Time to Abandon Flash? It Depends

Flash has been getting lots of bad press lately, some deserved, some not. Is it time to abandon Adobe’s long-in-the-tooth technology? Well, judging from the title an article I wrote that recently appeared on Streaming Media, HTML5 Comes of Age: It’s Finally Time to Tell Flash Good-bye, you would think so. Funny thing, though, editors create the titles, not authors, and in my opinion, the conclusion is a bit more nuanced than the title might suggest. 

As the article describes, the initial version of HTML5 was pretty much unusable by any sophisticated site (see, Enough About HTML5 Video Already), but is being bolstered by two extensions, the Media Source Extensions (MSE), which enables adaptive streaming, live, and captioning, and the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), which enables DRM. Like all things HTML5, new extensions don’t matter until they’re actually in the browsers. While MSE is making great headway, EME is behind and has a couple of severe implementation issues that you can read about in the article. Support among advertising networks is also trailing. 

The bottom line is that if you need DRM, HTML5 is still a very imperfect solution. If you don’t, it’s go time for HTMl5 and the article describes three off-the-shelf players you can use to accelerate your HTML5 development. You can watch a video from Streaming Media East describing the technologies and presenting a case study of their use here.

Either way, the article provides a useful summary of the status of HTML5 and Flash, with lots of input from industry execs other than myself. Overall, an efficient way to get up to speed. 

About Jan Ozer

I help companies train new technical hires in streaming media-related positions; I also help companies optimize their codec selections and encoding stacks, and evaluate new encoders and codecs.

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