With Firefox 42, Mozilla finally put their browser on the same level as Chrome, Internet Explorer 11+ (on Windows 8 or higher), Microsoft Edge, Safari and Opera in releasing support for media source extension (MSE), a W3C specification enabling advanced HTML5 video playback). Until now, they had partial MSE support for select few “whitelisted” websites such as YouTube, Netflix, and Dailymotion, which were able to offer native HTML5 playback even on Firefox.
What we at Viblast had to do with our own HTML5 HLS player on Firefox was to offer Flash fallback. It was either this or no playback on Firefox at all. But now, times have changed, and for the better!
A little background
Why so anti-Flash?
It’s all about viewer experience. Flash video playback uses up much more CPU and memory than pure HTML5. What’s more, Flash suffers from security vulnerabilities that expose viewers to privacy breaches. The most recent such incident happened this summer when Firefox even blocked Flash for a few days until the patch was ready.
We are not alone in believing the future belongs to HTML5. A developer working on the upcoming HTML5 player of the major online game streaming service twitch.tv said on Reddit that the unoptimized version of the HTML5 player they are developing uses a third of the CPU and a fraction of the memory compared to their Flash player.
What is going to change
According to recent study by analyst Jan Ozer, Firefox currently holds over 8.5% of the browser market and was the only modern browser that did not have MSE support (until Nov 3). This means that services offering video content online are now much more likely to consider moving toward HTML5 playback and away from their Flash players. This is not something that will happen overnight, but the wheel is starting to turn.
If you are eager to precipitate this change and have a Flash player on your website that you want to quit using, visti our piece on how to move from Flash to native HTML5 HLS playback in one step.
If you are a Firefox user who wants to enjoy better video experience online, what you can do is forward the above article to your favorite video streaming website that still has not made the move.
A change is going to come and we can be a part of it. Spread the word.