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YouTube Offers Experimental Opt-In HTML5 Video 265

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the step-in-the-right-direction dept.
bonch writes "YouTube is now offering the experimental option to view all YouTube videos using HTML5 in H.264 format. Supported browsers are Chrome, Safari, and the ChromeFrame plug-in for Internet Explorer. Captions, ads, and annotations aren't yet supported but are coming soon."
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YouTube Offers Experimental Opt-In HTML5 Video

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  • by Orne (144925) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:43AM (#30846516) Homepage
    Captions, ads, and annotations aren't yet supported but are coming soon.

    The three most annoying features of YouTube won't display? Where do I sign?

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:50AM (#30846610) Journal

      Well, you could sign into an account on YouTube and turn them off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcspoo (933106)
      Some of us are deaf, and would much rather Youtube caption their videos. You don't HAVE to watch it. That's why it's called CLOSED CAPTIONING. Don't like it? TURN IT OFF.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I though the OP was referring to the crappy popup that video publishers can pepper YouTube videos with "LOLOLOLOLOLOL TEH NXT BIT IZ TEH PHAT!!!!!"

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        deafies aren't the only ones who want captioning, but I do support it. There are lots of times where I'd like youtube muted and/or if they had captions in another language it would ease translation, and also enable youtube to be a useful teaching tool for other languages. Meanwhile I'd rather see ogg as an option over H264. H264 is an improvement over flash, but that issue will rage on for a while. [arstechnica.com]

      • by mblase (200735) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:58PM (#30848470)

        Some of us are deaf, and would much rather Youtube caption their videos. You don't HAVE to watch it. That's why it's called CLOSED CAPTIONING. Don't like it? TURN IT OFF.

        Just because you're hard-of-hearing doesn't mean you have to shout all the time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by OMGcAPSLOCK (1507399)
        You've got it the wrong way round. Yes, some of us are deaf, but most of us aren't. So if you need it, turn it on, not vice verse. I'm left handed, so I have to move the mouse to the other side of the keyboard every time I use someone else's computer or a public terminal. Do I have a problem with this? No. It's hardly a huge inconvenience (much like enabling annotations on a per-video basis isn't either), and the people that DO "suffer" this inconvenience represent only ~10% of the population. The hard of h
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

        .Some of us are deaf, and would much rather Youtube caption their videos. You don't HAVE to watch it. That's why it's called CLOSED CAPTIONING. Don't like it? TURN IT OFF.

        YouTube has closed captioning? I thought all they had were stupid popup captions that are manually added by video uploaders. Google Voice has quite a bit more training to do before closet captioning is anything like automatic or pervasive on YouTube.

    • by rumith (983060) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:52AM (#30846634)
      Here [youtube.com]
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:54AM (#30846652)

      The three most annoying features of YouTube won't display? Where do I sign?

      Captions? They are opt-in, and they can be very useful for hard of hearing people (if the video creators do add them, that is...)

      Agreed on the others, though.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Good to see Firefox unsupported. Maybe that will show Mozilla that they really should buy a license for the best of the most superior codecs currently known -- H.264.

      If a patent license is required, hell, by all means buy it and stop talking crap about Free codecs (as in Speech)! That's also why Google pays the Mozilla Corporation hundreds of millions of USD.

      • by slim (1652) <john@ha[ ]up.net ['rtn' in gap]> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:26PM (#30847068) Homepage

        Good to see Firefox not opting into a system that pushes us towards a non-free de-facto standard.

        We don't want to sleep walk into a situation where anyone who wants to encode video that they expect to be widely usable, must pay for a non-free license.

        True, Firefox walks a fine line, because it could lose market share, in which case it will all be in vain. We need ubiquitous, cheap chipsets that support Theora - or something else free. That won't happen if everyone just rolls over and pays for H.264.

