The HTML5 specification introduced the video element for the purpose of playing videos, partially replacing the object element. HTML5 video is intended by its creators to become the new standard way to show video on the web, instead of the previous de facto standard of using the proprietary Adobe Flash plugin, though early adoption was hampered by lack of agreement as to which video coding formats and audio coding formats should be supported in web browsers.
The <video> element started being discussed by the WHATWG in October 2006. The <video> element was proposed by Opera Software in February 2007. Opera also released a preview build that was showcased the same day, and a manifesto that called for video to become a first-class citizen of the web.
The following HTML5 code fragment will embed a WebM video into a web page.
<video src="movie.webm" poster="movie.jpg" controls> This is fallback content to display for user agents that do not support the video tag. </video>
<video poster="movie.jpg" controls> <source src="movie.webm" type='video/webm; codecs="vp8.0, vorbis"'> <source src="movie.ogv" type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"'> <source src="movie.mp4" type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2"'> <p>This is fallback content to display for user agents that do not support the video tag.</p> </video>
The HTML5 specification does not specify which video and audio formats browsers should support. User agents are free to support any video formats they feel are appropriate, but content authors cannot assume that any video will be accessible by all complying user agents, since user agents have no minimal set of video and audio formats to support.
The HTML5 Working Group considered it desirable to specify at least one video format which all user agents (browsers) should support. The ideal format in this regard would:
Initially, Ogg Theora was the recommended standard video format in HTML5, because it was not affected by any known patents. But on 10 December 2007, the HTML5 specification was updated, replacing the reference to concrete formats:
User agents should support Theora video and Vorbis audio, as well as the Ogg container format.
with a placeholder:
It would be helpful for interoperability if all browsers could support the same codecs. However, there are no known codecs that satisfy all the current players: we need a codec that is known to not require per-unit or per-distributor licensing, that is compatible with the open source development model, that is of sufficient quality as to be usable, and that is not an additional submarine patent risk for large companies. This is an ongoing issue and this section will be updated once more information is available.
Although Theora is not affected by known non-free patents, Apple has expressed concern about unknown patents that might affect it, whose owners might be waiting for a corporation with extensive financial resources to use the format before suing. Formats like H.264 might also be subject to unknown patents in principle, but they have been deployed much more widely and so it is presumed that any patent-holders would have already made themselves known. Apple has also opposed requiring Ogg format support in the HTML standard (even as a "should" requirement) on the grounds that some devices might support other formats much more easily, and that HTML has historically not required particular formats for anything.
Mozilla and Opera support only the open formats of Theora and WebM. Google stated its intention to remove support for H.264 in 2011, specifically for the HTML5 video tag. Although it has been removed from Chromium, as of November 2016 it has yet to be removed from Google Chrome five years later.
Google's acquisition of On2 in 2010 resulted in its acquisition of the VP8 video format. Google has provided a royalty-free license to use VP8. Google also started WebM, which combines the standardized open source VP8 video codec with Vorbis audio in a Matroska based container. The opening of VP8 was welcomed by the Free Software Foundation.
When Google announced in January 2011 that it would end native support of H.264 in Chrome, criticism came from many quarters including Peter Bright of Ars Technica and Microsoft web evangelist Tim Sneath, who compared Google's move to declaring Esperanto the official language of the United States. However, Haavard Moen of Opera Software strongly criticized the Ars Technica article and Google responded to the reaction by clarifying its intent to promote WebM in its products on the basis of openness.
After the launch of WebM, Mozilla and Opera have called for the inclusion of VP8 in HTML.
On 7 March 2013, Google Inc. and MPEG LA, LLC announced agreements covering techniques that "may be essential" to VP8, with Google receiving a license from MPEG LA and 11 patent holders, and MPEG LA ending its efforts to form a VP8 patent pool.
In 2012, VP9 was released by Google as a successor to VP8, also open and royalty free.
At the end of 2017 the new AV1 format developed by the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) as the evolution of VP9 has reached the feature freeze, and the bitstream freeze is expected for January 2018. Firefox nightly builds already include support for AV1.
H.264/MPEG-4 AVC is widely used, and has good speed, compression, hardware decoders, and video quality, but is patent-encumbered. Users of H.264 need licenses either from the individual patent holders, or from the MPEG LA, a group of patent holders including Microsoft and Apple, except for some Internet broadcast video uses. H.264 is usually used in the MP4 container format, together with Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) audio. AAC is also patented in itself, so users of MP4 will have to license both H.264 and AAC.
