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Tired of Flash? HTML5 Viewer For YouTube 372

Posted by timothy
from the that-taste-great-together dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Instead of spending the next 10 years trying to find a Flash implementation for Linux or OS X that doesn't drain CPU cycles like there's no tomorrow, NeoSmart Technologies has made an HTML5 viewer for YouTube videos. It loads YouTube videos in an HTML5 video container and streams (with skip/skim/pause/resume) against an MP4 resource, and an (optional) userscript file can update YouTube pages with the HTML5 viewer. The latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are supported. Personally, I can't wait until the major video sites default to HTML5 and we can finally say goodbye to Flash."
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Tired of Flash? HTML5 Viewer For YouTube

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  • Only video sites? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:35PM (#30024282)

    Yes, when video sites change, we can say goodbye to flash, because nobody uses Flash for navigation, casual online games, interactive information displays, or google maps street view...we have a long ways until we can say goodbye to Flash

    • by causality (777677) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:40PM (#30024312)

      Yes, when video sites change, we can say goodbye to flash, because nobody uses Flash for navigation, casual online games, interactive information displays, or google maps street view...we have a long ways until we can say goodbye to Flash

      If Flash goes back to being a niche application for only certain specific types of content that actually require its programming language, such as online games, that would be a tremendous improvement. The issue being addressed here is that Flash is a full-featured system that's being used just to play videos, when there are other non-proprietary ways to deal with content that only needs to play a video. Using an open standard when one is available and could do the job is definitely a step in the right direction even if we know it's not a panacea that can totally replace Flash in every possible scenario. It could even lead to other open systems being designed and implemented that can replace Flash in areas where its featureset is actually needed.

      • by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:32PM (#30024820) Homepage Journal

        You mention that Flash should be replaced by open video standards for video applications. However, I frequently find video and even more so video live streams to be very fragile when the browser uses the systems video player. I then often just download the video and play it externally, because the internal video player doesn't respond and I don't know why.

        Flash was introduced here because it just works.
        Come up with something that works for everyone. If you make it better than Flash (how?) websites will switch. And Flashs security issues and crashes in Linux will not bother them.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by FlyingBishop (1293238)

          What the fuck kind of Flash are you using? I'll grant that it might be a little less flaky than integrated video plugins, but it's still a total crapfest next to a local copy.

          The difference is that you can't download an flv when it starts skipping or outright freezing (Which happens every day.)

          • On Windows?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by causality (777677)

          You mention that Flash should be replaced by open video standards for video applications. However, I frequently find video and even more so video live streams to be very fragile when the browser uses the systems video player. I then often just download the video and play it externally, because the internal video player doesn't respond and I don't know why.

          Flash was introduced here because it just works. Come up with something that works for everyone. If you make it better than Flash (how?) websites will switch. And Flashs security issues and crashes in Linux will not bother them.

          It hasn't been my own experience that embedded video is fragile in the browser, though I don't doubt what you are saying of your experience. Personally, I prefer to have the browser load such video in an external player that treats it like streaming media, though stability isn't my reason. I like having the full controls of the external player available and I like being able to easily resize the window that plays the video.

          Just curious, what OS, browser, and video player are you using? The way you des

          • by miknix (1047580) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @05:58PM (#30025540) Homepage

            View flash videos on VLC.

            Personally, I prefer to have the browser load such video in an external player that treats it like streaming media, though stability isn't my reason. I like having the full controls of the external player available and I like being able to easily resize the window that plays the video.

            Then you will love this. Let the flash video load and pause it at the beginning. Then fire up the terminal and type:

            vlc /tmp/Flash*

            It works with at least vimeo and youtube.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Thinboy00 (1190815)

          Flash was introduced here because it just works.

          Come up with something that works for everyone.

          Presumably you use Windows. Flash is a clusterfuck on Linux. If you want something that "works for everyone" then Flash isn't it.

          If you make it better than Flash (how?) websites will switch. And Flashs security issues and crashes in Linux will not bother them.

          As for the how, I would describe "better" as something that won't crash on Linux while still working on Windows. That would be better. Of course, Adobe won't just take that sitting down. If something better does come out, they will probably pay YouTube/Google/Vimeo/what-have-you to continue using Flash.

