Not just the video
Much of that 26% putting a half decent GUI around the video ? No ?
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 …
So, Apple seems to have spotted the trend once again, remember when they eliminated floppy disks with their original iMac? There was was lot of negative criticism about that at the time but now we all take this for granted, especially as USB memory devices have come along (no, I don't think Apple saw or invented those). MP3 player devices have become the norm mainly due to the iPod. I was a nay sayer over these when they first appeared, I couldn't see how they would work but I didn't see iTunes coming so I was wrong there. That taught me a lesson, Apple don't release kit now days unless they have a larger view of these devices and the technology trends they represent.
Now it's beginning to look as if Apple were right about the HTML5 vss Flash debate too.
No doubt there will be some out there who are now regarding me as an Apple apologist, a "Fanboy" I believe is the current term? Well I teach IT and Computing at FE and HE level and part of my brief is to keep tabs on the IT industry and pass this on to my students, it's called Current Professional Development. The comments I'm making today are based on my reading of sites like this one.
I'm not one who thinks Apple can do no wrong, I am critical of the Apps shop approach that Apple has taken regarding iPhone and iPad. But I do have to say that time and again Apple demonstrate that they can spot trends and adapt to them, I would suggest that critics would do well to think about this before making comment.
Lecturer in Computing
...26 per cent of all web video is now available for playback withthe 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."
"..26 per cent of all web video is now available for playback withthe HTML5 <video> tag and the H.264 codec. That means that 26 per cent of web video is now at threat from future licensing demands and patent attacks from Apple, MS et al. And, of course, Steve Jobs asserts that it's the most important 26 per cent as he can really rake in the ransom money."
The quicker Flash dies the better IMHO.
Buggy, slow & used by learner programmers to impress ignorant management. Looks great on the in-house Intranet, runs like a soporific tortoise on the Internet.
In 99% of cases it detracts from the user experience. And anything that Adobe has had it's hands on seems to be associated with crashes & weird PC behaviour.
Every site I could find that supported HTML5 for video ALSO supported the same videos in Flash. So where does the 26% come in? There's not one, single, solitary site that is publishing videos in HTML5 only. In fact, the really stupid bit is that every one of those sites still uses XHTML 1.0+ for the entirety of the page, so the only change is using the video tag instead of an embed or object tag.
So much for standards, or other important things like facts.
Does anybody seriously believe the web is going to start being more HTML-like and less richly interactive? This argument against Flash is just silly. Here's an example of the future of media interfaces on the Web...
Notice even though it's all Flash, the URL changes with each asset page. That's for SEO.
Even Forrester understands that HTML5 is NOT AN OPTION.
For you HTML'ers... hey, Flash still needs a container - for now...
How much of this 26% is You Tube - I don't use the others, but notice the sources you quote include Hulu which just announced it isn't going to support HTML5 [hard to argue thats not an important site to US audiences] and Vimeo which only serves stuff uploaded in the last year, and then not all of it - quality is noticeably poorer on vimeo compared to their Flash player. There's no fullscreen playback or other bells, you can only view stuff directly on vimeo.com and not via embed which is how most people use it.
Its far from simple to switch even if Flash version are currently serving h.264 video - two way comms needed for adaptive rates and buffering, rights protection and much else is not yet addressed. Stuff which Adobe handles out of the box without effort on their server solutions and with FP.
Reading comments on other "apple versus adobe" articles, the debate seems polarized in one dimension. However in reality the apple/adobe conflict covers two dimensions. I'd like to "depolarize" the topic a little bit and post a survey using two dimensions instead of one.
1. No should be able to run flash, it needs to disappear.
2. I think flash should be available to anyone who wishes to use it. I prefer not to use it.
3. I think flash should be available to anyone who wishes to use it. I personally will use it.
A. I agree completely with apple's terms and conditions, they are fair for end users and developers.
B. I disagree with apple's terms and conditions. Their policies restrict my choice as an end user/developer.
My answer is 2B.
Not all youtube video is available in html . For example the Channel 4 & 5 content on Youtube is only available in flash as is the likes of ITN News, Britain's Got Talent and the Lady Gaga channel. In other words, it seems that the commercial videos are Flash only, and only the user generated videos are available in HTML 5.
Aren't many of these sites releasing videos in either/or format? Flash as a wrapper around whatever codec, AND HTML5 <video>? Why does 26% HTML 5 availability automatically mean that these videos aren't being served in flash? Is the win really as big as "26% of all web video is ONLY available in HTML5," or is it "26% of the web has decided to be nice to people who use HTML and offered them up a biscuit?"
