Other Video Options

Flash video is great. It looks good and plays back smoothly…in those devices that have the Flash plug-in. Unfortunately, two common devices—the iPhone and iPad—don’t support Flash or Flash Video. When a visitor with an iPhone goes to a page with a Flash video embedded in it, she won’t be able to watch it. If you want to make sure visitors with Apple’s iOS (that’s the operating system in iPhones and iPads) can view your movies, you have a couple of choices.

First, you can use YouTube. While YouTube originally used only Flash Video, it now supports a wider range of video options. When you upload a video to YouTube, it converts the movie to Flash Video as well as to other common video formats. For example, when someone with Internet Explorer visits a YouTube page, he gets a Flash video; but if the visitor is using an iPad, YouTube sends an MPEG4 file instead. In other words, YouTube does all the hard work for you. Best of all, you can even embed your YouTube-hosted videos on your own web pages, too.

Another option is HTML5. HTML5 introduced the <video> tag, which lets you embed video straight into a web page, without the need for a plug-in like the Flash player or QuickTime. Excitement from Google and other companies about the <video> tag has given way to frustration among web developers, however. The original idea behind the tag—to provide a simple way to add video to a web page—has turned into a lot more work than expected. As it turns out, browser makers have settled ...

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