YouTube pushes Flash to the back burner, will now default to HTML5 player

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
Nearly five years after Steve Jobs published his infamous "Thoughts on Flash," streaming video service YouTube has announced plans to migrate away from the technology as users accessing the site via Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8, and beta versions of Firefox will now be served the HTML5 video player by default.




Calling the move a "critical step forward," YouTube engineering manager Richard Leider detailed the company's reasoning in a post to the official YouTube Engineering blog. It represents the culmination of four years of work, and was enabled by several recent additions to the HTML5 video specification.

MediaSource Extensions allowed YouTube to provide adaptive bitrate streaming, which provides a mechanism for adjusting the quality of the video stream based on the throughput of the user's internet connection. Encrypted Media Extensions provide a framework for layering digital rights management into a standard HTML5 video player, and have also spurred adoption of the standard by companies like Netflix.

Leider also calls out Google's VP9 codec --?though videos will continue to be available in h.264 --?as well as the new live-streaming WebRTC technology and HTML5's new Fullscreen API.

Alongside the user-facing changes, YouTube has also officially deprecated its Flash API and object embeds in favor if its more recent iframe system. There is no word on when or if YouTube will disable Flash entirely.

Flash usage has been driven steadily downhill largely by the popularity of Apple's iOS devices, which do not support Flash. Blowback from that decision prompted Jobs's widely-cited open letter in which he recounted six reasons that Flash would not make its way to iOS.

Adobe has also faced numerous security problems with Flash. Most recently, the company acknowledged a critical vulnerability in the Flash player that could allow an attacker to take over users' computers simply by directing them to a website.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55

     

     

    Just pulled Flash off my MBA, will remove it from other computers as time allows.

  • Reply 2 of 55
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,375member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Flash usage has been driven steadily downhill largely by the popularity of Apple's iOS devices, which do not support Flash. 

     

    Actually, no current mobile operating system supports Flash. It's not just the popularity of iOS devices that has driven Flash usage, it's the entire smartphone and tablet marketplace.

     

    Adobe themselves abandoned Flash development for mobile devices years ago. The software simply doesn't exist.

  • Reply 3 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    Nearly five years after Steve Jobs published his infamous "Thoughts on Flash," streaming video service YouTube has announced plans to migrate away from the technology as users accessing the site via Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8, and beta versions of Firefox will now be served the HTML5 video player by default.

    I'm not sure if this qualifies as Schadenfreude or not, but I laughed at the headline because of all the people that claimed the iPhone wold fail without Flash and used YouTube as the reason why Flash is required, and today it's not even the primary way in which media will be delivered even in IE on Windows.
    ...and have also spurred adoption of the standard by companies like Netflix.

    Huh?! I hadn't heard about this, but a quick search shows this happened months ago.
  • Reply 4 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    [image]

    Just pulled Flash off my MBA, will remove it from other computers as time allows.

    For those wishing to do the same it's /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Flash Player Install Manager.app » Uninstall.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post

    Huh?! I hadn't heard about this, but a quick search shows this happened months ago.

     

    And it happened because Microsoft is deprecating Silverlight, which is what Netflix was using.

  • Reply 6 of 55
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    For those wishing to do the same it's /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Flash Player Install Manager.app » Uninstall.



    It'll also show up in Launchpad, I believe. It did on mine.

  • Reply 7 of 55

    Verily, this is welcome news.

     

    Now, get rid of all the advertisements.

  • Reply 8 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    And it happened because Microsoft is deprecating Silverlight, which is what Netflix was using.

    I was aware they had used Silverlight, and I quite liked it over Flash for superficial reasons, like how the settings windows looked when you Option-clicked the player.
  • Reply 9 of 55
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member

    Bravo!

  • Reply 10 of 55
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,548member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    For those wishing to do the same it's /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Flash Player Install Manager.app » Uninstall.



    Screw that Solips... I'm doing a clean-install of OSX... why go to such extremes??? :)





  • Reply 11 of 55
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post





    I was aware they had used Silverlight, and I quite liked it over Flash for superficial reasons, like how the settings windows looked when you Option-clicked the player.



    Silverlight was a good product. I was sad to see they were killing it, actually, as I never had any problems with it. Yes, it's not a true open standard, but as proprietary stuff goes, it was pretty good.

  • Reply 12 of 55

    And...good riddance.

  • Reply 13 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    mpantone wrote: »
    Actually, no current mobile operating system supports Flash. It's not just the popularity of iOS devices that has driven Flash usage, it's the entire smartphone and tablet marketplace.

    Adobe themselves abandoned Flash development for mobile devices years ago. The software simply doesn't exist.

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't the reason Adobe gave up on mobile precisely because iOS didn't support it so zero market? Didn't early Android mobile devices brag about supporting Flash?
  • Reply 14 of 55
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Leider also calls out Google's VP9 codec --though videos will continue to be available in h.264 

    I read the original article:

     

    http://youtube-eng.blogspot.com/2015/01/youtube-now-defaults-to-html5_27.html

     

    I could not find any mention of continued support for H.264. Is that information from another source?

  • Reply 15 of 55

    Quote:


    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't the reason Adobe gave up on mobile precisely because iOS didn't support it so zero market? Didn't early Android mobile devices brag about supporting Flash?

    Yes. Android up through 4.0 supported Flash.

  • Reply 16 of 55
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member

    FINALLY.

  • Reply 17 of 55
    solipsismysolipsismy Posts: 5,099member
    sflocal wrote: »


    [VIDEO]


    I can't tell you how pleased I was when South Park mentioned that oddly stated line from the first sequel...

    [VIDEO]


    [VIDEO]
  • Reply 18 of 55
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,167member
    Quote:
    Yes. Android up through 4.0 supported Flash.
    Thanks. I thought mpantone's comments seemed wrong.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    jexusjexus Posts: 373member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by mstone View Post

     

    I read the original article:

     

    http://youtube-eng.blogspot.com/2015/01/youtube-now-defaults-to-html5_27.html

     

    I could not find any mention of continued support for H.264. Is that information from another source?




    Youtube HTML5(youtube.com/html5) splash page has always listed H.264 as an accepted codec and I never recalled a problem uploading an mp4 video up to the site. Even Youtube-dl defaults to an mp4 unless specified.

     

    Don't know if you would count that as a source though

  • Reply 20 of 55
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Jexus View Post

    Youtube HTML5(youtube.com/html5) splash page has always listed H.264 as an accepted codec and I never recalled a problem uploading an mp4 video up to the site. Even Youtube-dl defaults to an mp4 unless specified.

     

    Don't know if you would count that as a source though


    I recall a few years ago they were threatening to remove H.264 from Chrome but then decided not to do it. 

     

    I also discovered on that same link you provided that Safari does not support MediaSource Extensions.

     

    Quote:


     MediaSource Extensions

    Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) streaming is critical for providing a quality video experience for viewers - allowing us to quickly and seamlessly adjust resolution and bitrate in the face of changing network conditions. ABR has reduced buffering by more than 50 percent globally and as much as 80 percent on heavily-congested networks. MediaSource Extensions also enable live streaming in game consoles like Xbox and PS4, on devices like Chromecast and in web browsers.


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