Be interesting to know...
Net Applications tracks pretty much every OS and device that can access the web.
The publicly accessible stats look like this:
Win 7 12%
OSX 10.5 and 10.6 4%
Win NT 0.17%
Win 98 0.07%
Android 1.5 and 1.6 0.06%
Win ME 0.03%
"Adobe AIR and Flash Player 184.108.40.206 and later versions support files derived from the standard MPEG-4 container format including F4V, MP4, M4A, MOV, MP4V, 3GP, and 3G2 if they contain H.264 video and/or HEAAC v2 encoded audio."
While I have no particular love for Apple and will never own an iPhone as long as AT&Spy is the sole carrier, I've loathed Flash for an even longer time. Most of what Jobs claims about Flash's instability, bloat, and resource consumption, is spot-on.
I run a dual-boot Macbook as my primary, personal machine, and when I'm spawning off a bunch of tabs in Firefox, when I hear the fan jack up in response to load on the CPU, in every case, it's some gawd-forsaken Flash interface.
Which often has nothing to do with vid decoding, and may be nothing more than some Flash-tastic, sparkling and spinning pull-down menu.
And, for better or worse (I feel for better) we can thank Apple for effectively forcing the consumer world to adopt USB as a standard connection method for peripherals. Right before the first candy-colored iMac all-in-ones hit the market, the PC world had been dragging its feet indefensibly, in barely adopting some kind of common connector/bus, which would ultimately benefit the consumer.
We could also give Apple credit for promoting the wide-spread adoption of the firewire port, or was that Sony?...
Regardless, though I grow less willing to defend Apple with every passing day, I for one, will be delighted to see Flash fade away.
...and come back when you have the first clue of what you're talking about.
1. Read the actual terms of the licensing, including the bits about limiting the changes that can be made to licensing fees, even when the terms are renewed in 2015.
2. Show me the evidence that Ogg is any less susceptible to patent claims than H.264. For the hard of understanding, not having a patent claim *yet* is not the same as not having a patent claim *ever*. If anything, H.264 is in a more secure position, since it has a group of very well-funded companies behind it's patent pool who are able to defend it against potential claims. Who's going to defend Ogg for you? Richard Stallman's beard?
Please post the evidence on which you base your hilarious claim that, as an end user, you will need to pay Microsoft (or anyone) to watch H.264 video.
- or -
Write your own video codec which has equivalent performance to H.264, and which does not infringe on any patents in the H.264 pool, and then release it as open source.
- or -
"t notice the sources you quote include Hulu which just announced it isn't going to support HTML5"
But hulu doesn't work with any mobile platform. Even those that are in beta and support flash. As for hulu I suspect an iPad version before the end of the year. They love it - no chance of their data being ripped off from Apple's closed platform.
It's the fanboy effect.
Scientologists, Christian fundamentalists, Apple fanboys.. All use the same methods.
Flash is the latest meme.. A minority of drama queens trying to give the impression that they speak for a majority, while a non existent enemy is trying to silence them.
HTML 5 may work eventually. It may even be good. But in the meantime, Flash is doing a good job of making multi platform video streaming and rich UI implementation across browsers possible and practical.
If a handful of iProducts can't use it.. Too bad.
One thing to add. Adobe keeps forgetting to mention that they have YET TO RELEASE the first good mobile flash player, version 10.1. It crashed 2x at a recent demo and is scheduled to be released this summer. For Android version 2.2. Most cell phones will not be able to use it though, it requires the latest hardware to be able to run.
Just a thought,
There isn't any evidence, either way, which is precisely my point. Ogg's lack of patent infringement has never been tested; all we have to go on is the say-so of people like Mozilla who don't *believe* that it infringes.
Once again, for the slow kids, just because no-one has challenged Ogg's patent status yet, does not mean that there is no infringing technology in there. Depending on who you believe, there is a raiding party being put together right now to turn Ogg's patent-unencumbered reputation into swiss-cheese.
If it's a toss-up between the beard-huggers at the EFF and the dot-eyed reptiles at MPEG-LA to have the chops and (more importantly) the cash to defend against patent challenges then I, for one, welcome our scaly overlords...
I have heard that Stallmans beard is given out, rent free (of course, free as in beer, not free as in, er, I've forgotten)), for woodland animals to make their homes. He is SINGLE handedly preventing the slow death of Dormice everywhere.
Look really hard next time you see a picture of him, for those cute little dormice noses, poking out.
