YouTube begins transition to HTML5 for default playback

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YouTube announced yesterday that videos on the desktop website will now default to HTML5 when loaded. In other words, HTML5 is kicking Flash to the curb. So much for all the pundits and analysts who a) thought Apple abandoning mobile Flash was a strategic mistake or b) believed Apple would eventually cave in and support Flash on the iPhone.

Four years ago, we wrote about YouTube’s early support for the HTML5 <video> tag and how it performed compared to Flash. At the time, there were limitations that held it back from becoming our preferred platform for video delivery. Most critically, HTML5 lacked support for Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) that lets us show you more videos with less buffering.

Over the last four years, we’ve worked with browser vendors and the broader community to close those gaps, and now, YouTube uses HTML5 <video> by default in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and in beta versions of Firefox.