In June 2009, the WHATWG concluded that no existing format was suitable as a specified requirement.
On 30 October 2013, Cisco announced that it was making a binary H.264 module available for download. Cisco will pay the costs of patent licensing for those binary modules when downloaded by the using software while it is being installed, making H.264 free to use in that specific case.
In the announcement, Cisco cited its desire of furthering the use of the WebRTC project as the reason, since WebRTC's video chat feature will benefit from having a video format supported in all browsers. The H.264 module will be available on "all popular or feasibly supportable platforms, which can be loaded into any application".
Cisco is also planning to publish source code for those modules under BSD license, but without paying the royalties, so the code will practically be free software only in countries without H.264 software patents, which has already been true about other existing implementations.
Also on 30 October 2013, Mozilla's Brendan Eich announced that Firefox would automatically download Cisco's H.264 module when needed by default. He also noted that the binary module is not a perfect solution, since users do not have full free software rights to "modify, recompile, and redistribute without license agreements or fees". Thus Xiph and Mozilla continue the development of Daala.
OpenH264 only supports the baseline profile of H.264, and does not by itself address the need for an AAC decoder. Therefore, it is not considered sufficient for typical MP4 web video, which is typically in the high profile with AAC audio. However, for use in WebRTC, the omission of AAC was justified in the release announcement: "the standards bodies have aligned on Opus and G.711 as the common audio codecs for WebRTC". There is doubt as to whether a capped global licensing of AAC, like Cisco's for H.264, is feasible after AAC's licensing bureau removed the price cap shortly after the release of OpenH264.
This table shows which video formats are likely to be supported by a given user agent. Most of the browsers listed here use a multimedia framework for decoding and display of video, instead of incorporating such software components. It is not generally possible to tell the set of formats supported by a multimedia framework without querying it, because that depends on the operating system and third party codecs. In these cases, video format support is an attribute of the framework, not the browser (or its layout engine), assuming the browser properly queries its multimedia framework before rejecting unknown video formats. In some cases, the support listed here is not a function of either codecs available within the operating system's underlying media framework, or of codec capabilities built into the browser, but rather could be by a browser add-on that might, for example, bypass the browser's normal HTML parsing of the <video> tag to embed a plug-in based video player.
Note that a video file normally contains both video and audio content, each encoded in its own format. The browser has to support both the video and audio formats. See HTML5 audio for a table of which audio formats are supported by each browser.
Of these browsers, only Firefox and Opera employ libraries for built-in decoding. In practice, Internet Explorer and Safari can also guarantee certain format support, because their manufacturers also make their multimedia frameworks. At the other end of the scale, Konqueror has identical format support to Internet Explorer when run on Windows, and Safari when run on Mac, but the selected support here for Konqueror is the typical for GNU/Linux, where Konqueror has most of its users. In general, the format support of browsers is much dictated by conflicting interests of vendors, specifically that Media Foundation and QuickTime support commercial standards, whereas GStreamer and Phonon cannot legally support other than free formats by default on the free operating systems that they are intended for.
|Browser||Operating System||Theora (Ogg)||H.264 (MP4)||HEVC (MP4)||VP8 (WebM)||VP9 (WebM)||AV1 (WebM)|
|Android browser||Android||Since 2.3||Since 3.0||Since 5.0||Since 2.3||Since 4.4||Adroid Q Beta|
|Chromium||Unix-like and Windows||Since r18297||Via FFmpeg||No||Since r47759||Since r172738||Yes|
|Google Chrome||Unix-like, Android, macOS, iOS, and Windows||Since 3.0||Since 3.0[a]||No||Since 6.0||Since 29.0[b]||Since 70|
|Internet Explorer||Windows||Via OpenCodecs||Since 9.0||No||Via OpenCodecs||No||No|
|Windows Phone||No||Since 9.0||No|
|Windows RT||Since 10.0|
|Microsoft Edge||Windows 10||Since 17.0 (with Web Media Extensions)||Since 12.0||Needs hardware decoder[c]||Since 17.0 (supports <video> tag with Web Media Extensions and VP9 Video Extensions)||Only enabled by default if hardware decoder present||Since 18.0 (with AV1 Video Extension)|
|Windows 10 Mobile||No||Since 13.0||Since 15.0 (only via MSE)||Since 14.0 (only via MSE)||No|
