YouTube has finally ditched Flash as its default video standard, adopting HTML5 in its place.
Boot up a YouTube video in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8, or beta versions of Firefox, and it’ll automatically play in HTML5.
YouTube had actually adopted the HTML5 standard relatively early, back in the middle of 2010, which enabled non-Flash supporting devices such as the iPhone to run the YouTube service. However, some of the standard’s limitations at the time prevented YouTube from going all-in with it.
Most importantly of all, HTML5 didn’t support Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) capabilities, which is a crucial technology in lessening buffering.
The standard also lacked VP9 video codec support – that’s Google’s own standard, which reduces average bandwidth by 35 percent. The standard is seen as essential in getting 4K-quality streams to more people, as well as starting up videos 15 to 80 percent faster.
Now, as YouTube has revealed, those gaps (among others) have been closed to a point where HTML5 can take its place as the service’s default video standard.
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There are many benefits to the HTML5 standard over Flash, not least of which is its suitability for low-power devices such as smartphones, smart TVs, and media streaming sticks like Google’s Chromecast.
All in all, it’s another, potentially fatal blow for the creaking Flash platform.