1. Is there a guarantee that the the licensing of H.264 will be renewed using the existing Ts&Cs with known changes? Well, yes, but the charges are clear, inflation of 10% per 5 years renewal is almost guaranteed, and it is the case that currently people like the BBC and Sky are *currently* liable to license charges for videos over 12 minutes long, and it is quite possible that Canonical will be liable to license charges if and when they ship over 100,000 copies of Ubuntu in a single year (which is why they have entered into an agreement).
The same is true for a rival to Apple who may ship over 100,000 media players using H.264 in a year.
2. There is a HUGE difference between *knowing* that there is a future patent/Licensing claim, as is the case with H.264, and suspecting that there may be but don't yet know, as in the case of Vorbis (I don't think that the Ogg container is likely to be patent encumbered, at least nobody has been talking about it yet).
If you play this FUD card, then you must acknowledge that any piece of shiny new software is a potential patent infringement, because that is the way that the patent system works. It is not possible to know every nuance of every patent still in force, and absolute proof of lack of infringement is not possible even if you pay megabucks in patent searches. It is still possible that someone may claim that H.264 infringes on a pre-existing patent.
This shows the essential weakness of the patent system, that it is impossible to prove a negative (it is always easier to prove that something has happened, as opposed to that it hasn't, and never will).
The FSF do have a war-chest for defending Open Source projects published under the GPL, although it is the case that Vorbis is dual licensed under LGPL and the BSD License. I'm sure that if there was a challenge to Vorbis, this would grow, especially if commercial organizations start using Vorbis more than they currently do.
1. So... you agree with me, then?
2. I agree with, or at least acknowledge the possibility of, everything you say here. But how does that change, in anyway, the legitimacy of my original statement, which was to refute the claim (and *only* the claim) that Ogg is definitely patent unencumbered?
I think to label this fact merely as FUD is nonsense. Yes, the patent system is horribly broken, but that's not going to change in the short/medium term, so it remains a very real (and highly likely) possibility that Theora is going to encounter trouble at some point. And yes you're right, of course, to make the distinction between the Ogg container and the codec, but I presume we're both talking about Theora here, rather than the audio-only Vorbis? Also, I don't think anyone gives a rats ass about the container, do they? Everything I've read suggests it's an absolute pig to work with and not worth the trouble.
Damn. Trying to be too clever for my own good. Of course I meant Theora!
Actually, I was not agreeing... at least not directly. As I read the license, H.264 is a cash-cow for the alliance, and is in no way is free like Ogg/Theora. End users are unlikely to have to pay according to the terms and conditions of the license, but content providers and codec suppliers will be without any doubt. In addition, it can be a throttle on the acceptance of free software.
As I tried to point out, this puts it on a collision course with the Open Source purists, meaning that people like RedHat and SuSE are unlikely to include support for it in their distro's. because if they ship (or even make available) more than 100,000 copies, they become liable for considerable license fees, with no way of recouping these from their end users. This *may* be OK for the larger distributions (although I doubt it myself), but puts an onus on any distribution supplier to track the use of their distribution.
Given the viral nature of Linux distribution (download it, burn it, give copies to your friends, distribute it via torrent etc.) it becomes impossible for any distro supplier to do this. Maybe you could track new systems appearing on the 'net through some spyware, but can you imagine the furore that would result!
What would happen is what happens now for MP3 and DVD, that the distros are shipped without H.264 support, with easily available instructions on how to add it from repositories outside the control of the distro owner. This will be a serious barrier to the adoption of Linux by people who just expect their computers to work out-of-the-box. This is why Canonical have bitten the bullet, and paid for license, because they want to be able to ship 'it just works' versions of Linux.
So this a sticking point, and will just enforce the notion that Linux can never be mainstream.
I defend my FUD comment, because putting a notional Sword of Damocles over the head of anybody who uses Theora is just that, notional. Unless you have explicit evidence of patent infringement, of course. As I pointed out, there cannot be any proof that any piece of software does not infringe someone else's patent, and this applies to H.264 as much as Theora. The only difference is that the Mpegla consortium that own the H.264 patent have a larger set of resources to fight any action, with money and additional patents to enter into cross-licensing agreements with anybody prepared to take them on.
1. There may (or may not) be patent claims against Y. The claims against Y may (or may not) be valid. They may (or may not) be proven void by prior art. They may (or may not) apply to the country where Y is used. Where "Y" equals 1 of "H.264", "Theora" or any other video codec one cares to mention. Until the patents are made known to the public, no one really have any idea. Until the patents are tested in court (possibly multiple courts world-wide at that) no one can know for certain.
