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YouTube now defaults to HTML5 video (youtube-eng.blogspot.com)
1035 points by derpenxyne on Jan 27, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 393 comments

What joy it is to finally uninstall Flash. The last time I was this happy to uninstall crappy software was when I realized that I no longer needed RealPlayer.

For those that don't know it, RealPlayer was a very popular proprietary media player (with its own proprietary formats) circa 2000. The company's stock was worth $380 a share in 2000; it's now worth $6.

The only explanation for RealPlayer's popularity was its DRM I think; lots of commercial users wanted the DRM.

But it got more bloated with every release, and I had to go through its countless option settings every time I updated it to disable all the sneaky ways they came up with to violate user privacy. I'm relieved that we no longer need either Flash or RealPlayer.

Unfortunately (though it's considerably more compartmentalized and constrained than prior iterations), Google is trying to replace Flash with a DRM mechanism that also requires proprietary software. So while you might think that the advent of HTML5 video means you no longer need proprietary software to interoperate with the services that use it, Google and its partners are working to ensure that that's not true.

If you're referring to Encrypted Media Extensions it's not a DRM mechanism that requires proprietary software. It's a specification for a communication channel between a browser and Digital Rights Management agent software on the local machine. While it's not ideal, it's just some javascript functions that interact with the DRM on the computer. The DRM software itself is completely optional.

It's much better than having plugins that do the same thing (if you use firefox you're used to Flash asking for trial Norton to be installed every time a security exploit is found in Flash). In the perfect world we wouldn't need it, but it leaves no excuse for media companies not to use HTML5.

Sorry, but there's an important distinction between what you said and what EME is.

EME is a spec for a communication channel between script in a web page and a browser, with the idea that the browser then talks to a DRM module. It's not a spec for a communication channel between the browser and a DRM module.

This is important, because it means that you end up with DRM modules that are tied to a particular browser.

The NPAPI plugin situation is unfortunate in all sorts of ways, but the one good thing it had going for it was that there _was_ an API that multiple browsers all implemented, such that a single plugin binary woudl work in all of them (modulo the usual bugs and incompatibilities you have when there are multiple implementors of an API).

Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 main browser vendors also happen to be DRM vendors, and were rather united in their opposition to the W3C creating a specification for the communication channel between the browser and the DRM module.

Is there any current or proposed implementation that can support W3C SMIL in the browser? A decade ago, RealPlayer was able to seamlessly edit video excerpts (defined by start::stop intervals) into a single video stream. The excerpts could have originated from different servers.

Will the new DRM formats support this use case? E.g. if I'm a paying Netflix subscriber, could I view a dynamically defined (XML or JSON) mashup of Buffy and Twilight, using only a list of start/stop edit points? The HTML5 viewer would need to pre-buffer each video clip, to make the viewed stream seamless.

You could build something like that in Javascript on top of HTML <video> and MSE, probably. The EME (DRM) spec is not really related to this.

Wouldn't the DRM spec have to explicitly permit MSE buffering? If Javascript could buffer the stream and send it to any destination other than a DRM-approved output device, that would defeat the DRM.

The way EME is designed, the browser is responsible for fetching the data from the network and passing it to the DRM module. This is no different with MSE, as far as I can tell; what you buffer up is the encrypted data, then pass it on to the DRM stuff.

Thanks, I'll run a test to see if it's possible to request an encrypted stream by timecode, then buffer it for composition with another encrypted stream.

True, it was approved by W3C and Tim Berners-Lee a while back (http://www.infoworld.com/article/2612478/html5/berners-lee-a...), and was criticized - understandably so.

For instance: If someone do research for educational or critical purposes, they have the right to use copyrighted material under "Fair Use" (US, UK and other countries have similar rules).

With DRM this would essentially block this right (if used on the material in question), which of course is not a good thing.

But it's great to see that HTML5 is now the preferred choice on YT.

"Right to use" != "right to have it provided to you in an easy-to-copy way".

> "Right to use" != "right to have it provided to you in an easy-to-copy way".

One of the big problems with DRM is that this ends up being not "right to use" but "right to use in several very narrow ways that someone else deems fit". If your use is innovative or just different — such as using a more capable media player with more features than the one provided to play the media with —, you end up being not able to do it.

So if I write a poem in a rock in the middle of the desert I'm offending your right to have access to it? You can always film the screen and use that as fair use.

I'm against DRM, but "You're offending my rights to copy with minimum effort" is not an argument against it. Nobody has to provide anything in an easy-to-copy way, which doesn't mean that you don't have the right to copy it.

I agree that HTML5 is much better than Flash in every way, so in this sense I'd just like to encourage our community to continue applying pressure at all levels and in all channels to ensure that Encrypted Media Extensions doesn't continue to be a part of HTML5 standards, UAs, or websites.

