Website Improvements #7: HTML5 Video

Videos on our website, like the new chapter in the Aunt Des story that was put up yesterday, are now available on more devices. We’re using the new <video> and <audio> tags that are part of HTML5, to enable site visitors to watch videos from MiddMedia (our local, streaming media server gives all Middlebury users space to host videos of any quality and length)¬†and YouTube without needing to have the Adobe Flash plugin installed.

This feature has been rolled out for MiddMedia videos on Drupal and WordPress and YouTube videos on Drupal.

Don’t worry if you’re not using one of these browsers or devices. You’ll see the same Flash video player that was there yesterday.

You will now see your browser’s built-in HTML5 video player for MiddMedia videos if you are using one of these browsers or devices:

  • Safari
  • an iPad or iPhone

The HTML5 audio player for MiddMedia videos appears if you are using one of these browsers or devices:

  • Safari
  • Chrome
  • an iPad or iPhone

To see a list of the supported browsers for video in YouTube, visit their HTML5 Video Player site. You can sign up there to opt-in to their HTML5 video player trial, if you like. Note: the site lists several browsers currently in their “beta” development phase. We recommend that you do not install these browsers as features of our site may not yet work in them.

Some restrictions may apply

The technology to support these features is very new and constantly changing. We’ll keep rolling out support to new browsers and devices as it becomes available and the experience is at least as good as what you get from the Flash player. For instance, Chrome currently supports HTML5 video, but we decided not to enable it for that browser because the fullscreen button doesn’t work. Firefox also supports HTML5 video, but in a different video format that we don’t currently produce for videos uploaded to MiddMedia (WebM or OGG).

Lastly, you might notice that some of the MiddMedia videos on our site cannot be played on devices like your iPad or iPhone. The method used to encode these videos didn’t produce a video in a format that these devices recognize. However, the majority of MiddMedia videos do work and we wanted to give you the opportunity to watch some of them, rather than none of them.

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