Video Player Technology Transitions
Videos have become ubiquitous in the digital world. The players that they play on continue to have an ongoing battle to gain their supremacy, in terms of features they offer and the technologies they support. While most of them largely provide the core features such as video capture, editing, publishing, captioning etc. in terms of technology the support they extend is an area of open discussion for quite some time now. Whether they should go with HTML5, Flash or Silverlight is a question, every player should answer upfront.
For obvious advantages that the HTML5 player brings in around openness and ease of use, from a user standpoint, there is overwhelming support for the technology. Silverlight and Flash video players have long been punching bags taking in critical feedback from players, users, and the market at large – for example, besides just the openness quotient Flash has often been criticized for, its vulnerabilities, lack of robust security, and the lack of user experience requiring periodic upgrades are also serious issues. Silverlight, though not as popular as Flash in terms of market share, has its own user base. The picture below shows the market share across browsers and the support for HTML5 and Flash across browsers.
Today, while HTML5 is seen more popular with a futuristic outlook, Flash still has a large market share due to the sheer set of existing videos that are built on it. Most video players have a dominant technology that they start with and a fall back to support. Our player Phando for example, primarily supports HTML5 and has Flash as a fallback. Similar to the browser scenario where even a less popular browser takes its time to exit, given the widespread existing use, even a less popular player technology is not going to exit the market overnight. Such a phased and gradual exit gives enough time for all entities – whether end users, video players, technology proprietors to transition out of it with ease. This is exactly what we will see with HTML5, Flash and Silverlight in the coming years