LongTail Video, makers of JW Player (which is an excellent choice if you must host your own video) have released their ‘State of HTML5 Video‘, detailing the overall and feature-specific compatibility of HTML5 video in today’s most popular web browsers. It’s a great report, but also sobering when you see the lack of across-the-board support for MP4 (the dominant and best format for really crunching down online video while preserving acceptable quality) combined with Google Chrome’s upcoming switch to the vastly less mature but more open WebM, it seems inevitable that streaming sites and individual hosts will have to support Flash players for at least the upcoming year.
But why does HTML5 video matter? What’s the big deal with having to fall back to Flash? We live in an increasingly mobile world, and mobile devices are only as good as their battery life. Flash, while ubiquitous, also has a reputation for killing the battery life on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which is why companies like Apple have rejected it. Properly implemented HTML5 video (check out our homepage on an iPad or iPhone to see Wistia’s terrific Matador player in action) lets sites offer up video without compromising battery life.