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%)

Closing Statements

Peace is at hand

Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson: My colleague, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, argued that, in many ways, the Web video wars are just beginning, entering a new phase rather than an actual armistice.Well, North and South Korea are technically still at war, too, and, while tensions remain high, not much is likely to come of it besides posturing. The same goes for the ongoing Flash vs. HTML5 skirmishes and scuffles over competing video codecs. Plenty will happen behind the scenes and the major players (Google, Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and even Adobe) will make much ado about various advances and setbacks.

The bottom line, though, is that no one is stupid enough to jeopardize end users' ability to watch Netflix or YouTube on their particular browser, OS, or hardware. The ultimate goal, after all, is platform market share. All the rest are just details that will be transparent to most producers and consumers of video (who, in 2012, are often the same people).

The war rages on

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

As I think it's become clear Chris and I really aren't that far apart at all. For better or worse, Adobe Flash is going to stick around for a long time to come.

The real problem is that as we turn more and more to mobile devices fewer and fewer of them will support Flash. That's going to end up vexing some users. They, in turn, are going to yell at the Web site owners and they will response by supporting HTML5 video.

Unfortunately, HTML5 video isn't a real solution. It's a band-aid. Under it, Web developers are going to have to support not one but several different video container and codec formats. What they'd like is a single universal and real Web video format so they won't have to go to all this extra effort. They're not going to get it though. We're no where close to such a standard.

Like it or not the closest we've ever come to such a thing is Adobe Flash. The Web video wars are going to keep going on, though hopefully end-users won't see much of it, for years to come and Flash will still be a player in these battles.

Flash will be around for a long time

Lawrence Dignan

Nothing like Adobe's Flash to line up a few good quotes from our debaters. In this one, we focused on the video wars and Flash's future. In the end, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols won the debate even with his rather terse answers. On the desktop at least, Flash will be around for a long time.


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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