> I'd just like to encourage our community to continue applying pressure at all levels and in all channels to ensure that Encrypted Media Extensions doesn't continue to be a part of HTML5 standards

Which just means content owners will continue to use proprietary plugins or push unstandardized extensions.

Pressure should be applied to the root of the issue (copyright holders' desire for DRM), not the symptom.

Pressure should be applied in both places.

> Which just means content owners will continue to use proprietary plugins or push unstandardized extensions.

Which will provide a worse experience, making it easier for competing content owners to provide a better experience.

> The DRM software itself is completely optional.

Unless you want the web page to work. One could just as well describe having a web browser as "completely optional".

Is the DRM module itself an open specification? Or will it be a separate proprietary program that content sites will still require you to install? I can see for example Real or Flash making such modules, and still bundling with random tool bars and popups.

Or will it most likely be a specification that allows multiple (but NDA'd) implementations, such as the DRM component of dvd and bluray players? If that is the case, then it is still better than what we had before, as multiple vendors will need to compete (increasing the likelihood of a non-crappy implementation).

> Is the DRM module itself an open specification? Or will it be a separate proprietary program

It's a closed source proprietary blob. You can read about it here.


There is no single "the DRM module". Microsoft has its own in IE. Google has its own in Chrome. Apple has its own in Safari. Adobe has its own (that Firefox will be able to use).

None of these have open specs.

A company could make it necessary to install their DRM to view their videos and bundle Norton with it. This would actually be worse than the current situation because the user would have to install a different DRM thing for each different site.

Although I can see sites being reluctant to do that because it would be inconvenient for the users to have to install something specifically to watch the web videos on that site. One thing I can see happening would be one major DRM software that emerges and all websites that want DRM work together to use that.

I don't care about DRM as long as it's lightweight and seamless. Streaming is one use case where its use is entirely justifiable if it operates transparently.

As long as streaming is available on all the devices I wish to use it on (that used to include Linux, but nowadays it's not my "daily driver"), then I'm okay with transparent DRM for streaming or rentals, too.

If a platform has to be explicitly supported in a supposedly cross-platform standard, then the details on how to implement that must be published or the standard is no longer cross platform.

With this move, Linux is no longer "supported" on a web wholly built on it. That's completely fucked up.

DRM is fundamentally incompatible with the web. Let's not give it any reason to think it belongs here.

The problem is most companies wouldn't create modules that are compatible with all operating systems. Open web is supposed to be open, not platform dependent.

This all assumes you have a solid Internet connection. Some of us have to watch movies offline most of the time.

Why would users switch to this as yet non-existent proprietary DRM mechanism when free and open source solutions already exist and are widely used?

Because I want to watch Netflix or whatever else requires it, and that's a value calculation I've made?

Still seems like a false dichotomy to me. Subscribe to Netflix and pirate your content if you have a firm believe in being DRM free while rewarding the creators of content you consume.

Last I checked, the most effective way to pirate content is via a protocol such as Bit Torrent which requires you to also distribute pirated content. And that has legal ramifications, which then requires non-trivial methods to obscure your activities (paid proxy servers, etc). Most of us use Netflix not for ideological reasons, but for the pure convenience of it. Compared to Bit-Torrent,with Netflix you can easily browse titles, watch a bit, switch to another one, or watch whole seasons without waiting for multi-hour or multi-day downloads.

If you are not adverse to piracy, or you believe you have a valid fair use right to access the content, but you don't want to be guilty of distribution (a much higher penalty) then Usenet is probably the best bet.

> valid fair use right

They seem to be making it tricky to rip DVDs/Blu Rays these days (dirty tricks to screw with Handbrake/VLC) so the only way to get a movie onto my media server is to dl from somewhere after I bought the disc. Ironic, no?

BitTorrent traffic can be encrypted. There is no legal attack vector when used.

Encryption just makes it difficult for your ISP to automatically throttle your torrents. Anyone can still download the torrent themselves and see that you're an uploader.

They would have to get all their pieces from you, breaking protocol. They'd also have to be doing this on a large scale. They'd also either be breaking whatever laws you might be breaking, or they are providing you an implicit license.

"They would have to get all their pieces from you"

If you're suggesting that it's only copyright violation if you download a complete work from somebody, you're flat out wrong.

I'm saying that whoever was proving a violation would have to show infringing distribution of a protected work. Bit torrent pieces generally contain a small fraction of the total work, which could easily be fair use. You'd have to show that the person was actually transmitting a protected work against its license. That piece may have been a short clip in a more encompassing work. You won't know until you get more of the context (other pieces).

So, maybe "they" (person/group alleging infringement) wouldn't have to get all the pieces, but it makes their case much stronger. There can certainly be fair use arguments made for transmitting torrent piece sized copies of protected works.

Nope, still wrong (not 'arguably wrong', plain factually wrong). That's not how 'fair use' works - it's not because you send a part (what you call a 'clip') of a work, that it becomes fair use all of a sudden.