|Konqueror||Unix-like and Windows||Needs OS-level codecs[d]|
|Mozilla Firefox||Windows 7+||Since 3.5||Since 21.0[e]||No||Since 4.0||Since 28.0||Since 65.0|
|Windows Vista||Since 22.0|
|Windows XP and N editions||Since 46.0|
|Linux||26.0 (via GStreamer)[f]
43.0 (via FFmpeg)
|Android||Since 17.0||in Nigthly|
|macOS||Since 34.0||Since 66.0|
|Firefox OS||Since 1.1||No|
|Opera Mobile||Android, iOS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile||Since 13.0||Since 11.50||No||Since 15.0||Since 16.0||since 57.0|
|Opera||macOS, Windows, Linux||Since 10.50||Since 24.0||Since 10.60||Yes||since 57.0|
|Safari||iOS||No||Since 3.1||Since 11||Since 12.1 (only supports WebRTC)||No||No|
|macOS||Via Xiph QuickTime Components (macOS 10.11 and earlier)|
|GNOME Web||Linux and BSD||Needs OS-level codecs[g]|
HTML has support for digital rights management (DRM, restricting how content can be used) via the HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions (EME). The addition of DRM is controversial because it allows restricting users' freedom to use media restricted by DRM, even where fair use gives users the legal right to do so. A main argument in W3C's approval of EME was that the video content would otherwise be delivered in plugins and apps, and not in the web browser.
In 2010, in the wake of Apple iPad launch and after Steve Jobs announced that Apple mobile devices would not support Flash, a number of high-profile sites began to serve H.264 HTML5 video instead of Adobe Flash for user-agents identifying as iPad. HTML5 video was not as widespread as Flash videos, though there were rollouts of experimental HTML5-based video players from DailyMotion (using Ogg Theora and Vorbis format), YouTube (using the H.264 and WebM formats), and Vimeo (using the H.264 format).
Support for HTML5 video has been steadily increasing. In June 2013, Netflix added support for HTML5 video. In January 2015, YouTube switched to using HTML5 video instead of Flash by default. In December 2015, Facebook switched from Flash to HTML5 for all video content.
As of 2016, Flash is still widely installed on desktops, while generally not being supported on mobile devices such as smartphones. The Flash plugin is widely assumed, including by Adobe, to be destined to be phased out, which will leave HTML5 video as the only widely supported method to play video on the World Wide Web. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, have plans to make almost all flash content click to play in 2017. The only major browser which does not have announced plans to deprecate Flash is Internet Explorer. Adobe announced on 25 July 2017 that they would be permanently ending development of Flash in 2020.
A video element is used for playing videos or movies.
495 Communications is an advertising and content marketing company based in New York City and Santa Monica. The New York-based editorial team produces original travel-related editorial and video content under the company's Travel Savvy brand, which was formerly a newsstand magazine title owned by Sidney Frank. The company's West Coast division manages programmatic digital and video advertising. 495 Communications also owns and operates an HTML5 video player named SavvyGo and a Quality Exchange platform, 495 Qex.Bitmovin
Bitmovin is a multimedia technology company which provides services that transcode digital video and audio to streaming formats using cloud computing, and streaming media players. Founded in 2013, the Austrian company contributes to MPEG-DASH, an open standard that allows streaming video to be played in HTML5 video and Flash players.
It is focused on adaptive streaming formats such as Apple's HTTP Live Streaming or MPEG-DASH, which can be served by any HTTP web servers (Apache, IIS, Nginx and Lighttpd) or cloud-infrastructure such as Amazon AWS.The company provides the cloud-based transcoding service bitcodin, which increases the efficiency of transcoding by using Cloud computing, which also enables transcoding of ultra-high definition video.The HTML5 and Flash-based Web player bitdash can be used in Web Browsers on desktop computers and smartphones. This player enables the streaming and playback of MPEG-DASH or Apple's HTTP Live Streaming, using either the HTML5 Media Source Extensions or Flash, depending on the platform. DRM is enabled through the usage of the HTML5 Encrypted Media Extensions as well as Flash. It is compatible to popular tools such as x264 or MP4Box.Bitmovin was founded in 2013 after research and standardization in the area of MPEG-DASH at the University of Klagenfurt. In 2014 the company secured an investment round with the venture capital fond Speedinvest and Constantia Industries. In 2014, the company was part of the top 100 companies in online media. Bitmovin is the author of the MPEG-DASH reference software libdash and contributes to the standardization at MPEG, DASH-IF, IETF, etc.