2. The ransom...err...license that H.264 is issued under is prohibitive and dangerous to ANYONE who encodes on it. Yeah, it might be "free" for personal use. But what if you have a video that goes viral and you get fame 'n a bit of fortune from it. Is that "personal" or is it "commercial"? You submit a video to "Funny Animals" or something you recorded on your camera and get £50. Is that "personal" or is it "commercial"? You volunteer to record an event for a local charity, is that "personal" or "commercial"? And so on, and so on. Couple this with the fact that "professional" grade video cameras are already being sold that encode to H.264, and yet they can't be used for any professional activity according to the license. I put it to you that ANYONE recording using H.264 who has not bought a personal license is a moron. it would be much safer to go with Theora and save yourself from being singled out for attack.
3. Distribution for H.264 decoding is not an issue, so long as decoding remains free to the end-user. You simply don't distribute it. Unlike Windows, the Linux packaging system makes getting add-ons from a single place very easy. It is a matter of moments to add anything that is "missing".
The threat from H.264 (and from the companies backing it who have form for anti-competitive practices) must not be under estimated.
Have you ever tried to watch Video in Flash on Linux? It's bad enough on Windows, where it's almost acceptable in terms of load times & frame rates (I'll ignore stability) but their Linux offering is shocking.
So I'm then forced to use "illegal" tools to allow me to play the video in my own player just to get a decent frame rate. Lo and behold, even streaming (rather than dling to mpeg) I get flawless, smoothe video.
So I would modify your comment to "Flash is doing a fair job of making Windows video streaming and rich UI implementations accross browsers possible" (definitely not a good job, and certainly not practical).
When H.264 is made for commercial reasons, Microsoft are paid -- and since MPEG LA have only said it's available under current terms until 2012 it's possible that we'll have to pay to use the CODEC to watch video after then. Even without that threat, any device capable of playing H.264 is likely or not going to be paying a licensing fee.
Why should I write my own CODEC when Vorbis is out there? I'm sure if the mystery patents ever come to light then someone will work around them also and still provide free video CODECs. Starting out with HTML5 video being owned by MPEG LA to start with is just stupid.
@AC: If I don't want to pay Microsoft when I buy a phone I don't buy one with Windows or one from HTC -- if HTML5 comes to fruition the way it's going then any device I buy will have to be either intentionally unable to play video in HTML5 pages or will be paying into MS and others' coffers.
The trends Apple "spots" are like spotting that most people in Germany speak German. Mind you, this is already a _huge_ improvement over many other companies which are completely blind to what their customers want.
However Apple usually only get it about 70% right. And the 30% they don't get are awfully annoying. Sure it's a good idea of having a packet manager (=App store) as most Linux distributions have for decades, however locking out the customer from not being able to use their phone is not acceptable.
That's why I prefer Maemo based devices. They simply run a modified Debian Linux.
Colour my grey braincells yellow, but wasn't it apple that went with firewire _rather_ than USB? it wasn't really until the jobsane realised that firewire was dead in the consumerwater that it was decided that USB was the next sliced bread...
If it wasn't you could always try to explain to me why my first ipod mini charger came with a firewire port rather than a USB one.. maybe they were trying to get everyone to adapt USB by pushing firewire on them (to be fair, it would have worked on me).
And (ranting at someone further up the comment steam :P) apple did tear the floppy drives out of their computers way before anyone else (I'm sure there was some other manufacturer who had tried the same before them, but they were probably a tiny outfit who also thought it would be good to put the on/off button on the back of their computers as well, so lets disregard them for the time being), but they did so like 5 years too early... people were still using floppy disks at the time (mainly for booting purposes and school work, but stull)... I too could build a computer today without any USB ports on it, but in 20 years time when no one uses USB anymore there is no need to look back and call me a visionary for something which was a bloody stupid idea at the time.
"Notice even though it's all Flash, the URL changes with each asset page. That's for SEO."
No, that's for bookmarking but is more likely to help a "little" with reducing the huge size of the initial download by splitting it into more manageable chunks. Yes, SEO does use the URI, but that's only if there's something in the content of the page (HTML) that's indexable.
There is a very important point in all this though.. HTML5 is not yet ready for mainsteam use as the uptake of user agents that actually support it are too low for viable mainstream use (aside from HTML5 not being formally completed). Until this situation is fixed, alternatives for rich media need to be used.
Too many analysts and watchers forget some basic problems with adobe's stuff. It's proprietary. Yes, there's a linux player, and a mac one, but that's it. Even when there's documentation you're simply not allowed to create a player, sayeth the small print. That leaves everybody but the platforms adobe deigns to support right out in the cold. Who are they to decide what platform I'd like to use? Contrast with PDF and PostScript. Sure, ``most people'' use acrobat reader to read PDF, but there are enough people Out There for whom that is not an option for several alternatives to exist. And that is a good thing.
