Friday, July 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm.

[Sponsor] HTML5 video: More complex and fragmented than you thought

When HTML5 video burst on the scene in 2010 with the introduction of the iPad, media publishers scrambled to figure out how to make their video available on the hot new consumer device. It was no longer just a question of publishing video on a website, but rather how to provide consistent video experiences across an increasingly complex landscape of both Flash and HTML5-compatible devices.

Brightcove data shows that the fragmentation is actually getting worse. Currently, HTML5 mobile video usage across the company’s customer base is distributed between the iPad (52%), iPhone (38.2%) and Android devices (9.8%). But the distribution of operating systems used by devices accessing HTML5 video experiences is becoming even more complex, illustrated by this snapshot of Brightcove Video Cloud platform data:

iPhone OS iPad OS Android OS
4.3: 50% 4.3: 57.7% 2.1: 46%
4.2: 30.5% 4.2: 33.7% 2.2: 37.8%
4.1: 8.1% 3.2: 8.6% 1.6: 6.2%
4.0: 5.3%   2.3: 5.3%
3.1: 5.3%   1.5: 3.4%
3.0: 0.4%   3.0: 0.1%
3.2: 0.1%   3.1: 0.1%
    1.0: 0.1%

What’s the big deal?

These smartphones and tablets access HTML5 video using a variety of different versions of the WebKit open source browser technology. It turns out, the way WebKit browsers render HTML5 video varies depending on the version of iOS or Android the device is running. This variation can produce inconsistent playback experiences, as well as differences in advertising and analytics behavior.

Brightcove’s “smart player” technology auto-detects devices and renders the appropriate video experience: HTML5 or Flash. This feature enabled customers like the New York Times to have iPad-ready website video the day the device hit the Apple stores.

Brightcove is about to release a next generation smart player that will also resolve OS version and browser compatibility issues for HTML5 video, ensuring business-critical plug-ins and services work regardless of device or the more than a dozen different versions of iOS and Android in the market today. Stay tuned for more information about the new smart player feature in the coming weeks.

To learn more about HTML5 video, Brightcove published a whitepaper available for free on their website: “HTML5 Video: Facts and Fiction”.

This is a sponsored post. For more information about sponsoring SplatF, get in touch.