How Online Video Works: Flash Very Much Alive
Category: Tablets, Smartphones, Operating systems, Video Tech
Now let's turn our attention to the two dominant platforms in the mobile markets, iOS and Android. As you can see in Table 2, both support HTML5 and AIR applications, but the Flash player isn't an option for either. If you decide to go the HTML5 route, H.264 is the obvious choice.
Table 2: Mobile markets and video-related features.
|Flash Player support||No||No|
|AIR app support||Yes||Yes|
|Flash streaming||AIR only||AIR only|
|Adaptive streaming||HTTP Live Streaming (HLS)/AIR||HLS (Android 3.0+ ~ 30%)/AIR|
|Live video||Flash, HLS||Flash, HLS|
|Digital rights management||HLS||HLS (Android 3.0+ ~ 30%)/AIR|
|Closed captions||HLS/AIR||HLS (Android 3.0+ ~ 30%)/AIR|
|Peer to peer||AIR||AIR|
HTTP Live streaming provides adaptive streaming, digital rights management and closed captions for all iOS devices, and for Android 3.0 and later devices, although this still comprises only 35.8% of Android devices according to Google's latest numbers (as of Dec. 5). In addition, HLS support has some notable flaws, such as the inability to seek through on-demand streams, and scenarios where the aspect ratio can be distorted upon full-time playback.
The other alternative to deliver these features to Android devices is an AIR application, though Flash DRM is not supported on the iOS platform via AIR applications. The only alternative for peer-to-peer and multicast delivery in an AIR application on both platforms.
In general, for single-file streaming to desktops and mobile markets, supplying an H.264 file for HTML5 playback and deploying an HMTL5 player with fallback to Flash should suffice for many websites. Those publishers wishing to go beyond single-file playback will find HTML5 of little value, and might have to deploy a multiple technology strategy incorporating Flash, HLS and AIR applications, and perhaps a transmux-capable server like the Wowza or Adobe Media Server.