Non-Flash video surges onto the web

Maniacal chuckling at One Infinite Loop


Steve Jobs is one-quarter of the way to victory in his increasingly heated take-no-prisoners assault on Adobe Flash.

According to a survey conducted by video aggregator MeFeedia, 26 per cent of all web video is now available for playback with the HTML5 <video> tag and the H.264 codec. That means that 26 per cent of web video is now viewable on the iPhone/Pod/Pad. And, of course, Steve Jobs asserts that it's the most important 26 per cent.

MeFeedia's CEO Frank Sinton tells The Reg that the survey was a large one, of content from over 30,000 sources. Sites in the MeFeedia Video Index include Hulu, YouTube, Vimeo and DailyMotion, plus music videos from Vevo and MTV, and news from AP, ABC, CBS, and CNN.

We'll call that a data set comprehensive enough to make an acceptably accurate ballpark estimate of web-video encoding practices.

Although Adobe Flash can act as an envelope for H.264-encoded video content, that content can't be viewed on devices that don't support Flash - say, Apple's iPhone/Pod/Pad - even though those devices can decode H.264 video when it's presented by HTML5.

Optimistic Adobe execs might come to the conclusion that their Flash glass is a hefty 74 per cent full and a mere 26 per cent empty, but the trend line is not in their favor: when MeFeedia conducted the same analysis at the beginning of this year, only 10 per cent of the video they analyzed was HTML5/H.264.

And there's plenty of H.264 video out there available for conversion to the HTML5 <video> tag. "Total H.264 is actually higher than 26 per cent," Sinton told us. "A lot of Flash video is a wrapper around H.264. Some observers suggest total H.264 is around 67 per cent of web video, but we don't believe it's that high. Ogg, by the way, is seeing much lower adoption."

But none of that Flash-based H.264 video will play on Steve Jobs' mobile devices - and we're willing to bet the farm, our right arm, and certain family jewels that Adobe will remain banished from Cupertino's hot properties.

No wonder that Adobe is both running a self-promoting ad campaign and trotting out company co-founders - and respected pioneers - Chuck Geschke and John Warnock to provide their views on Cupertino's Flash-bashing.

Adobe is spooked - and according to MeFeedia's data about the advance of HTML5, they have every reason to be. ®


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