it requires Firefox 3.6).

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