CBS wrapping video content in HTML 5 in anticipation of iPad launch

Wed, Mar 24, 2010


The Other Mac Blog (no, not that one.. the other one) reports that CBS has begun testing video clips wrapped in HTML 5 on their website in anticipation of the upcoming iPad, which of course won’t support Flash.

MacRumors did a bit of legwork of its own and discovered the following:

We investigated further and found that clicking on these “iPad” labeled links in your normal desktop browser brings you to the usual Flash versions of these videos. Of course, these wouldn’t properly play on the Apple iPad due to Apple’s well known decision not to support Flash. However, if you visit using the iPad SDK Simulator or spoofing your browser’s User-Agent to impersonate an iPad, you are sent to a different version of the video.

With the vast majority of online video content currently available exclusively in Flash, we can only hope that other big sites like ABC (ahem, LOST) will follow suit and implement HTML 5 versions of their video content soon.

On a related note, a rumor from a few weeks ago hinted that the popular free video site Hulu was planning to make all of its content compatible with the iPad. While all of Hulu’s videos are currently wrapped in Flash, they’re actually encoded in H.264 which would obviate the need to re-encode them. But lest you think that Hulu would make all of its content available for free on the iPad, another rumor suggests that Hulu is toying with the idea of launching a dedicated Hulu app that would give users unfettered access to all of Hulu’s goodness. While there are licensing issues that Hulu would need to iron out in such a scenario, the prospect of access to all of Hulu’s content on the iPad’s generous 9.7-inch screen is especially tantalizing.


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Chanson de Roland Says:

    The big deal here is not only that CBS is using HTML5 to present video content but that CBS has found a DRM system for HTML5 that it has enough confidence in for it to encode its proprietary video content in HTML5. Is the DRM that CBS is using a standard? Or is it some proprietary CBS technology?

    The lack of DRM is one of the principal things that has held HTML5 back. Copyright holders won’t encode their content to even the technically superior and royalty free HTML5, unless they can prevent illicit copying. CBS thinks that it has a solution. Is that solution a standard that others can use?

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