The hype surrounding HTML5 video has thankfully receded from the high water mark of 2011. But the absence of hype doesn’t mean HTML5 video is a thing of the past. In fact, while it’s true that HTML5 video still can’t completely match all of the features available in Flash, the state of HTML5 video on the web continues to improve with every new browser release.
For a very thorough rundown of exactly where and how well HTML5 video works on the web right now, check out the excellent report on the state of HTML5 video from Long Tail Video. Put together by the makers of JW Player, an HTML5 video player toolkit, the state of HTML5 video report is mercifully free of any evangelism for any particular technology. Instead it offers a level-headed look at reality, answering the basic questions — where can you use HTML5 video? How well will it work for users? And when will you need Flash fallbacks?.
HTML5 video enthusiasts will be happy to know that the state of native video on the web is looking better these days. Two-thirds of all the browsers on the web now support the HTML5 video tag. Support for the various video tag attributes has improved as well, with both Safari and Chrome offering full support.
Still, for all the bright points in the report, there is clearly still a need for Flash fallbacks if you want your video to reach the widest possible audience. With older versions of Internet Explorer still lingering (IE 9 and up support the HTML5 video tag) and the lack of support for closed captions and audio descriptions in any browser, Flash will likely remain the only option for at least some portion of the web for some time.
The good news is that, in some cases, the state of HTML5 video will be improving very soon, for example Firefox 10, which will be released in final form very soon, will support native fullscreen playback.
For more details on which parts of HTML5 video work and which don’t in today’s browsers, be sure to read through the full report.