The first solid use for the HTML 5 video embedding functionality has finally appeared in the form of a front-end to YouTube which allows videos to be streamed without the need for Adobe's Flash Player.

As reported by an anonymous SlashDot user, NeoSmart Technologies has gone live with a natty front-end to Google's popular video sharing site which streams the native MP4 - stored by YouTube for streaming to Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch platforms, which lack a native Flash player - via the video embedding functionality added to HTML 5.

While any HTML 5 compliant browser should support the video tag used by NeoSmart's front-end, Mozilla Firefox will need an MP4 decoder plugin before playback will work. While the video embedding system in HTML 5 was designed to work with playback functionality in the browser itself - without the need for plugins - the restrictive licensing on the MP4 codec meant that the Mozilla Foundation chose not to ship MP4 support with the browser as standard.

Despite this little setback, once Firefox is configured to play MP4 files - or an alternative HTML 5-compliant browser such as Opera is used - the system works like a dream: simply enter the URL of a YouTube video to get an HTML 5 video container returned, with full support for controls including skip, pause, and rewind.

If the thought of having to copy and paste URLs is turning you off the idea, the company also provides a neat script for GreaseMonkey or UserScript which adds a "View in HTML5" link to all YouTube pages.

With support for Flash on non-Windows operating systems sometimes hit and miss, especially on 64-bit editions, an alternative for YouTube is likely to be welcomed by all - with the possible exception of Adobe.

Do you think you'll be using the HTML 5 YouTube streamer any time soon, or is it nothing more than a neat proof-of-concept? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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