Online Video Players - Flash vs HTML5 vs Silverlight

April 21, 2010

I am not going to debate in this post (you can find enough of that on the web), but just list 5 pros and cons for each technology. Each has it's own uses and often more than one is used on the same site as an option for the viewer or fall back to reach a broader audience. There are lots of options out there for videos players, make sure you are using the one that fills your needs.

Silverlight 4

pros:
- DRM (Digital Rights Management)
- GPU acceleration for HD video rendering
- plays multiple video/audio formats
- IIS smooth video streaming
- out of browser (desktop applications)
cons:
- installed on 60% of computers
- only plays back on new MS (Microsoft) mobile devices
- design tools are Expression Blend/Design not Photoshop
- all development must be done on Windows
- proprietary technology

Flash 10

pros:
- installed on 98% of computers
- custom UI with vector art
- FMS (Flash Media Server) Streaming and Security
- development on Mac and Windows
- out of browser (Adobe Air)
cons:
- only plays on mobile devices with the 10.1 release (not yet available - May or June)
- GPU acceleration only with 10.1 release (not yet available - May or June)
- proprietary technology
- fragmented non-standard players (without the use of the Adobe OSMF)
- development toolkits (Flash & Flex) both cost to make applications

HTML5

pros:
- open standards
- works with new mobile devices
- development on Mac, Windows and Linux
- free development tools, no need to purchase software
- in the future it should work across all browsers and mobile devices (in theory)
cons:
- no full screen video
- no video standard (no h.264 playback in Firefox)
- can not be embedded
- only supported by new browsers
- won't be finalized until 2022
Posted by Beau Durrant

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