I'm not sure what you're reading, but I never said that sending part of a work makes it fair use. I said that there are fair uses that involve sending parts of a work and that proving a single or small number of pieces were transmitted between parties is not ipso facto evidence of infringement.

Look man, like my nan used to say - 'when you're in a hole, stop digging'.

"There can certainly be fair use arguments made for transmitting torrent piece sized copies of protected works."

How is that not 'sending part of a work makes it fair use' ? Yes yes you're using 'argument could be made' weasel words, but that doesn't mean you're not saying it. Here's a Godwin'ing analogy for good measure: 'arguments could be made that the Holocaust was justified. Of course I'm no nazi, I'm just saying that they could be made'. Yeah sure, good luck going on the record saying that and not (justifiably!) be classified as a nazi sympathizer.


"I said that there are fair uses that involve sending parts of a work"

No you didn't, you made some connection between 'the bittorrent technology, which sends pieces of data, and fair use of parts of works'. A connection that is non-existent. The criteria for fair use are wholly orthogonal to the concept of 'cutting up' a work as it is done in a bittorrent transfer. No (reasonable) argument can be made otherwise. There has been litigation on copyright infringement via bittorrent for about a decade now, if this line of reasoning stood any chance, wouldn't you think it had been used by now?

"that proving a single or small number of pieces were transmitted between parties is not ipso facto evidence of infringement"

Yes it is when there is no fair use involved, and there is no fair use claim just because bittorrent sends stuff in pieces.

So legal question, when's the cutoff point? How many packets do you need to get before you've broken the law?

Sadly, the law is not a mechanically applicable algorithm.

The logic here would, in part, be: "we have evidence that you were taking part in distribution of data that violated copyright law; we don't have to download the entire file from you to have sufficient evidence that you would have supplied any arbitrary data on request".

As for any "fair use" claim, one of the specific pillars there is the impact on the commercial value of the work. In that regard, commentary, critique, review, parody, and similar are not the same as wholesale unmodified distribution.

> They would have to get all their pieces from you

Unless you are sharing some packed and/or encrypted media, it's probably streamable and even sharing a part of it is enough to break the copyright laws.

> Anyone can still download the torrent themselves and see that you're an uploader.

Not exactly an uploader, but a peer.

All a downloader knows about his peers, is that they have pieces of that torrent.

> is that they ^^claim to^^ have pieces of that torrent.

Paying for a DRM-encumbered service is not really consistent with a "firm belief in being DRM free".

What do you mean by "as yet non-existent"? I believe Chrome, IE and Safari are all shipping it. It sounds like you can even use Netflix with it, as of last year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8159110

Because there will come a day when something they want to watch desperately will require it.

That day will never come[1].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_hole

I remember the days where they talked about making video cameras that would actually stop recording if they were pointed at a piece of media with special markers in it.

Nowadays people would use some kind of HDCP-breaking digital capture device, and regulating all video cameras is basically impossible with their ubiquity, but it's crazy to think about video cameras being modified against our will to suit the needs of one industry.

Those in power will always try to take control away from us. Don't let them.

And VCRs too. The original Macrovision technique relied on the low tolerance to noise in the old record-mode AGC circuits on first generation VCRs. But when VCRs improved to the point that Macrovision was ineffective, legislation was passed so that VCR manufactures had to include a special circuit to recognize the Macrovision noise bursts, and emulate the old behavior. (Source: my memory of an old article in an electronics magazine, so the above may be somewhat inaccurate -- the article may have been only referring to proposed legislation, or possibly industry self-regulation).

I remember hooking my first DVD player (I had just received for my birthday) to the family TV via an RF modulator, because the DVD player only output RCA and the TV only had a coaxial input. I tried playing The Matrix (the only DVD I had at the time), and the video constantly faded to black and back to normal every few seconds. In retrospect, I gather that was some sort of DRM implemented in the RF modulator, but I don't know if it has anything to do with what you're talking about.

That's not practical for video in most cases - dedicated pirates will find a way around it, but casual consumers won't bother. Duplicating HD or better video by analog means without significant quality sacrifices is much easier said than done.

Surely you only need the pirates to find a way around it as they will be the ones who distribute the free copies.

Yeah, until the video recorder on your cell phone gets a little nicer.

It would have to get a lot nicer. I work in film and shooting an image of a TV or computer monitor is often a pain, even with high-end cameras, due to interference between the frame rates of the camera and display devices, as well as light intensity. For high quality results the typical workaround is to just throw up a grid pattern on the screen in question and composite in the desired image afterwards.

Is it possible to get results this way, yes of course. Are the results any good, not really. Commercial pirates work with people in the exhibition sector, amateurs rely on known weaknesses in popular disc formats. You'd have to be pretty desperate to rely on streamed media as your 'original.'

