The Great Web Video Debate
It seems there is a bit of a new storm brewing around Apple devices and their support for Flash plug-ins - especially around video support on the new iPad. Even one of our favorite and very pithy analysts Peter White is weighing in. It would seem that it's about time that someone called Adobe's bluff here! This might be construed as a clash of CEO personalities, a Silicon Valley technology tiff or simply good PR tactics, but I sense something more profound at work. Why should a single proprietary video codec, file format and delivery protocol become the de-facto delivery standard for OTT services? Doesn't this go against every other basic tenet of standards use in web publishing? And doesn't it fundamentally limit the ecosystems that help to monetize video in every other delivery system globally?
H.264 video is the acknowledged open standard - yes backed by Apple, but also by every other vendor in the video world. Even Microsoft is on board now after trying to bend the world to their own video codec and file standards. We should not confuse Flash video with Flash as a presentation engine. Lets face it - if you want to use Flash as an authoring system for animated web pages - good luck. It's obviously found a niche there. But please don't try and pass it off as the salvation of Internet video delivery. As one of the more future looking alternatives, Apple's HTTP adaptive video treaming proposal provides video monetization options that doesn't lock us into siloed Flash delivery systems. It enables the use of best of breed hardware and software subsystems woven into the fabric of the web that lies behind HTML 5. And as we can see the iPad (and perhaps its imitators) being the preeminent non-TV video device in the home of the next few years. That's probably a good thing for the video industry as a whole. Am I overstating the issues here? Please share your thoughts. And for more insights into HTTP streaming and its effect on OTT video delivery, please download our white paper, Adaptive Rate Streaming: Pay-TV at an Inflection Point.