          Finally, I would argue that <video> and HTML5 are much better than F

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jonbryce (703250)

        Before Flash Video came along, playing streaming video used to be a nightmare. Every site required a different plug-in and a different codec. And anyone remember the nightmare that was Real Player? Flash is popular because it works.

        In any case I think the chances of an html 5 video implementation that works on all five major browsers is pretty remote.

    • by mweather (1089505) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:41PM (#30024316)

      because nobody uses Flash for navigation

      Well, nobody with any sense, anyway.

      • Re:Only video sites? (Score:5, Informative)

        by gravos (912628) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:24PM (#30024722) Homepage
        Yep. Most of the advantages Flash previously had (animation, real client-side programming) for making rich navigation interfaces are now possible in a more open way with Javascript. The libraries are still a bit of a mess and browser support is always iffy, but dynamic, animated HTML looks amazing in the latest versions of webkit.
        • Re:Only video sites? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:39PM (#30024858)

          Modern flash is pretty much a rich graphics API wrapped around a cleaned up Javascript. It's a pretty nice language and environment, actually; but just inappropriately overused in many websites. I'm skeptical that html video extensions will replace it, because I don't think the html encoding will have nearly the versatility of a general purpose programming language. Will it be able to, for instance, stream recommended alternative videos or advertisements while the video is paused, for instance? It's not that I want that, but a lot of site owners do.

          Posting anonymously because slashdot's javascript is tweaking out, and not letting me log on right now. I get on, but it immediately forgets me.

          • I just hate anything that makes my browser's UI (mouse gestures) not work. the armadamusic.nl one drove me away very quickly

          • Posting anonymously because slashdot's javascript is tweaking out, and not letting me log on right now. I get on, but it immediately forgets me.

            Turn cookies on.

          • by Scott Wood (1415) <scott@b[ ]rror.net ['use' in gap]> on Sunday November 08, 2009 @06:05PM (#30025612)

            Will it be able to, for instance, stream recommended alternative videos or advertisements while the video is paused, for instance? It's not that I want that, but a lot of site owners do.

            Sorry, but those site owners can fuck off. If I tell the browser (or component therein) that I want things to stop moving, stop making noise, and stop chewing up CPU cycles and running up my power bill, then I want them to STOP!

            Flash is particularly bad in this regard, and this (along with its limited platform availability and general flakiness) is why I'm not a fan of it. When I can get a working, robust flash player that pays attention to *me* more than to the bits coming over the internet, let me know.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      If nothing else, corporations will always be using it for uselessly flashy websites. That alone ensures we'll be dealing with flash for a while to come.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by aliquis (678370)

        Just if you want to actually watch those shitty websites.

        If say Blizzard would make a Starcraft 2 flash site then the videos on said site would most likely be viewable from other places to so ..

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:47PM (#30024376)

      Yes, when video sites change, we can say goodbye to flash, because nobody uses Flash for navigation, casual online games, interactive information displays, or google maps street view...we have a long ways until we can say goodbye to Flash

      Flash is a security nightmare and anything that reduces the amount of flash in the world can only be a good thing. Flash badly needs to be replaced with a good open standard and wiped out. But if that's not going to happen the next best thing is to reduce the amount of flash in the world.

      Less of a bad thing is still an improvement.

      • by hedwards (940851) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:55PM (#30024438)
        Precisely, but more than that, most of the time flash is being used where there's a better standard in place and in places where it shouldn't have been used originally. Flash sites aren't ADA compliant without an unreasonable amount of extra work. Mainly unreasonable because if it had been properly done in some other format it wouldn't take much effort at all.

        Open is great, but really a secure, stable technology that's accessible to everybody is enough. Realistically that's probably open source.
    • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker@ g n u .org> on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:03PM (#30024522) Homepage

      because nobody uses Flash for [list of uses of flash]

      By way of anal extraction, I arrive at the conclusion that 90% of the eyeball wall time spent looking at flash is spent looking at videos.

      (89% of those 90% being youtube + google video, another 0.5% being redtube).

      Once we get to HTML5 video being popular, flash will become much more a niche thing. There's a long way between "niche" and "dead", but I don't know that we need to cross that gap. Heck, I still see Java applets around (for Rubik's Cube animations; I think that's one niche where they're used well).

      On the other hand, if we RTFS:

      The latest versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Safari are supported

      Note that IE is not on the list. Make an educated guess about the implications for the penetration of the video tag.