Unless the playback hardware is DRM'd and encased in an impenetrable box, you don't need to capture photons and compression waves, just the output at the DAC, which can give you perfect fidelity to the original digital signal.

Yes, but who does that in real life outside the tiny community of extreme hardware nerds? Absolutely such things are possible, but they're increasingly impractical. It's the same reason that people promote widespread adoption of encryption; there's no encryption so strong that it couldn't be easily circumvented at the endpoints by really dedicated sppoks, but the sheer inconvenience is itself a safeguard against mass surveillance.

Only one person has to do it.

Beauty of digital.

As for the spooks, depends on what you mean by "easily".

Edit: According to a video[1] posted on Vimeo (which claims to be from a DMCA hearing) representatives of the MPAA appear to make recommendations on how to do the capture and they provide some tips that will increase the quality of the final product.

For example, hooking directly into the audio output; and, removing other light sources.

[1] http://vimeo.com/4520463

I think you might be confusing whether the DRM will be effective at stopping copying with whether many users will adopt DRM-restricted tools and platforms.

Nope, it will come aliright. You're just taking a black/white dichotomy. But they don't have to make it impossible - just inconvenient.

They can make it inconvenient to access the analog hole, but they can't make it very inconvenient to play the DRM-free copy once someone has captured it.

It will be the same problem as with current DRM techniques. It works now because it's still not fragmented yet. You will have your content available with your computer with particular updates and browser versions and for some reasons, it will never work with some combination of hardware + OS + driver + browser + country (especially with phones) and the result is people are going to pirate it anyway because it just works all the time, as always.

users wont, content producers, publishers and companies will publish want DRM.

RealPlayer was the coolest thing I'd ever seen when it came out in the mid 90s. It was the first streaming music player, as far as I know. Of course they later became corrupted by the advertising dark side, like every other internet company. But they were cool for a time. This was also before everyone decided that the browser would be the only internet platform.

Yup. I remember in 97(?) when I was able to be an early adopter of @home (before the excite merger), listening to "music on the internet" with realplayer on my PowerMac 7100.

It was positively mind blowing.

Almost equivalent to seeing 240x180 video playing on a CD-ROM.

I remember it being great at the time and trying to work out how to save .rm streams and being completely flummoxed by it due to lack of knowledge and skills. I also remember that they redesigned it and it was a slow mess that attempted to be the media player for all media formats on my Windows machine, which was disappointing. It could have been that I had a really really slow computer (I was poor) but I remember it being painful to use, particularly when I just wanted to listen to MP3s (Winamp 2.0 was the best for that, although I did used to encode at 128kbps yuck yuck I must have been deaf).

Not only was it an awesome streaming client, I found it to be pretty sweet client for ripping/burning CDs at that time. It was sad to see it fall, but once Winamp got a bit more polished I never looked back.

I remember at one point Real Player had a redesign, it was sleek, well integrated and could stream all kinds of content very appropriately.

It also supported SMIL with real-time buffering of content from independent sources. You could create a small XML file that dynamically and seamlessly streamed video excerpts from multiple servers, appearing as one stream.

Hehe, SMIL, the early days of web defined standards. Our university tried to enforce its usage but it never caught up. Multimedia streaming at that time was still an oddity. Never be too early.

There was an early streaming video application for Windows 3.1 that predated RealPlayer. It had some radio stations playing music as well as CNBC. Can't remember the name now. Even earlier was MBone for X11 although that was never more than experimental at the time.

Oh my god I completely forgot about RealPlayer.

Luckily there was an alternative, Real Alternative, that enabled you to play the content without having to install that ghastly RealPlayer. It seems like the community always finds a way around crappy software.

What's the community using instead of iTunes?

YouTube, Spotify, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, Pandora, et. al.

Those just aren't sufficient IMO.

I like being able to listen to music when I have no internet connection.

I like being able to listen to something when the original was taken down.

I like being able to listen to something that the vendor no longer offers.

I like having smart playlists in my library and on my devices that automatically update themselves based on meta data such as what I've played recently.

Unfortunately I like being able to use my music program on an operating system of my choosing as well, and am looking for an iTunes replacement. But then replacement can't be worse than the original. That's a deal breaker.

Spotify premium, uploading anything they don't have, and using Offline Mode?

Buy CDs, rip them, and listen to it on any player you like. Or when an artist does not release CDs, they usually at least have a Bandcamp where they offer FLAC downloads, DRM-free.

Isn't most of the music purchases on Amazon DRM-free? And downloadable in regular MP3's with a standard web browser? It's been a while since the last time I acquired any music.

Yes. I purchase Amazon MP3s and play them on Linux. I like actually owning my music as good old-fashioned files. Highly recommended.

Amazon doesn't just provide a link to the files once you purchase them, there is a downloader client. I have never tried the official one, there is an open-source command line alternative called "clamz" that works perfectly.

