Monday, July 06, 2009

Adobe Flash and a HUGE missed opportunity with HTML5 video

Update: Thanks to John Gruber, Wikipedia and an Anonymous Reader, I now know that FLV is just a container format. The contained video still needs to be encoded with a specific codec; H.264 and Ogg are the prevalent codecs to accomplish this.

The author of the HTML5 specification has given up on resolving, what can best be termed an impasse, the issue with the <video> tag. The issue is that H.264 and Ogg Theora are being considered as the de facto video encodings for the Web of tomorrow, but no browser vendor can provide cross platform implementations of both codecs. Some vendors have expressed concerns around patents, while others have raised valid concerns about the encoding quality of Ogg. In all of this, I wonder why no one is even considering Adobe Flash's FLV format as the one "format" that rules them all. Most video on the web is delivered via the Flash player. The choice of video codec should therefore be a no-brainer!

It isn't, and the only thing I can think of is licensing of the FLV codec. That's hokum though - the flash codec is already installed on more than 90% of computers in the world today. Adobe has been more than responsive with fixing security issues, has a great track record with providing both tools to edit videos and has invested heavily in improving the encoder's quality over the last 10 years. Can someone help me understand why FLV is being marginalized here?


  1. You have answered yourself buddy, FLV is controlled and Theora is open. But it may be difficult for MS punks to digest the meaning of OPEN. ;)

  2. FLV is just a container format. The video encapsulated in the FLV can be encoded using a multitude of codes: