HTML 5 Video Tag

There is a lot of buzz right now around the native <video> tag specified in HTML 5. The introduction of the <video> tag is a pretty big deal. Up until now, to display video in a browser, you needed to use third-party plug-ins embedded in object tags. This allowed for the video to be seen in the browser, but the video wasn't really part of the web page - it was trapped inside a box.

While browser support is not uniform yet, two major browser now include support for this tag. In Firefox 3.5, you get native OGG video playback. On Safari 3.1 or 4, you get native H.264 playback. The video is played by the browser itself without a need for plug-ins. Without the plug-ins, videos load faster, are more reliable, and are subject to fewer browser crashes.

Suddenly, all sorts of really amazing things can happen - all the tools and operations that browsers perform on elements of a page can now be applied to video. Video can be dynamically modified using JavaScript and CSS, filters and transformations can be applied, canvas and SVG can be combined with video, etc.

Check out some of these early demos:

Firefox 3.5 Treats Videos Like Web Pages

While there is no support for HTML 5 <video> tag in Internet Explorer, the most used browser, blueprints are available for anyone interested in using this new tag while gracefully accepting browsers that require plug-ins. These instructions do not require JavaScript and require only two video encodings, one OGG file for Firefox 3.5, and one MP4 file for everything else (Flash / Safari / iPhone) to provide universal access.

The video tag is not yet as full-featured as a Flash-based player-- for example, there is no full-screen support-- but the idea is to let the capabilities catch up and surpass what is currently possible with Flash by staying with HTML standards.