The manner in which most videos are currently played through browsers these days is through a Flash plugin. This works pretty well but Flash unfortunately requires a lot of computing power. A new web standard HTML5 is trying to change that.
HTML5 has been designed with audio and video codecs which should take less processing power than an equivalent Flash player. Independent tests have shown that this is generally so although not entirely across the board. As with most new technologies, things are not always clearcut.
However even with improvements in processing efficiency from HTML5, it should not be assumed that it will completely replace Flash or even have a significant impact, especially on rich web content. Flash still has many advantages such as:
~ Better sub pixel resolution and anti aliasing
~ It’s good excellent developer tools (far more extensive than HTML5)
~ Flash has a vast array of good looking and impactful fonts
At this point, graphic artists and game developers still love Flash. And though they certainly like the idea of being able to operate with less computing overhead, they want to get the most control and ability to generate outstanding results.
However for many simpler video playback application such as in YouTube, HTML5 has the ability to quickly surpass Flash as the video/audio player of choice in browsers. At this point, the development of the YouTube HTML5 supported player is still in its early phases and a lot more tweaking and refinement must be done.
It also needs more support to work properly with other browsers and extensive testing to work out instability and incompatibility issues. However since it’s on an open platform, there are many people working through these issues so it is just a matter of time.
But many people feel that this process could easily take years. There are still many issues to work through. This gets down to some parts of the HTML5 specification which are viewed to be controversial by many critics.
And the fact still remains that HTML5 is not compatible with all browsers and many users are resistant to changing to another browser. As far as the average computer user is concerned, if it works ok for them they are not interested in moving to another browser.
For example, Intenet Explorer is largely criticized for its instability and security flaws. Yet many people steadfastly hold on that browser and are very reluctant to change to something like Firefox or Chrome.
So be aware that even with the potential efficiencies which HTML5 can bring, don’t expect rapid deployment or changes away from Flash.