        • by P-Nuts (592605)
          I don't think H.264 is patented in the UK. Why can't we have a version of Firefox that supports it?
        • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:30PM (#30848062) Homepage

          Part of the problem is that h264 licensing fees are generally hidden. You don't pay for a license, your hardware/software vendor does. Apple and Microsoft and Google all buy the licenses for you and include them in their products. It's hard to convey the importance of the licenses for non-free codecs if they seem to be free.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 21, 2010 @02:02PM (#30848520)

            "Apple and Microsoft and Google all buy the licenses for you"

            Apple doesn't. Apple is one of the patent holders in the H.264 pool. As a result, they can instead cross-license with all the other pool members outside of the pool. This is why you don't see them listed as a licensee (google and msft are fully paid up).

            In Google's case they are already so far beyond the annual organizational maximum that H.264 is fairly cheap for them, and they can't reduce their costs by using something else. But the costs are quite oppressive to start-ups and new players and makes great ammo against open source solutions.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sir Homer (549339)
            That's not true. They just haven't gone after the rest of the Internet yet. H.264 is like a new GIF in the making (remember why PNG was created?). People don't realize how dangerous this can be, it's more then just a ethics thing.
      • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:27PM (#30847090) Homepage Journal

        And if they don't want to mess around with the licensing terms, just embed VLC player and be done with it. Firefox not supporting H.264 helps Flash Video to survive.

        If Firefox doesn't care that Flash can play H.264 videos then they shouldn't care that VLC can play H.264 videos.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BZ (40346)

        It's not just a matter of money. It's a matter of Firefox not being able to be redistributed by downstream distributors unless they _also_ buy the license. As in, it would effectively stop being free software in the "can modify and redistribute" sense.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >The three most annoying features of YouTube won't display? Where do I sign?

      Im sure the HTML video tag will be wrapped within a flash box to produce ads and stupid annotations.

  • It's about time. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @11:45AM (#30846546)

    Flash has always been a Band-Aid on a gangrenous ulcer. If you aren't [un-]lucky enough to be running Windows it sucks up gobs of CPU time to decode even the teensiest thumbnail of video, which is incredibly annoying when you visit websites that are plastered in Flash ads. HTML5 has its problems, but it's worlds better than what always seemed to me like the Next Coming of Java.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bradbury (33372)

      Agreed. I've got NoScript running in most of my Firefox sessions so don't run into Flash problems that often (as Javascript is often used to start Flash) but in working a little with chrome and the FlashBlock extension that seems to be an even better approach.

      Now the question will be whether there will be a way to disable the nasty HTML5 video options when advertisers start to abuse those as well. Video should always be "at the user's discretion", precisely because there are probably hundreds of millions

      • I think a NoVideo would be easy to implement since elements can be manipulated by Javascript.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Randle_Revar (229304)

        you don't need flashblock, noscript blocks flash just fine. Just tell it to block flash and to apply restrictions to trusted sites as well.

    • by Ilgaz (86384) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:10PM (#30846838) Homepage

      Flash is already on my Symbian phone and various other platforms. Will HTML5 advocates spare time to non cool (!) platforms to code a codec/driver along with testing thousands of different setups to show their Theora video which is clearly missing 2-3 generations in video codec development compared to H264?

      Google, a multi billion giant can roll out a good "quicktime interface" for youtube, can even add extra features to it but it doesn't really mean HTML5 with codecs which nobody can agree will crush Flash.

      BTW; if you are concerned about Flash CPU usage, use 10.1 beta which has GPU decoding under Windows. I have seen it using almost nothing while playing 1080P video over youtube.

      I keep testing Theora and sorry to say, I don't think it will take off unless Google does some amazing thing and make the VP7+ codecs open, free as in freedom. Now that would really change entire media universe. Hopefully they purchased that codec company for that reason.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        BTW; if you are concerned about Flash CPU usage, use 10.1 beta which has GPU decoding under Windows.

        Great, so if I want decent performance out of one of the most popular internet video services, I am tied to Windows. Yuck.

        I think even Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall for Flash. However, if you no longer need Flash to view videos on the web that's just one more reason why you don't need Windows. Luckily for us, Microsoft wants all of us to replace the horrible Flash with the new and improved Microsoft Silverlight. :p

        Thanks, but no thanks. I'm one of the ones hoping for HTML5 video to take off.