Apple, of course, is very much in it for the money. But they're engineers enough to try and tailor the businessmodel to go with the flow instead of trying to bend it forcibly to their own twisted purposes. Or even stick a spanner in someone else's proprietary monopoly. Yes, apple is trying to Own their devices, but they're not also trying to own everyone else's too. No need, and much less hassle.
The web that has its roots in open standards, in interoperability. The internet itself started as an excercise in making systems interoperable, and that's never stopped. Just skim the early RFCs; they clearly had a lot of fun Making Things Work. Large companies tend to dislike that, even apple, though the big large legend of hating open standards is someone else. There are now many people connected who simply don't know and don't care, including apparently el reg journos and selected academics. But the people who built all this haven't forgotten. And they want their open standards and interoperable systems back.
My thoughts on your example website:
* It requires a proprietary plug-in,
* It's visibility cannot be controlled by colour schemes,
* It's incompatible with screen readers,
* Text cannot be copied,
* Links cannot be copied,
* It takes 15 seconds to load,
* High bandwidth and memory requirements,
* It cannot be transcoded for low bandwith proxies,
* It resizes at about 2fps,
* It's slow,
* It's clunky.
* It's SHIT.
If that's your definition of the future of website design then I politely suggest that a) you seek immediate help and b) Flash cannot possibly be killed off quickly enough.
I think you are maybe in denial about your Fanboi status, I'm afraid...
MP3 was already becoming the de-facto standard for digital music files before Apple brought out the iPod. There were also many MP3 players available and their numbers were always going to rise. Digital music players were always going to be the successor to the portable CD player which succeeded the Tape Player (the Walkman was 'The Big Thing' years ago).
What Apple did was brought in branding - they combined a great touch sensitive dial, fairly simple UI, and great branding and marketing to make it ubiquitous. They didn't have an amazing vision, they just inserted themselves nicely into the already growing arena.
The comment about floppy disks is a very poor example. Floppy disks were always seeing the end of their life. They were slow and limited in capacity. Everyone involved in IT knew their weaknesses, Iomega were actively trying to create successors (e.g the Zip Disk) as were others. However floppy disks were useful. They were dirt cheap, could hold a few documents, you could mail them in the post and not need it back.
It was many, many years after Apple stopped putting floppy drives in their Macs that the decline really happened. I can't see that Apple in any way influenced that decline in any significant way. It was the rise in cheap networking, the internet (especially it's broadband), e-mail and to a small extent USB drives that finally saw off the floppy drive. There were also many years where Apple users suffered for the lack of a floppy disk. They also seemed to miss the rise of the USB for a long time, sticking with the Firewire interface believing that to be the most likely standard.
You could argue that Apple has managed to heavily influence a market sector by good marketing, design and targeting it, but I can't think of times where they have been highly successful in creating a sector from scratch - an area that no-one had delved into or even thought about, true inventions and visionaries.
Apple have used their success with the iPod, the iPhone and their designs of the iMacs that got people to like Apple again, and got people to accept Apple as an influential player outside of their Graphics department niche. They are now able to exert their influence enough to make people jump when they say jump, their customer share is big enough for developers not to ignore, but they aren't unique in this.
Consider Microsoft and Internet Explorer, when that was dominant everyone developed for that platform - good or bad, standard or not. Doesn't mean that Microsoft were truly great or visionary in their thinking. They even failed to spot the trend and impact of the Internet early on. Microsoft just forced the hand of the developers to write websites their way.
Apple are doing the same. They are not saying we support Flash and HTML5 but everyone should use HTML5 as Flash is dead. They are saying "we only support HTML 5, you will not reach our customers otherwise", so of course major sites are going to try to support it when it is easy to do so and every other browser is also heading in that direction.
HTML5 seems to have be pushed and been the vision of Google and others far more than the vision of Apple.
Just remember also the failed vision of not multi-tasking and the 'visions' of non-standard SIM cards, the vision of no USB, no external storage, non-printing, etc that we are due to evaluate in the coming years.
(BTW the tagline of 'Lecturer in Computing' - is that a pretentious way to try to validate your opinion or just explain that you might not understand computing in the real world?)
So I decided to find out how many people were watching HTML5 videos. I asked 1 person and he didn't know what I was talking about. Therefore, I have concluded that, based on this representative sample, that nobody cares about HTML5 and that this conversion is a futile exercise.
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