YouTube Ditches Flash For HTML5 As Its Default Web Player

It has finally happened; YouTube has officially dropped Flash support in favor of HTML5 for its Web player as the default tech. A long time coming indeed, we take a closer look at the details right after the break.

Adobe’s Flash platform had been slowly losing ground, be it mobile or on the desktop. Almost three years back, we saw Android pulling the plug on Flash with the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and to top things off, Apple – more specifically Steve Jobs – had been pretty vocal about the shortcomings of the platform, citing performance and other issues with it.

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However, it was the Flash based Web player for YouTube that had the streaming company rise to its might today, but in the recent years we’ve seen the emergence of HTML5, touted as a far superior technology that removes all issues that developers seem to have had with Adobe’s platform.

YouTube has been experimenting with HTML5 for quite a few years now, with the streaming giant offering playback on a number of platforms, including iOS that does not support Flash as it stands. However, with HTML5 not meeting the website’s requirements at that time, the experiment continued. From now however, almost 5 years later, advancements have led to HTML5 being incorporated as the default player in most modern browsers.

For those of you wondering what made HTML5 dethrone Flash as the leading technology behind the player on YouTube, the new Web standard offers higher video quality than Flash but at a reduced bandwidth by 35 percent. Also the use of Adaptive Bitrate for streaming “has reduced buffering by more than 50 percent globally and as much as 80 percent on heavily-congested networks.”

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YouTube will now be using HTML5 as the default player in Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and the beta releases of Mozilla’s Firefox browser. According to Richard Leider, a YouTube engineer, HTML5 is now being used in smart TVs and other streaming devices as well, so in order to reap the benefits that extend beyond just modern desktop browsers, Flash has to be let go off.

What do you think of this move by Google? Do you believe giving up Flash was the right thing to do?

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