      • by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:43PM (#30847328)

        BTW; if you are concerned about Flash CPU usage, use 10.1 beta which has GPU decoding under Windows.

        Yeah I tried that. I had to move back down to 10.0 because while the performance was better, videos looked like crap because hey, guess what, 10.1 doesn't have nice-looking video scaling! I'm sorry, but I'd rather have Flash eat my CPU alive than feel like gouging my eyes out due to uneven pixelation.

              --- Mr. DOS

  • When I go on digg.com/videos and see a Top 10 XYZ videos of 2009, there will still be 10 embedded flash players on that page and will bring my system to its knees. This is only good for viewing youtube.com and not for people who embed stuff.

    • by samkass (174571)

      On the Mac/Safari I use ClickToFlash, which turns off auto-run on all Flash content and lets you click specific flash panels if you want to run them. (It also adds a menu selection to let you turn on all Flash for a given page or override the settings for a given site.) Further, it can recognize YouTube URLs and redirect you from the Flash to the h.264 if available. That single feature is worth more than any speed increase in any other browser... hopefully it spreads.

      I disapprove of ad-blocking software

  • by jschen (1249578) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:25PM (#30847054)
    Using Safari/OSX (latest version of each) on a first generation Core2 Duo laptop (2.33 GHz), I tried watching the same video (containing no ads, annotations, etc) at the same size using both the default Flash option and the beta HTML5 option. CPU use was a steady 33-34% during playback in Flash. A steady 12-13% in HTML5. Seems like a winner to me.
    • by gazbo (517111) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @01:17PM (#30847892)
      I've tried in in Chrome/WinXP, and the HTML5 version is absolute crap. No significant difference in CPU usage (but as both never get above about 5% it's hard to tell), but the HTML5 version looks awful. The video is completely blocky - small blocks, mind, but so sharply defined that it looks like the video has been painted on canvas.

      I suspect the actual amount of detail in the pictures is the same, but the way it's smoothed in the Flash version looks a hell of a lot better than how Chrome handles it. It's even worse in motion, because the size and type of artifact changes depending on whether areas are moving, unlike the Flash version which is consistent.

      Presumably it's just different options being passed to the 264 codec, but without any obvious way for me to change them it's verging on painful to watch.

  • ...is the Firefox team to get over themselves, and integrate ffmpeg, for instant support of every format out there!

    But I bet they will bitch and scream again, mentioning some “non-freeness” of H.264, despite nobody having cared about GIF support or anything, and ffmpeg being free and with H.264 support.

    I hope Google tells them: Either you support it, or the money deal ends right now.

    • by BZ (40346) on Thursday January 21, 2010 @12:33PM (#30847184)

      > and ffmpeg being free and with H.264 support

      Free in what sense? You can use their code in your code. Your code would then not be able to be distributed to users unless you pay the relevant patent licensing fees. The Mozilla Corporation could do that, but then any other Firefox distributors (e.g. Linux distributions) would not be able to distribute Firefox without either removing this functionality or paying the relevant patent licensing fees. Anyone doing a custom build of Firefox and distributing it could be sued by MPEG-LA to recover the money due them.

      Effectively, Firefox stops being "free" for practical intents and purposes. It's still "open source", but the only thing you can really do is contribute patches back to the main repository, unless you pay up the patent fees.

      That's not exactly a desirable situation. We might end up there, but as a first cut trying to avoid it is a good thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bill_mcgonigle (4333) *

      But I bet they will bitch and scream again, mentioning some "non-freeness" of H.264, despite nobody having cared about GIF support or anything, and ffmpeg being free and with H.264 support.

      In many jurisdictions, ffmpeg is only Free as in Beer, not Free as in Speech. Firefox doesn't want to give up broad international distribution or its corporate status.

  • crashes chrome on linux HARD...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by m0i (192134)

      crashes chrome on linux HARD...

      Which is it? chrome only (so it is not HARD) or the whole system (meaning it could well be X/the display driver that bring the system down).

"The eleventh commandment was `Thou Shalt Compute' or `Thou Shalt Not Compute' -- I forget which." -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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