      • IE is supported by way of Chrome Frame...

        Granted, that's like saying "Windows apps that are incompatible with WINE are supported on Linux by way of running Windows in a VM," but slightly more valid than that. ;)

        • IE is supported by way of Chrome Frame...

          Actually, another work around is that Flash in IE will start supporting HTML5. Thought, I'm not sure how long that's going to be needed, a Microsoft employee told me that Microsoft has decided to finally support HTML5 (not supporting HTML5 was just creating too much trouble).

      • by Narpak (961733)

        By way of anal extraction, I arrive at the conclusion that 90% of the eyeball wall time spent looking at flash is spent looking at videos. (89% of those 90% being youtube + google video, another 0.5% being redtube).

        Probably underestimating the share of videos being from various pornsites, but in general I think you might be correct.

    • ... uses Flash for navigation, casual online games, interactive information displays, or google maps street view...we have a long ways until we can say goodbye to Flash

      Granted, Flash navigation isn't necessary. The effects can be provided by CSS, and search engines like text better.
      Google maps street view uses Flash? Can't see it.
      I don't mind a dedicated graphical programming environment being used for casual online games,
      Now for interactive information displays, you have to realize that some content can not presented in a satisfying way with HTML/JS. You need flash for fancy animations, things flying around. Just look at some artists or movie website.
      And the answer 'I d

      • Google maps street view uses Flash? Can't see it.

        Ooh just saw it. Well, if Google can't live without Flash, it is unlikely there is going to be a web without Flash.

    • by Mad Merlin (837387) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @09:03PM (#30027266) Homepage

      Casual online games don't need Flash. Just look at Game! [wittyrpg.com] for example.

  • ClickToFlash (Score:5, Informative)

    by orta (786013) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:35PM (#30024284) Homepage Journal
    On OS X this has been available for ages, switchs all youtube videos to HTML5 and is extensible for other placse like Dailymotion. http://rentzsch.github.com/clicktoflash/ [github.com]
  • HTML5 video (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KangKong (937247) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:38PM (#30024294)
    The biggest problem isn't support for <video>, but common support for major video formats. Seems there's no codec supported by all browsers anytime soon.
    • by shentino (1139071)

      Thanks very much in whole to a political squabble about whose format would reign supreme.

      I HATE it when politics get in the way of a standard.

      • Re:HTML5 video (Score:5, Insightful)

        by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:00PM (#30024488)

        tbf do you want an inferior standard
        or do you want an open standard that you need to pay royalties to implement?

        It's not a simple problem (well IMO it is), but there is clearly a need for politics here, if you want to hate anything hate software patents.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          do you want an inferior standard
          or do you want an open standard that you need to pay royalties to implement?

          I would rather have a superior open standard because if there is a standard, that is a goal to work to. But without the standard, it is an excuse to avoid implementation. After all, software patents aren't enforceable in all countries - some browsers would be able to implement everything without paying royalties, might even draw attention to how software patents suck.

          Meanwhile, we've gone years, probably decades now, with various flavors of the HTML and javascript standards that have almost never been 100

        • by funkatron (912521)

          Why not have both?

    • by xaxa (988988)

      The biggest problem isn't support for <video>, but common support for major video formats. Seems there's no codec supported by all browsers anytime soon.

      That's not a huge problem -- the video element supports having multiple source elements, each can use different codecs.

      For instance, I found this video [moblin.org] earlier. It's available as OGG or MP4, and the browser will choose automatically.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Yes, because the big hosting providers with deep pockets that would risk being sued are so much less afraid of patent lawsuits than the big client providers with deep pockets.

        Wait, no they're not. So they have to both pay for H.264 which is definitely patented and run the risk of being sued over hidden Theora patents, that's not a good sales pitch.

        Honestly, I would prefer the browser to not be the media player. Just use whatever backend is available on the client, be it DirectShow, Quicktime, GStreamer, xin

  • by asdf7890 (1518587) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:39PM (#30024306)
    I'm waiting for "HTML5VideoBlock" to go along with FlashBlock, because it won't take long for irritating adverts to start using the option. To be honest, I'm surprised it hasn't started already...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just use a style sheet. In HTML5 the video tag is no different from any other tag.

  • Here's a hint (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:50PM (#30024406) Homepage Journal

    Anytime you submit a story and one of your sentences starts with "Personally,", leave it out. We don't care.