In 2015, Bitmovin participated in the YCombinator program.Clesh
Clesh (clip load edit share) is a cloud-based video editing platform designed for the consumers, prosumers, and online communities to integrate user generated content. The core technology is based on FORscene which is geared towards professionals working for example in broadcasting, news media, post production.
Video, audio, and graphical content is uploaded to Clesh via a standard web browser, a mobile device such as a phone / tablet, or desktop software for DV capture over Firewire. The hosted material can then be reviewed, searched, edited, and published online by anyone with a standard web browser or compatible mobile device.
Clesh supports storyboard shot selection, frame-accurate editing, transitions and various other functions such as; pan, zoom, colour and light correction, and audio levels. Content can be published in formats for example; Podcast, Mpeg2, HTML5 video or in a proprietary Java format.
Cloud-based software provides greater scope for sharing information and collaborating compared to LAN or desktop based systems. Users of cloud-based software rely on the cloud's owner for adequate security, performance and resilience.
Clesh does not assert any rights over uploaded content in contrast to other platforms (such as YouTube). All rights to any content uploaded to Clesh remain with the Author.Comparison of video hosting services
The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of current, notable video hosting services. Please see the individual products' articles for further information.Encrypted Media Extensions
Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) is a W3C specification for providing a communication channel between web browsers and digital rights management (DRM) agent software. This allows the use of HTML5 video to play back DRM-wrapped content such as streaming video services without the use of heavy third-party media plugins like Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. The use of a third-party key management system may be required, depending on whether the publisher chooses to scramble the keys.
EME is based on the HTML5 Media Source Extensions specification, which enables adaptive bitrate streaming in HTML5 using e.g. MPEG-DASH with MPEG-CENC protected content.EME has been highly controversial because it places a necessarily proprietary, closed component into what might otherwise be an entirely open and free software ecosystem. On July 6th, 2017, W3C publicly announced its intention to publish EME web standard, and did so on September 18th. On the same day, the Electronic Frontier Foundation published an open letter resigning from W3C.Google Chrome for Android
Google's Chrome for Android is an edition of Google Chrome released for the Android system. On February 7, 2012, Google launched Google Chrome Beta for Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) devices, for selected countries. The first stable version of the browser was released on June 27, 2012. Chrome 18.0.1026.311, released on September 26, 2012, was the first version of Chrome for Android to support Intel x86 based mobile devices.HTML5 File API
HTML5 File API aspect provides an API for representing file objects in web applications and programmatic selection and accessing their data. In addition, this specification defines objects to be used within threaded web applications for the synchronous reading of files. The File API describes how interactions with files are handled, for reading information about them and their data as well, to be able to upload it. Despite the name, the File API is not part of HTML5.HTML5 audio
HTML5 Audio is a subject of the HTML5 specification, incorporating audio input, playback, and synthesis, as well as speech to text, in the browser.Media Source Extensions
Netflix announced experimental support in June 2014 for the use of MSE playback on the Safari browser on the OS X Yosemite beta release.YouTube started using MSE with its HTML 5 player in September 2013.NanoHTTPD
NanoHttpd is an open-source, small-footprint web server that is suitable for embedding in applications, written in the Java programming language. The source code consists of a single .java file. It can be used as a library component in developing other software (such as measurement, science, and database applications) or as a standalone ad-hoc style HTTP daemon for serving files.
NanoHttpd is available in 2 "flavors" - one utilizing up-to-date Java features and one strictly conforming to Java 1.1. Due to independence from Java features beyond JDK 1.1, NanoHttpd is suited for embedded application development. NanoHttpd has been used to build, for example, Android software.The original version, released in 2003, only included simple HTTP 1.0 features, but the software has been since been extended to support some more advanced techniques such as HTTP 'keep-alive' connections, full REST style HTTP Methods, HTML5 video streaming or HTTP uploading through multipart extensions.
Current version includes Websocket and experimental HTTPS Support.Safari version history
The version history of Safari spans from 2003 to the present from its initial preview release for Mac OS X at Macworld to becoming cross-platform with versions for Windows and iOS.Use of Ogg formats in HTML5
The HTML5 draft specification adds video and audio elements for embedding video and audio in HTML documents. The specification had formerly recommended support for playback of Theora video and Vorbis audio encapsulated in Ogg containers to provide for easier distribution of audio and video over the internet by using open standards, but the recommendation was soon after dropped.VP8
VP8 is an open and royalty free video compression format owned by Google and created by On2 Technologies as a successor to VP7.
