Hosted WebM Video

Too often, we see Mozilla people promoting some new cool open web idea with a very uncool closed Flash-based video. Which is rather shooting ourselves in the foot. (Kudos to those who at least offer a “click here for Ogg/WebM version” link.)

There isn’t yet, as far as I know, a major hosting site which will serve HTML5 video to supporting browsers by default. (Anyone know different?) But LibrePlanet has now written a HowTo to explain how to get a video on YouTube while guaranteeing it will have a WebM version, which will be served to anyone who has opted into the YouTube HTML5 beta, regardless of the resolution of the video (previously, only high-res videos got transcoded).

DailyMotion, who have been strong supporters or HTML5, also seem to have an opt-in beta. But I don’t know how to guarantee that an uploaded video will be served as WebM.

I also don’t know if anyone is yet serving HTML5 video markup for embedding. Further information would be great.

8 thoughts on “Hosted WebM Video

  1. I don’t think any major video site does HTML5 video by default, yet. Vimeo’s newish iframe embed code serves HTML5 video to (some) mobile devices and Flash to desktops. Youtube have something similar, but I think it’ll serve HTML5 to the desktop if you’re opted in to the beta.

  2. I think you can force the use of HTML5 on others if you edit the YouTube link to add “&html5=true”. I *think* that it’ll default to WebM if your browser supports it, then fall back to H.264 and fall back further to Flash if there’s advertisments or various other conditions.

  3. The gritty details, straight from the horses mouth (not the capital “T” in true, though I’m not sure it’s necessary):

    We do use WebM over h264 in the Chrome HTML5 player when available, although
    we may reconsider this for 720p, as many people have been having issues with
    720p playback versus h264. If so, I’ll add a URL arg to “force” WebM in the
    html5 player, since that seems useful.

    This all depends on browser — if you’re using Firefox or Opera in HTML5,
    you only get WebM transcodes of course. The h264/WebM logic is just for

    You can “force” HTML5 in the URL as well by adding “html5=True”.

    For example:

    If the video is playing back using WebM, there will be a “WebM” logo next to
    the HTML5 logo in the control bar.

    Other than with links, there is no way for the uploader to control what the
    user gets (tough anyways, due to browser/tech restrictions, and some users
    report HTML5 playback failure even on supported browsers). But if the intent
    is to highlight/showcase some videos, using the link approach should work.

    So basically, if the video is in WebM, html5=True is all that’s needed right
    now, it will always choose WebM over h264 when it thinks the browser can do
    WebM. If that changes, we’ll update the /html5 page and add another URL arg
    to make WebM have priority for Chrome.

  4. > I also don’t know if anyone is yet serving HTML5 video markup for embedding.
    I’m not sure whether they already did so or whether it will only be so. But if you use the iframe embed method they probably will at some point (or already do so now) server the WebM video if you are in the Beta ;)

  5. Dave, thank you – appending html5=1 to the URL makes YouTube indeed switch to WebM if the browser supports it, regardless of whether the user opted into HTML5 beta. I added this parameter on Adblock Plus homepage and since it no longer depends on opt-in cookies I can even use domain.

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