Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Let’s Try This Again: How Much Web Video Is Really iPad-Ready?

Steve Jobs says there’s no reason to cling to Flash video on the Web, because most Web video also works on the H.264/HTML5 standard he’s supporting.

But Adobe (ADBE) says the majority of the Web’s video uses its Flash standard. And if you surf the Web via Apple’s (AAPL) iPad, you’ll quickly find clips that don’t work on the Flash-free device. Instead of video, you’ll confront the dreaded blue box.

So who’s right? Depends, of course, on whom you ask. But the answer is probably somewhere in the middle.

Earlier this month, Encoding.com said that 66 percent of the videos it processes are in iPad-friendly H.264, adding that this number reflects the wider Web. But MeFeedia, a video search engine, which says it catalogs millions of videos from 30,000 sources, pegs the H.264 universe at a much lower number, 26 percent of all clips.

The two data sets aren’t necessarily at odds. Encoding.com is looking at clips it has been paid to…encode. while MeFeedia is looking at a wider range of clips, including lots of old ones that publishers either don’t want to re-encode or haven’t gotten around to re-encoding yet.

And it’s a perfectly rational decision for some publishers with big video archives–say, the New York Times (NYT)–to encode only their newer clips in H.264 for now. Because the new clips are probably responsible for the majority of their views.

It’s also worth noting that MeFeedia says it is tracking videos around the world. So its numbers are skewed by giant video sites like China’s Youku.com and Tudou.com, which are all-Flash.

Still, the H.264 cohort is growing. MeFeedia says that when it did the same tally in January, it found just 10 percent of clips in H.264. Easy enough to explain the jump as an “iPad effect.” And MeFeedia CEO Frank Sinton says that he has seen many publishers move aggressively to make their stuff iPad-ready: He cites Break, Vimeo, CNN and DailyMotion, among others.

No Flash Lego speed design from Tony Gil on Vimeo.

[Image credit: Tony Gil]


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