  • by Zantetsuken (935350) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:53PM (#30024424) Homepage
    Now will we be able to get hardware video acceleration through VDPAU, etc so that I can play it on my Zotac ION media center or low power laptop?
  • As some of the above posters mentioned: There is still a lot of Flash use on stuff besides videos on the Net.

    Also, I think that Adobe is definitely going to give Google a call one of these days (if they haven't already), and offer something to keep the default to Flash for some time being: I would not believe that they will let this one slide so easily.

    Other than that, I can't really understand the hate for Flash(players), besides maybe OS incompatibilities.
    I'm on WinXP myself, so I would not know anyt
    • by moosesocks (264553) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:13PM (#30024610) Homepage

      It's not so much the incompatibilities (although support for non x86-32 platforms has always been very poor on Linux), but the inefficiencies. There's *no* reason for a 320x240 web video to bring a modern system to its knees (GPU acceleration or not).

      Even VLC's somewhat buggy FLV implementation plays flash videos with 1/10 the CPU cycles that the flash player does.

      Flash's performance is borderline acceptable on Windows, although the mac version (PPC especially!) is appallingly bad.

    • by richlv (778496)

      Other than that, I can't really understand the hate for Flash(players), besides maybe OS incompatibilities.

      I'm on WinXP myself, so I would not know anything about that

      eheh. were you aiming for the funny mod ? :)
      of course, if you are not affected by the problems, you would not understand them.

      i could come up with many analogies, referencing historical atrocities, but i'll leave that to badanalogyguy.
      no, wait, i'll try one, and it's even car related !

      "i don't understand why all the hype about toyotas accelerating on their own, well, maybe for some increase in crash possibility.

      not that i own or have owned a toyota ever. i haven't even ever been near public roads they drive

      • of course, if you are not affected by the problems, you would not understand them.

        Hence why I said I don't understand it, besides the OS incompatibilities.

        "i don't understand why all the hype about toyotas accelerating on their own, well, maybe for some increase in crash possibility.
        not that i own or have owned a toyota ever. i haven't even ever been near public roads they drive on !"


        I've played around with various Linux distros, but found it unsuitable for most tasks (read: compatibility with my s
  • ClickToFlash for Safari (similar to the FlashBlock plugin for Firefox) already does this, letting you load the H.264 video with QuickTime inline where the Flash video would normally go

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Phroggy (441)

      Yep, I recently discovered this myself. Unfortunately (as with this clever HTML5 hack), it only supports YouTube, so videos on other sites still require Flash.

  • Today Webconverger released with an HTML5 video enabled build today: http://webconverger.org/blog/entry/5.7_with_Firefox_3.5/ [webconverger.org]

    The plan is once HTML5 video becomes prevalent, the integrated proprietary flash player will be dropped. http://webconverger.org/adobe/ [webconverger.org]

  • by MikeUW (999162) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:13PM (#30024604)

    I just tried it with FF 3.5.5 (on Linux), and got nothing but a non-working clone of the YouTube player. It's been the same story with YouTube's HTML5 demo [youtube.com] for some time as well.

    If it's a windows-only thing, or Chrome-only, then it's not good enough to replace Flash yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Same here, it didn't work. HTML5 videos work fine on other sites though.

    • by Tony Hoyle (11698)

      That page is a bit of an epic fail really. Flash has nothing to worry about if you have to download Chrome to view the page.

    • by Homburg (213427) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:55PM (#30025024) Homepage

      No, it doesn't work on Firefox, as an update to the blog post points out. Youtube won't supply video in a format Firefox supports (and it only supports one - Theora). I believe there is work being done to allow Firefox to use other codecs if you have them installed (as Webkit does - it works for me using Epiphany), at which point this could potentially work on Firefox.

  • by rayharris (1571543)

    If video content is served directly in a video tag, it will be just as easy to download as images on a web page. Content providers know this and won't use the video tag.

    One reason content providers use Flash instead of just letting you download the video file is that Flash (ostensibly) prevents you from downloading the video. While it's true that there are plug-ins for Firefox to let you download Flash videos, the people who use them are a small minority. Even with the video tag, Flash will still be widely

  • Impressive (Score:4, Informative)

    by skirmish666 (1287122) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:17PM (#30024648)
    Only uses ~8% CPU on safari vs ~30% for the same video through the safari flash plugin.
  • On Chrome, works fine but no visible CPU usage improvement.
  • Has anyone got a patch to make (Linux) Firefox play all formats natively, that e.g. ffmpeg plays? (It could use that exact library.) I don't care for any stupid imaginary "IP" laws and shit like that. I want all formats to work. No matter if the FF team lives in the real world or not. ^^

    Anyone?