Have you tried Google Play Music? You can start by uploading 20,000 songs that you already own and just sync them to your phones/computers for offline listening.

Other than smart playlists, your requirements describe pretty much any media player released in god knows how long.

Personally I usually have an internet connection except on the train, so I use a Subsonic server, and my Android Subsonic client is set to aggressively precache my playlist (so it plays happily through tunnels, even if the tunnel lasts 10+ songs).

Have you tried groove basin? It satisfies your requirements except for smart playlists. But that feature is planned :-)

Won't fit all of your criteria, but foobar2000 is wonderful. Works well under wine in OS X.

Maybe not for you, but the original question was what do other people use.

GrooveShark Exellent HTML5 app. No installation required. I deeply hate Spotify and Itunes.

foobar2000 and GoneMad Music Player? Dunno, I'm that propeller hat guy who carries his music around in Opus Format on his Android ...

What's Opus like for day-to-day use? Do you notice any battery hit on Android from it being decoded in software? (assuming AAC is done in hardware - could be wrong)

What kind of quality/filesize do you use? If I'm used to ~170kbit VBR AAC/MP3 for headphone use, what settings would I need for Opus?

No significant battery hit, I really don't care. There is an ARM-optimized version of libopus that seems to use vector operations, I don't think it gets much better than that.

I'm using 72-96 kbit/s as bitrates, I've been playing around with that actually. 72 kbit is too little sometimes, 80 is fine, 96 is safe. Encoding is done in foobar2000, copy everything into a playlist, right click -> encode. My archive structure is this: At the top, there is one folder "Lossless", one folder "Lossy", each with subfolders for artist and album. foobar2000 and any other players syndicate their library from both folders.

I have separate versions of my music archive on my laptop and on my phone, each of which are complete. For the laptop, Lossless gets converted to Opus, Lossy remains the same, folders get merged. On the phone and tablet with tighter space constraints, I just re-encode everything to opus and merge. I won't notice the artefacts of re-encoding MP3 to Opus when there's a train humming in the background and people talking.

My best headphones for use with my phone are the 50€ Shure earphones. I also have some large open headphones from Thomann. Both are kinda good, but not studio quality good, so some details will escape me. I could maybe find some differences between Flac and Opus in some recordings if I tried very hard, but frankly I hate paying attention to audio quality. It's a very draining task that I restrict to comparing amplifiers/DACs and speaker setups, and I'll always use Flac for that anyways.

Just tried a few encodes: to my poor ears, 64kbit Opus is fine on headphones!

I use Clementine on Linux, and sometimes on my Mac.

It handles more formats than iTunes (FLAC and OGG, maybe others), and the interface is okay, but not as polished as iTunes.

I haven't used it to add or remove music from my iPhone on either platform, but the Linux version can play music from the phone, so maybe it works.

> the interface is ok, but not as polished as iTunes

Is 'polished' some kind of euphemism in this context that I'm just missing? The last time I tried to simply copy an MP3 from my laptop to my wife's iPhone I wasted almost an hour wading through nonsense errors, online tutorials, and absurd UI before I decided it's actually impossible to copy/paste an MP3 through iTunes and downloaded a standalone free player so I could load the file to the phone through the browser.

I don't own a lot of music, I don't have a library of albums, just a folder of files I wanted to copy/paste.

I think you were doing something wrong, it is supposed to take less than a minute.

Google Play Music

What's crappy about iTunes?

On Windows it's incredibly bloated and has really bad UI design. Apple always used to trick people into installing Safari and Quicktime bundleware-style during updates as well. (Source: Every computer I've maintained over the years and asked the owner 'why did you install Safari' and the answer is always 'I guess iTunes did it')

I believe iTunes formerly required QuickTime.

It did years ago, but hasn't in a while. Since then, Apple Update would pre-select to install Quicktime and Safari when you updated iTunes unless you purposely unchecked them each time.

Speaking from personal experience on Yosemite: slow UI, constant beachballs and stutters (despite lots of RAM and no platter drives), paint/refresh bugs while scrolling, 100% CPU usage to play tracks (without FX/EQ), years of mission-creep, and a general conceptual mess since version 12, with its multiplicity of modes and sub-modes.

As an iTunes apologist and power-user since 1.0 (my huge library admittedly is not helping), 12 has become the last straw on using iTunes as anything but a sync tool and database. As a media player, it's a disaster.

> paint/refresh bugs while scrolling,

Good to know I'm not the only one. I've become used to scrubbing the pointer up and down over the list of podcasts until the part I'm looking at is legible, and plugging my iPod in twice to get it to show up. But IMO iTunes is actually one of the less-bad recent Apple software screw-ups. At least it doesn't have enormous memory leaks, like Safari and Keynote, which regularly beachball my poor laptop with "only" 4GB of RAM long enough to go make a cup of coffee.

