2012-10-19 / Jeroen Wijering
This week we released another quarterly update to our online resource, The State of HTML5 Video Report. Since its launch in January, our HTML5 report has been read over 200,000 times, and is actively discussed on social media and the blogosphere. We eagerly await your feedback on this latest version!
In Q3 2012, there have been some interesting trends in market share both on the browser and mobile sides. We tested HTML5 support in Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and found it encouraging on most fronts. In terms of what to look for on the horizon, we are very excited about upcoming text track support and the new MediaSource API for HTML5 adaptive streaming.
Market Share Changes
The desktop browser and mobile device market continues to shift. On the browser side, Chrome keeps growing, seemingly at the expense of Firefox. IE is mostly stable, with IE9 having overtaken IE8 and IE6/7 almost gone. The two leading mobile devices both grew in overall market share: iOS share increased to 5% and Android share increased to 4%.
A downstream effect of these trends has been to advantage the MP4 video format. 60% of the world now supports MP4 in HTML5, while 50% supports WebM in HTML5. Meanwhile, Firefox works on H264 support, which will further add to MP4’s market lead.
Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, has arrived, and we put it to the test. It came through with very robust HTML5 video support overall. The choice of Chrome as its default browser means near bug-free support and periodical updates.
On the UX side, Android controls are generally more useful (for example, clicking on a poster image now starts the video) and there is smooth switching between windowed and fullscreen playback. Overall, we feel Jelly Bean brings Android’s <video> support on par with iOS.
Unfortunately, Android 4.1 did drop support for Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming protocol, after having introduced it in version 3.0. Since Adobe Flash is also no longer supported, adaptive streaming on Android is a significant a problem. It remains to be seen how Google will approach this going forward.
More Cool New Stuff
The maturing of HTML5 technology brings with it continued stability improvements across the board. For example, on Chrome and Safari, the video poster image now stays visible for audio files, and all major browsers except Opera now include a fullscreen button control.
One of the most exciting things rapidly gaining momentum is text track support. As we discussed previously, this goes way beyond captions and subtitles, and promises to revolutionize video navigation and search as well. Only Safari 6 supports text track for now, but it is soon to come in IE10, Chrome23 and Opera 12.5. Only Firefox is not actively working on it.
Another development to watch is the new Media Source Extensions. Co-authored by Microsoft and Google, this will allow adaptive streaming in HTML5, among other use cases, via an API similar to Flash. Chrome and Opera are working on implementations.
Firefox falling behind?
With a declining market share, no news on MP4 / <track> / MediaSource, and no significant mobile presence, the future does not look great for Firefox. This is unfortunate for Mozilla, but also for innovation and online standards. A diverse browser landscape with several major rendering engines is to the benefit of all.
There is still a lot of great stuff coming from Mozilla (like Opus – the free audio codec), so hopefully they’ll be able to reverse this trend and put Firefox back on <track> ;).