The State of HTML5 Video – Q1 2013

It’s been a busy first quarter for 2013! Already this year we have seen Microsoft’s foray into tablet with their Surface, and BlackBerry’s release of their long-awaited BB10 phone. To coincide with the latest update of our State of HTML5 Video Report, we’ll explore a couple of industry changes impacting the world of online video.

Market Share Changes

Since our last report in January, we’ve seen a stabilisation in market share for mobile browsers, which remains around 15%. On the desktop side, now that Internet Explorer 10 for Windows 7 has finally been released, there’s a good chance IE9/10’s share will surpass that of Firefox over the next couple of months:

HTML5 Video Browser Market Share for Q1 2013

FireFox Gains MP4 Support

It should also be noted that Mozilla has implemented preliminary support for MP4 playback in FireFox. While this functionality is targeted to ship with FireFox 21 later this May, it is currently available for Windows users via their nightly builds. The addition will make MP4 support ubiquitous across all major desktop browsers. We’ll keep an eye out to see if this helps FireFox regain some of its lost market share. Overall it is a step in the right direction for Mozilla, which now makes embedding video content less cumbersome across browsers.

Opera Moves to Webkit

Other significant news this quarter came from Opera, who announced that they will be moving from their own Presto rendering engine to WebKit. In part, this move may have been a result of web designers writing webkit-only mobile sites. Earlier this March, a beta for Opera on Android using WebKit was released, and has mostly positive reviews. As long as Opera is able to deliver features unmatched by their rivals, they should be good to go.

Text Tracks in Chrome for Android

The latest release of the Chrome (v25) for Android 4.0 devices adds new functionality, including support for the <track> element. While testing this, we did come across a few issues. First, this preliminary implementation does not work visually. It causes playback to become garbled and makes the controls unstable. Second, there is no option to enable captions while the player is in fullscreen. Below screenshot is an example of inline playback with captions enabled. As you can see, they are not rendering correctly:

broken text track in Chrome for Android

Internet Explorer 10 Improvements

In our last update, Internet Explorer 10 had just been released alongside Windows 8. Since then, the browser has been released for Windows 7, and has gained a market share of some 5%. While IE 10 brings speed enhancements to startup and page rendering times, the biggest improvement is its expanded support for HTML5 and CSS3. In our HTML5 Video tests, we’ve seen new support for video tracks and VTT captions, plus fixes around video preloading and poster image rendering.

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