> But IMO iTunes is actually one of the less-bad recent Apple software screw-ups

I would argue the peak in bug severity was 11.0, which randomly deleted podcasts: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5324634?tstart=0

For me that meant 30 GB of podcasts gone, most of which I can't download again (publisher went broke, original download required payments etc.) Sigh. I used to be a big fan of iTunes as well.

Podcasts used to be simple: follow an RSS feed, download the audio files, listen to them, delete them when you're done. Now they're "cloud," so your computer is just a cache, and God only knows when you have those files, or when some program lets you use them.

Find a place where you can actually download them and do so. You're still drawing from the cloud, albeit just not dynamically.

This one bit me too, and I was/am livid that an assumption would be made that user data is merely an expired cache to be deleted without warning.

I don't think iTunes is bloated, per se. I'm actually on an older version because they're removed useful features in 11 and 12 and there's no way to extend the program.

The bloat is probably integration with the store. That should be split into a separate program and iTunes should just be a music library manager. Of course, that won't happen since not many people care about having a persistent music library any more.

You could also move iOS device sync out of iTunes. It doesn't even make sense that we use iTunes to sync content that comes from iPhoto.app, it might just as well be a core OS feature. After all, we have Handoff etc. built into OS X now...

For me, no linux support is an issue. But then, I have plenty of options for open source media players so I don't particularly need iTunes.

Mostly, no Linux support. I really want an open iTunes alternative which runs on Linux or any Unix, and can re-encode my entire music library with the codec/bitrate I want, while retaining music metadata. iTunes is good at that. Opus/Ogg support would be great. Anyone know of something like this?

You might like Clementine[1] it seems quite popular as an all-in-one music manager... though I usually use either `opusenc` or `fdkaac` via `ffmpeg` for transcoding with intact metadata.

[1] https://www.clementine-player.org/about

The UI ignores all the guidelines Apple sets and they redesign it every release from what I can tell? All the other applications on OSX have sensible close/minimise/zoom buttons on a titlebar but iTunes has long ignored that, with no obvious titlebar to move the window. Now that everything is bundled into the space where the titlebar should be, how do you move it without risk of clicking on something else?

Additionally, it is a LARGE application just for playing audio. I know that it does other things too but it seems to have outgrown its original purpose? There is now a crossover between iTunes and the App Store on Mac, from what I can tell? I wonder why they don't merge.

Having said that, I like the glaring red icon they now use (not sure why they changed from blue though!)

> What's crappy about iTunes?

In addition to what other have said:

  * no support for FLAC, OGG, WMA(?)
  * I don't _think_ there's support for ReplayGain.
  * Frankly, I just find the UI hard to manage.
  * _any_ marginally advanced feature.[1]
[1]: (I "DJ" for dancers) fade outs, volume changes in actual decibels (the volume bar is completely unlabeled), simple one time gain even if it results in clipping (quality matters none if you can't hear it), stop after current song, don't trust duration metadata or guesswork (I have MP3s that completely break the seek bar), start song from an index that isn't 0:00…

It's extremely bloated.

Not that I've ever noticed (my work computer runs linux, and I've found the music players there are, at best, barely useable in terms of what I want) (banshee's the best, but it's RNG is total garbage)

Enqueue (available on Apple App Store) - simple, powerful interface, automatically finds/adds music to your library, support for many formats including FLAC



I use winamp, ample customization and plenty of plug-ins with good performance on my largish (~8k items) library.

Private media collection.

Go old school and use the FM radio. I mean the physical item.

Tomahawk on linux is the best I've found.

VLC media player.


What was the RealPlayer they introduced for Linux called again? Gold something or other? I have a vague memory about that, as I installed it (RedHat 7.0??) and then realised I didn't actually need it as I didn't watch any RM content.

I think it was Helix Player? My memory is also not clear.

Ahh that's the one! Thanks! I really don't miss that, although it did feature curved edges to the window. Shaped windows were all the rage at one point but thankfully we've all gone back to Rectangle Land.

Yes, Virginia, as hard as it may be to believe today, once upon a time RealNetworks was a very big deal.

For a real spit-take, though, put one of the companies that we think of today as Very Big Deals next to it for comparison. Like, say, comparing Apple's performance to RealNetworks' over the decade from 1997 to 2007:


(I omit the last few years because AAPL has gone up so much over that period that if you include it you can't see the line for RealNetworks anymore. But check out how long it took Apple just to reach the heights Real was at in the late '90s.)

Or Adobe, all the way up to now:


That Google finance page, ironically, uses Flash.

I thought you had posted broken links because it was just showing a little chart for RNWK. Then I noticed:

"For the ubercool interactive charts, you need to install the Adobe Flash Player"

Just seemed a bit ironic, given the topic.

Comparing two companies over a period of time without taking into account splits, reverse splits, dividends, etc. isn't very meaningful.