In May 2010, after the purchase of On2 Technologies, Google provided an irrevocable patent promise on its patents for implementing the VP8 format, and released a specification of the format under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. That same year, Google also released libvpx, the reference implementation of VP8, under the revised BSD license.Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and Chromium support playing VP8 video in HTML5 video tag. Internet Explorer officially supports VP8 with a separate codec.
According to Google VP8 is mainly used in connection with WebRTC and as a format for short looped animations, as a replacement for the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).VP8 can be multiplexed into the Matroska-based container format WebM along with Vorbis and Opus audio. The image format WebP is based on VP8's intra-frame coding. VP8's direct successor, VP9, and the emerging royalty-free internet video format AV1 from the Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) are based on VP8.VP9
VP9 is an open and royalty-free video coding format developed by Google.
VP9 is the successor to VP8 and competes mainly with MPEG's High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC/H.265).
At first, VP9 was mainly used on Google's video platform YouTube. The emergence of the Alliance for Open Media, and its support for the ongoing development of the successor AV1, of which Google is a part of, led to growing interest in the format.
In contrast to HEVC, VP9 support is common among web browsers (see HTML5 video § Browser support). The combination of VP9 video and Opus audio in the WebM container, as served by YouTube, is supported by roughly 4⁄5 of the browser market (mobile included) as of June 2018. The two holdouts among major browsers are the discontinued Internet Explorer (unlike its successor Edge) and Safari (both desktop and mobile versions). Android has supported VP9 since version 4.4 KitKat.
Parts of the format are covered by patents held by Google. The company grants free usage of its own related patents based on reciprocity, i.e. as long as the user does not engage in patent litigations.Video alternative to GIF
Several alternatives to the Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) have been proposed, usually HTML5 video, for the display of short, silent, looping, moving picture files on the web.
Videos resolve many issues that GIFs present through common usage on the web. They include drastically smaller file sizes, the ability to surpass the 8-bit color restriction, and better frame-handling and compression through codecs. Virtually universal support for the GIF format in web browsers and a lack of official support for video in the HTML standard caused GIF to rise to prominence for the purpose of displaying short video-like files on the web. The introduction of the video element in the HTML5 specification, which, along with the mp4 and WebM video file formats, allowed for broader support and easier implementation of videos, making video alternatives for GIFs more practical.Video email
Video email is the term for the use of email to send videos such that the recipient feels the video is being watched inside the email. This is differentiated from a video file as an email attachment or a hyperlink to video elsewhere on the internet. In contrast to text emails, videos of people talking allows for nonverbal communication which is considered 55% of all communication.The significance of video email has emerged with the final recommendation of the HTML5 video standard by World Wide Web Consortium on October 28, 2014. Html5 introduces a video element that allows video content in an email to be displayed in place. As adoption of the new standard is implemented in email client and webmailsystems, the use of embedded video email is expected to grow.WebM
WebM is an audiovisual media file format.
It is primarily intended to offer a royalty-free alternative to use in the HTML5 video and the HTML5 audio elements. It has a sister project WebP for images. The development of the format is sponsored by Google, and the corresponding software is distributed under a BSD license.
The WebM container is based on a profile of Matroska. WebM initially supported VP8 video and Vorbis audio streams. In 2013, it was updated to accommodate VP9 video and Opus audio.Xiph.Org Foundation
Xiph.Org Foundation is a non-profit organization that produces free multimedia formats and software tools. It focuses on the Ogg family of formats, and the most successful one has been Vorbis, an open and freely licensed audio format and codec designed to compete with the patented WMA, MP3 and AAC. As of 2013, the current development work is focusing on Daala, an open and patent-free video format and codec designed to compete with VP9 and the patented High Efficiency Video Coding.
In addition to its in-house development work, the Foundation has also brought several already-existing but complementary free software projects under its aegis, most of which have a separate, active group of developers. These include Speex, an audio codec designed for speech, and FLAC, a lossless audio codec.
The Xiph.Org Foundation has criticized Microsoft and the RIAA for their lack of openness. They state that if companies like Microsoft owned patents on the Internet, then other companies would try to compete, and "The Net, as designed by warring corporate entities, would be a battleground of incompatible and expensive 'standards' had it actually survived at all." They also condemn the RIAA for their support of projects such as Secure Digital Music Initiative.
In 2008, the Free Software Foundation listed the Xiph.Org projects as High Priority Free Software Projects.