YouTube Begins Serving Up Native WebM Video
YouTube has announced it will begin offering HTML5 videos in the WebM codec to web browsers that support it. So far YouTube says that it has encoded 30 percent of its videos in WebM, which accounts for 99 percent of all traffic to the site.
YouTube’s move to WebM is no surprise; Google has already dropped the competing H.264 codec from its Chrome web browser and it was only a matter of time before YouTube began moving to WebM as well.
The WebM Project, a partnership between Google, Mozilla, Opera and dozens of other software and hardware makers, provides web developers a way of embedding video and audio in HTML5 pages without plug-ins, and without the need to pay the expensive licensing fees that surround the competing H.264 codec. Currently WebM video works in Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer (via a plugin). The other main HTML5 video codec, H.264, works on all Apple devices and in Internet Explorer 9.
While YouTube is adding WebM support, it isn’t following Chrome’s lead and dropping H.264. The site will continue to serve up H.264 video to those browsers that support it (in other words, Safari, Mobile Safari and Internet Explorer 9).
Despite the new WebM support, YouTube still isn’t serving up HTML5 videos by default. If you’d like to get in on the new WebM fun, you’ll still need to sign up for the opt-in HTML5 player.