Most popular video services, such as Google’s YouTube as well as Vimeo, require Adobe’s Flash software be installed in order to watch the video. Those with an Android device quickly discover that Flash software isn’t installed. That can create a challenge when attempting to watch video online. It turns out that both YouTube and Vimeo give viewers the option to watch many videos in HTML5 format, and Flash isn’t needed.
Different browsers implement HTML5 video a bit differently. However, they usually use one of two or three different types of codecs. A codec is a specific way of manipulating or using audio and video information. One example of a well-known codec is the mp3 format. To be more specific, the default browser on an Android device, as well as with the Chrome or Firefox browsers, use a format called WebM. They also support a codec called Ogg/Theora, which is an open-source protocol. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Apple’s Safari browser uses a codec called H.264. Those details aren’t important for most users, however it might help to explain why switching to a different type of browser can be helpful on some websites.
Given the choice, an HTML5 video will generally play more smoothly than one in Flash. To select the option to watch videos on YouTube in the newer format, one needs to visit the page linked below to select the option to join the HTML5 trial. In addition, it’s not required that one be signed in to Google or YouTube to select that option. It supports the following browsers and versions: Firefox v4+, Google Chrome and Opera 10.6+; all using the WebM format. In the H.264 format it supports Apple Safari v4+ and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer v9+. For previous versions of IE it requires Google Chrome Frame to be installed. There is a link for that available on their site. Visit the YouTube HTML5 page to join. One potential drawback is that full screen mode isn’t always available; however, that would only be an issue on the larger devices or when viewed on a computer monitor.
On the Vimeo site it’s possible to just select a button to switch to the HTML5 player while watching the video. It will remember the selection during subsequent visits, and there will also be an option to switch back to Flash player.