Both Google and Yahoo Finance already adjust for splits. Yahoo has an 'adjusted close' value that reports the price adjusted for dividends, but these adjustments don't change the stock price so much that it would make comparing unadjusted values 'not meaningful'.

It's not meaningful to compare because they are different companies with different market caps. I actually hear people talk about stock prices as normalized values in every day conversation, but don't know any way polite enough or fast enough to correct them.

This kind of thing happens way too much. For example, I've seen it with currencies as well. It's amazing how many people appear to implicitly assume that when you can buy, say, X >> 1 yen for one USD, that somehow means that the yen is an inferior currency. Unless you put things into historical context, those ratios are meaningless.

People understand this at a rational level when you point it out to them, but I do wonder about the extent of the economic effect of their flawed gut-level intuitions.

Although true, that's not relevant in this situation: both links posted by @smacktoward deal with percentage change in stock price, not actual stock price. Double-check the y-axis values.

Are there any good charting sites which graph market cap and float instead of price and volume?

RealPlayer's popularity was being first. At a time when most of the internet was accessed with dial-up modems and they offered a high compression media format.

What killed them was the iPod. Or rather, computers and bandwidth improved so better quality compression could be used. Then RealPlayer limped along on name recognition alone. Although during the early days of h.264 it was the easiest way to play an MP4 on Windows.

Actually, it was Windows Media Player that killed them. Real lost it about 2000, years before the ipod.

"years" is a tad much, considering the iPod was first released in October 2001!


I didn't know it was that old.

Chart at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPod#Sales says ipod really took off in 2005, though. Before then it was not a very big seller at all.

RealPlayer was capable - just barely - of streaming sort-of watchable video over 56k. That really was revolutionary at the time.

Such blockiness, but very true!

Fun fact: Github uses Flash to copy link data or raw code to your clipboard.

Only because it is literally the only way to support the feature. Nothing sneaky about it.

Clipboard API and events. W3C Working Draft 09 December 2014


11% global support, so far.


That's awesome, I didn't know about this draft at all! Still wondering how such a native feature hasn't been drafted within the first 25 years of web browsers. Any (un)official ETA?

Having read your comment, I have just uninstalled Flash on my machines in delight.

I had been using ClickToPlugin under Safari to force HTML5 videos on sites (and mainly for a way to send YouTube videos to the AppleTV via AirPlay, as there was no other way to do it) but now all machines are Flash-free.

I think I'll have a coffee to celebrate.

God I hated RealPlayer so much, truly awful piece of malware.

What I especially like about the HTML5 player is the ability to change the playback speed. It is extremely useful for watching lectures & talks.

I use this constantly when I'm watching tutorials and how-tos. It makes picking up the info you need so much faster.

I also recently discovered that the Crocodile Hunter at 1/2 speed is freaking hilarious. e.g.,


and when you need something between 1.25 and 1.5 available from UI, you can always do:

  document.getElementsByTagName('video')[0].playbackRate = 1.35

Nice hack. I always found 1.25 to be "too slow" for watching something but 1.5 to be way too fast and annoying.

I've as a habit downloaded videos manually just to speed them up. When watching a video for it's information, I can usually, and not uncomfortably listen to it at around 1.7-1.8 depending on speaker. It takes a little getting used to though. I'll say that.

It may simply be me, but in Firefox, I don't have the option to change speeds. *update: It looks like they haven't rolled out the change everywhere. I had to change it to HTML5. It still defaults to flash apparently.

I believe that the YouTube HTML5 video rollout depends on parts of the Media Source Extensions, which are only available in Firefox starting in beta.

Media Source Extensions in Firefox is cutting-edge stuff; you can follow along in https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=778617.

The article states what browsers default to HTML5: "YouTube uses HTML5 <video> by default in Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and in beta versions of Firefox."

The Crocodile Hunter at 1/2 speed is amazing. I would love it if there was a listing of all videos that are hilarious at 1/2 speed.

NDT sounds completely smashed when at half speed -


DHH's Ruby on Rails demo is pretty hilarious at half speed: http://youtu.be/Gzj723LkRJY

I recommend watching Handmade Heroes at 0.5x. Its a good series but if you put it on 0.5x it is quite amusing. :)

It is worth pointing out that Chrome and IE are miles ahead of Firefox and Safari at time stretching audio. Firefox and Safari sound like an underwater mess. Chrome and IE use a sophisticated and very nice pitch correction algo (I think it is called WSOLA)

Wow, I had always assumed that the time-stretching was done server-side. I'm such a dinosaur.

Yeah, the whole advantage to HTML5 video is that it's just a video in a standard format. Your client (browser, whatever) can do whatever it likes with the video. Usually the UIs just present pausing, rewinding, maybe time-stretching. But in theory it's just a video and you can do any kind of analysis and editing on it you want.

