YouTube switches to HTML5 with Adaptive Bitrate for better Streaming

For those of you who are perennial users of YouTube, especially on your smartphones, some new changes have finally arrived that make people like me very Happy!

YouTube, the Second most popular Search portal after Google Search, has decided to ditch Adobe Flash player and use embedded HTML5 code to play videos.


Took Google four (4) years to evaluate HTML5!

But they finally made the decision to go with the flow and add HTML5 to their trick pony, YouTube. What this simply means is that you no longer have to get Adobe Flash on your Laptop’s Browser. You can play YouTube videos right there in your Browser, be it Internet Explorer, Mozilla FireFox or Google Chrome.

For smartphone users, they’ll notice that videos play noticeably smoother at both lower and higher resolutions in their Mobile Browsers, as the use of HTLM5 makes for better integration as there’s no need for Adobe Flash.

I sense a major disturbance in the Force as Adobe and Microsoft’s Silverlight get ditched by this switch to HTML5. No doubt, other video hosting portals have already made the shift or are considering following in Google’s lead!

Best of all, the embed code for embedding YouTube videos into your webpage remains unchanged, making many Bloggers and Website Administrators breathe a sigh of relief, as there is nothing to change.

So what was the holdup? HTML5’s lack of support for Adaptive Bitrate.


HLML5 with Adaptive Bitrate for better Streaming – Same thing needed for JPEG

The removal of a third-party Video coded in the form of Adobe Flash support wasn’t enough for Google to be persuaded to take on HTML5. Adaptive Bitrate reduces buffering and stalling streamed Videos, dramatically improving the viewing experience of the users. Google had to wait until HTML5 had matured enough to also include this advance feature that makes Steaming Video on the internet realistically possible!

According to Google’s stats, Adaptive Bitrate results in:

  • 50% reduction in Buffering Globally
  • 80% reduction in Buffering Globally on Congested Networks

It also give Google Chrome wiggle room to adjust the video quality while it’s being streamed even if the user doesn’t have full Broadband, This is very important, especially for viewers in Developing World Countries accessing YouTube, as they’re potential customers in the future for paid streaming Services.

Google has to get it right with them, be it on Laptops or low end smartphones, to set themselves up for these future emerging markets, like India, where Smartphone penetration is just beginning to rise thanks to their US$100 budget smartphone, the Google Android One.

Personally, I like this major change, as it was a long time coming. The next thing Google and the Internet at large needs to change is the use of JPEG (Joint Picture Experts Group) to BPG (Better Portable Graphics), based on a suggestion by programmer Fabrice Bellard. His idea is to use HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding), the same compression algorithm used for Video compression, for image compression as well, totally abandoning JPEG.

In so doing, images of any given quality in JPEG would be half the size of a typical JPEG or double the quality if the BPG and JPEG are the same size. Consequently, loading times for webpages would double and so would the quality of many images on websites, knowing that they could now used higher quality images without sacrificing viewability by their potential audiences.

A year lag time for the million of websites to transition, but no more painful than iPv4 to IPv6 switchover, as all changes comes with a little pain.

But that’s just me….one Big Internet change at a time please!

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Lindsworth is a Radio Frequency and Generator Maintenance Technician who has a knack for writing about his work, which is in the Telecoms Engineering Field. An inspired writer on themes as diverse as Autonomous Ants simulations, Power from Lightning and the current Tablet Wars.