  • Why do we want to watch videos inside a web page? This is something I've never understood, and the first time I saw YouTube it looked like an extremely dumb idea. There must be better ways of distributing video on the Internet. I always use clive when somebody sends me a youtube/vimeo link, but I'd much rather get a link to the actual file.

    I'm probably just an old-fashioned geek, but I like to focus on whatever I'm doing. When I'm watching a video, I'd rather not watch any extraneous crap around it. It's

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dachannien (617929)

      Same here. I use Unplug (Firefox plugin) to download the video, and then I use VLC to watch it.

      Unplug doesn't work with some of the less popular video sites, but it does work with YouTube. If somebody thinks they're being clever by letting someone other than YouTube host their video, then I probably didn't want to watch it anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by petrus4 (213815)

      Why do we want to watch videos inside a web page? This is something I've never understood, and the first time I saw YouTube it looked like an extremely dumb idea.

      Because it's convenient. The world is a lot worse off in a lot of different ways, because of the craving for convenience.

      If people didn't crave the convenience of GUIs, and operating systems could be CLI only, they'd be vastly more stable and secure than they are. Why do you think Ubuntu is such a mess?

      If people didn't crave the convenience of McDonald's, they'd probably be a lot healthier. There'd also be far less environmental damage, due to land needing to be cleared for raising cattle.

      If people didn'

  • by MoFoQ (584566) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @05:10PM (#30025142)

    the page itself says that firefox doesn't support mp4 videos in HTML5 due to some license restrictions.

  • Instead of spending the next 10 years trying to find a Flash implementation for Linux or OS X that doesn't drain CPU cycles like there's no tomorrow

    I just did a purely unscientific comparison of CPU usage comparing the native YouTube page and NeoSmart's HTML5 viewer. I tested a couple of different videos and did each one multiple times. I'm running Safari 4.0.3 and Flash 10.0.32.18 on OSX 10.4.11. I was consistently seeing 15-20% more CPU usage with the HTML5 viewer than with YouTube's Flash viewer.

    Of course, when I downloaded the MP4 and played it in Quicktime it was much nicer to my CPU (but obviously not nearly as convenient).

    What's even more pr

  • There are a good number of youtube videos that fail to load on the iphone, saying something like the format is not supported. I tested this script on some of these videos, and they all work.

    This script definitely earns a link on my home screen. Now if they would only write similar scripts for the other video sharing sites.

  • <Video> vs. <Embed> (Score:3, Interesting)

    by evilviper (135110) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @05:33PM (#30025316) Journal

    By all means, someone explain to me why the <Video> tag is in any way better than the <Embed> tag that's existed for 1.4.5 years now, and why it's going to rescue the world from Flash, which took over because people decided they didn't want to use <Embed> anymore...

    I'll just hold my breath...

  • agreed. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @06:31PM (#30025814) Journal
    Personally, I can't wait until the major video sites default to HTML5 and we can finally say goodbye to Flash."

    Same here. I hate Flash. It's pointless. Between AJAX, PHP, and CSS, there's very little Flash offers beyond video provision.

    Yes, Flash does animation. As long as it does animation, Fine. When they began expanding ActionScript because all the Lingo programmers needed a home, that's when it went off the rails, and that was a long time ago.

  • by CSMatt (1175471) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @07:15PM (#30026222)

    The way to view the video is to use an external site (NeoSmart's site to be precise) to find the MP4 on Google's servers and display it using the video tag. All the script does is add a link to the YouTube page that redirects you to NeoSmart's viewer.

    A far better solution would be something like YouTube Without Flash Auto [userscripts.org] or YouTube Perfect [userscripts.org], both of which (among other features) locate the MP4 client-side and present the video right in the YouTube page using whatever plugin you assigned to play MP4 files. If this can be pulled off without involving any external sites, I see no reason that a conversion to HTML5 video tags can't be done the same way.

    Disclaimer: using those scripts to view YouTube outside of the Flash player violates the ToS.

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