Sure, Flash is dead. But are the Web video wars over?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | August 20, 2012 -- 07:00 GMT (00:00 PDT)

Summary: Or will HTML5 make them irrelevant?

Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

Yes, war's won


No, heating up

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Best Argument: No, heating up


Audience Favored: No, heating up (63%)

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Video wars...who cares?

Chris Dawson: Web video wars? Does anyone besides the web video teams at Google, Apple, and Microsoft actually care? HTML5 already supports the majority of competing codecs across most browsers. Sure, Google continues to posture with WebM, Apple is the poster child for vendor lock-in, and Microsoft continues to struggle for relevance on the Web; Mozilla is just trying to figure out who to follow.

I don’t lay awake at night wondering which standard I should use to encode the videos I produce (and I produce a lot of them). The HTML5 tag solves a whole lot of problems by letting web browsers display whatever they support. 8-core processors solve even more by making multiple renderings of web videos in different formats trivial.

In the end, multiple codecs will grumpily coexist, made largely into religious issues for developers by HTML5, and, as long as they can watch YouTube and Netflix, ignored by users.

Flash, as alive as ever

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols: Yes, we all hate Flash. Even Adobe's not that crazy about it anymore. Too bad. There's still no replacement for it.

HTML5 video you say? What about it?

HTML5's video tag doesn't define which file format, such as MPEG4 or WebM, or video or audio codec, such as H.264 or VP8, are permitted. All HTML5 does is let Web developers set up case statements so that they can supply a choice of various combinations of containers and codecs in the hope that your device can support one of them.

In other words, HTML5 video is just a rug that covers the dirt of multiple video formats. It doesn't replace Flash at all. In fact, you can still use Flash within it. We're a long way from being Flash free.


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  • Over?

    Not very likely at all.
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for No, heating up
  • The war isn't over.

    But it ain't heating up either. HTML is the future but it's adoption will be slow.
    Reply 2 Votes I'm Undecided
    • But what is it really?

      So we have a new box frame called HTML5.
      I can put the same old crap in it or something new.
      What am I getting and what is it really buying me?

      I hear hooves, smell gun smoke and see a player piano......
      The hell with popcorn, I need a drink.
      Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Nobody knows, to be honest....

        "But what is it really? "

        Nobody knows, to be honest. It's not even a finished spec, so even the W3C, the people who are designing it, don't know what it is.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • The war isn't over.

    But it ain't heating up either. HTML5 is the future but it's adoption will be slow.
    Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • The war has been over for two years now.

    Only minor battles will rage on for awhile by people unwilling to accept the future. Reminds me of the death of 5 1/4" floppies.
    Reply 2 Votes I'm for Yes, war's won
    • flash not dead

      That's what's called a "Self-fulfilling prophecy" : Flash isn't dead to me or indeed the majority of people that own devices that support Flash.

      It IS only dead, and has been dead for years, to all those people that allowed Apple to amputate their browser-experience. Fat choice they had!

      But that reality is distorted. And they are caught in the distortion-field and forced to 'work-around' the inability of their device to access Flash based websites.

      Sure enough eventually Flash will have simmered out completely on all wesites. But not today ... not yesterday, and not 3 years ago.
      Reply 4 Votes I'm Undecided
      • flash wins the war

        Flash is the future of html5, it never died. Just because Jobs couldn't figure it out doesn't mean nobody else can. Not to mention flash will be a part of our lives for another decade or more, or it may just even revolutionise it yet again. But one thing is for sure, html5 will not replace flash. Not in any lifetime.
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
  • Yes, flash sucks ...

    It's slow, buggy, and full of security holes ... So why don't they strip it down to it's essentials and rebuild it from scratch ... Either let someone else build a product that takes care of the extra crap, or build a seperate product themselves?
    Reply 3 Votes I'm Undecided
    • adobe is working on something better.. :)

      trouble is, will it stop idiots (yes, even big companies!!) making awfull programming mistakes???
      Reply 1 Vote I'm Undecided