HTML5 video is the new open video standard. It enables web developers and users to escape the limitations of flash and other proprietary video formats. This is a big step forward, because there is now an open standard that is not controlled by any particular company, such as Adobe Flash, Apple Quicktime, Microsoft Silverlight or Google.

It allows developers to embed video in their websites that will work across a wide range of browsers. Modern browsers that support HTML5 no longer require Flash to be installed. Older browsers that do not support HTML5 can still play the video in the Flash format, so long as Flash is installed.

In the video below, we use the open source MediaElement.js. This is an HTML5 media player library with a plug-in for WordPress. It provides Flash or Silverlight fallback players for non-HTML5 browsers. It supports the mobile platforms iPhone, iPad, and Android. And, the file formats MP4, OGG, WebM, WMV, MP3, WAV, WMA as well as captions with WebSRT files.


Download video: MP4 (closed format, licence may be required) | Ogg (open format) | WebM (open format)


Please note that the MP4 format is based on the H.264 video compression standard. This is not an open format and may require royalty fees to be paid to the MPEG-LA.

Google is promoting the WebM format. WebM is a format for HTML5 video that is designed to be high-quality and royalty-free (there are no known royalty claims at the time of writing). It is based on the open source VP8 codec. The full intent is to drive broad adoption via industry backing and, Google is switching YouTube over to the new format in the long term.

The code for the above video will display the MP4, WebM, OGG and Flash formats. But, the video format you actually see depends on the capability of your browser (for example, Internet Explorer 9 currently only displays MP4). Due to the royalty fee issue of the MP4 format, in the future, this site will only display WebM, OGG and Flash.

To see if your browser supports HTML5 and WebM, click here.

If you only have the Internet Explorer 9 browser and want to be able to view videos displayed in the WebM format, click here to download a free application from Google that adds WebM support to Internet Explorer 9.

It is interesting to view the trend in the usage of different browsers, click here. The usage of Internet Explorer has relentlessly declined over the years. It now represents only 16.2% of the total number of browsers on computers, with Google Chrome (44.1%) and Firefox (32.2%) dominating the market.

Acknowledgements: Kroc Camen who originally conceived “Video for Everybody.” Jonathan Neal for the “Video for Everybody Generator.” The video is the first minute from the cc-by licenced “open movie” Big Buck Bunny.