Google's YouTube portal, which until now used Adobe Flash for video delivery in most Web browsers, will be ditching it in favour of HTML5 as its default platform. The search giant has been experimenting on the same since 2010. It is worth mentioning that rival companies like Microsoft and Apple along with other video services like Netflix and Vimeo already use HTML5.
YouTube will be using HTML5 to playback content on Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox browsers. Richard Leider, Engineering Manager of YouTube added that HTML5's benefits "extend beyond Web browsers" and is also used in Smart TVs and streaming devices.
Notably, HTML5 now includes the ABR (Adaptive Bitrate) support that offers less buffering in videos - the reason Google attributes to the delay of the YouTube HTML5 rollout. It offers quick jump between different video resolution and bitrates based on changing network conditions. According to Leider, the HTML5's ABR "has reduced buffering by more than 50 percent globally and as much as 80 percent on heavily-congested networks." MediaSource extensions will also support live streaming of games via Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The VP9 codec is also supported by HTML5, delivering higher quality video resolution with a 35 percent bandwidth reduction.This will let users view 4K videos quicker and 15-80 percent faster. Other features in HTML5 include WebRTC for better video broadcasting experience, Encrypted media extensions for content protection and a better immersive full screen view.
Leider also encouraged video embedders to use the <iframe> API as it will "intelligently use whichever technology the client supports."
Google has been consistently improving the YouTube experience of users both on PC and on mobile devices. The firm last week updated its YouTube app on Android bringing new features and earlier this month also confirmed the upcoming support for 360-degree videos.