Future-proof your site videos with HTML5
Adding videos to a website is a great way to engage visitors: it’s a much quicker, easier and more natural way of communicating certain types of content and ideas.
Unfortunately, web browsers have a hard time dealing with video content. Different video formats and browser technologies mean it’s difficult to make a website with videos function the same way from one browser or device to another. And sometimes, they just don’t work at all.
Every time you watch a video on a website, your browser has to “phone a friend” to help out. Past and current HTML web standards simply don’t know what to do with videos, so they pass the buck, and let third-party plugins handle videos for them.
Though plugins like Flash, Windows Media Player and Quicktime enable browsers to get around this problem, each plugin only works with certain types of videos, browsers and operating systems.
Worse still, plugins – mini applications – have to “run” inside of an application (the browser), and the interactions between the two can cause a browser to freeze, or crash.
The next version of HTML (5) promises to change all that. Though still a few years away from being “the” official web standard, it includes built-in support for videos. Rather than having to offload videos to a plugin, HTML5-compatible browsers will be able to play them unaided, using an integrated player.
Almost all current web browsers (the latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera and mobile browsers on Android and iOS – iPhones and iPads) can already use HTML5 videos, and they’ll be joined by IE 9 when the final version ships later this year. This means you can already take advantage of HTML5 video on your site. And by “tweaking” the video code to provide a fallback for older browsers, you can quickly add site videos that load faster, play better, and can be viewed by all site visitors, whether they’re using a desktop computer or a smartphone.
To start adding universal video content to your free website, just follow our HTML5 video tutorial. And if you’d like to know more about HTML5 video content, and some other great new features of HTML5, take a few minutes to read through this excellent article, on which our tutorial is based.