Google has a beta of YouTube that uses HTML5's video tag, but what gains do I get from using this, other than not having to install Flash just for YouTube?

5 Answers 5


Four points that make HTML5 not so hot for YouTube:

  • Cannot point to a particular point in a video with the #t=21m0s portions
  • Cannot watch content protected videos
  • Full Screen Support (currently does full browser screen)
  • Recording directly to YouTube with a webcam
  • On Firefox and Opera, only videos with WebM transcodes will play in HTML5 (found this one on HTML5 beta page)

Advantages are written by every blogger out there, mainly less memory hogging and browser/mobile compatibility.

  • 1
    One should try to be ahead of the curve in technology.
    – Woot4Moo
    Jul 1, 2010 at 15:16
  • Both Firefox (mozillalinks.org/wp/2009/10/…) and Safari do now have support for fullscreen playback.
    – Marc
    Jul 6, 2010 at 0:21
  • 1
    Last time I tried, the HTML 5 version also lacked higher resolutions (720 and 1080) on a (possibly limited) number of videos, which only showed 480. That was the nail in the coffin for me.
    – user13779
    Oct 14, 2011 at 20:34
  • Most of these issues are fine now in 2020
    – Ferrybig
    Mar 31, 2020 at 16:53

Under OS X (and probably on Linux too) the HTML5 video playback uses far less CPU than the Flash video player. This might change when hardware acceleration is released in the OS X Flash Player (currently available as a beta http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/flashplayer10/gala/)

  • Are there any disadvantages, like poorer streaming quality? Use of more bandwidth?
    – Jeff Yates
    Jul 1, 2010 at 13:56
  • 1
    phwd has answered with some disadvantages. Bandwidth usage is largely the same, all but lowest quality video (360p) use the same source regardless of html5 or flash. Quality wise, it would be down to the differences in the video decoder in the browser and the flash player, which I think would be virtually indistinguishable
    – Marc
    Jul 1, 2010 at 14:05
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    I can verify that Flash blows in Linux Mint (Mint is basically a nicer version of Ubuntu). Playing .flv files usually shows a noticeable flicker during playback no matter what your bandwidth/processing power is, the flash player will intermittently crash in Chrome, and it eats a unnecessary amount of processing power. HTML5 video on *nix is a much better option. Jul 8, 2010 at 4:25
  • @Evan thanks for verifynig that, I wasn't expecting to be that bad though
    – Marc
    Jul 8, 2010 at 12:53
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    you wonder why *nix users are so bitter towards Flash... Native video playback will go a long way to easing problems on platforms that are poorly supported or not supported at all. Look at iPad users, they can't even watch .flv videos. Apple is completely riding on HTML5 video as the future of online video. Lots of people would like to see Adobe get knocked of their pedestal because there have been so many issues/bugs/security vulnerabilities with Flash. Jul 8, 2010 at 17:04

Utilizing HTML5 will allow you, ideally, to avoid the ever growing list of security issues with Flash. Which, in itself, is value enough.


The best advantage of HTML5 of YouTube player is compatibility with Android devices. When the user click the player to watch a video, no need to skip to YouTube App. Just embed and watch the video within the page, no Flash problems. At PresentationTube, we use HTML5 to allow mobile users watch the video within the page the same as the desktop.


HTML5 disables the plugin container in Firefox and this is a good opportunity to have lower memory usage with this browser. Also, HTML5 loads faster.

  • 1
    Doesn't that work for other browsers as well? Doesn't it reduce the flux capacitator in Chrome? Apr 27, 2014 at 7:02

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