I didn't realize the Flash version did not have this feature. I really want to echo this. I think this is the most useful feature to use for watching lectures and talks. I find for most things 1.5x is very usable and allows to quickly soak up content. Occasionally, 2x works well but many times its a bit too much. Coursera also allows this; I think Udacity does, as well. Take advantage of it.

Does any one know if there is a super easy way to also eliminate silent portions of the video? For example copying notes, changing blackboards, pauses in speech, erasing blackboards, etc? I feel like this could achieve similar results as 1.5x without as much strain, or could make 1.5 even faster. Bonus points for removing like, umm, uhh, etc

At some point, the author of the video has to take some responsibility for editing. This is like asking "Is there a super easy way to eliminate spelling errors on arbitrary web pages? Sometimes the author has no idea how to spell."

Actually, come to think of it, both are good ideas.

Did the Youtube Comment Snob people ever do anything more with that idea?

Not super easy, but should be doable using Web Audio API and its AnalyzerNode.

I never noticed this. You just made my week good sir!

> we can support multiple content protection technologies on different platforms with a single set of assets, making YouTube play faster and smoother.

Man this line is hilarious. Your DRM to block users from keeping the videos you are sending them is not making the experience faster or smoother. Don't try to pass off user-hostile proprietary blobs restricting the data on their computer as anything but a terrible blow to a free and open Internet.

You can say, "yay drm", but say "yay drm", not "yay drm, bullshit about faster and smoother". At least own up to the fact you are crippling UX for personal gain.

He's not being misleading. It's clear from the context of what Richard Leider was saying that "faster" in this scenario means "faster than the old YouTube + Adobe Flash" approach. His point of comparison isn't a totally DRM free scenario.

Excellent. It's always been weird having a mobile device run YouTube more responsively than an GBP1500 laptop because the latter had to run the Flash plugin.

Now only if Amazon/Netflix would drop Silverlight all would be right with the world.

Netflix has HTML5 support for Safari and iirc IE.

The "HTML5" support requires proprietary binary blob that has no standard API (besides an API to launch it with opaque data from a proprietary server) and is licensed only to selected companies.

Basically it's as much HTML5 as <object data="swf"> was HTML4.

It's supported only by DRM vendors: Google (WideVine), Safari (FairPlay) and Microsoft (PlayReady) and doesn't work in open-source browsers (not even in Chromium or custom WebKit builds).

Mozilla is working hard on this, but I don't believe there is a published timeline for EME (using Adobe Access DRM) that supports Netflix yet. Getting closer, though: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/showdependencytree.cgi?id=10158...

Netflix works fine in Chrome on Linux. What do you mean by "licensed only to selected companies?"

Works, because Google is a DRM vendor (WideVine).

You can't make a web browser that plays Netflix without signing contract with one of the DRM vendors that Netflix supports, or rolling your own DRM and convincing Netflix (and distributors that pull their strings) to adopt it.

For example if you compile Chromium from source it won't work (at best Netflix will send you encrypted blobs that you won't know how to decrypt and there is no public spec for it anywhere).

From video publisher's perspective it's locked-up as well. To have your own video DRM-protected with the same tech as Netflix you'd have to get a license from Google (for Chrome WideVine DRM support), Apple (for Safari FairPlay) and Microsoft (for IE PlayReady DRM).

Netflix's playback without "without plugins" is achieved not by removing plugins and having open standards, but merely by convincing browser vendors to bundle closed DRM code with their browsers. Technically it's more like Chrome shipping bundled Flash, but fortunately nobody calls that a "HTML5 native Flash without plugins!"

Where do you cut the line? It's a plugin because it uses the plugin api? And were it integrated in the main binary, would you call it a "plugin-less proprietary HTML extension"? I think the main differentiation point is that it's made by the browser authors, shipped with the browser, updated with the browser. That, to me, means that it's not a "plugin", even though it uses the plugin interface; it's an implementation detail.

"Plug-in" in the web browser context also had a wider meaning of "3rd party proprietary binary blob, that has limited portability, and adds functionality and APIs that are not part of Web standards."

You're right, technically EME's integration and distribution are different, so it's not a plug-in in that sense. However, the other downsides that were associated with plug-ins have remained the same in the built-in ex-plugins.

Browser plug-ins get so much hate not only because they're pain to install/upgrade, but also because they're usually not as open and portable as the rest of the platform.

(a bit meta, but term for this conflation of meanings is disguised query: http://lesswrong.com/lw/no/how_an_algorithm_feels_from_insid... )

What's the point of this DRM? It's not like you can't decode and record.

All DRM has [analog holes][1]. Its purpose is [to give content providers control over the features offered by playback software/devices][2].

[1]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_hole

[2]: https://plus.google.com/+IanHickson/posts/iPmatxBYuj2

Chrome isn't an open source browser. Google is "one of the selected companies".

Correct. Netflix does NOT work in Chromium on linux (just tested).

The youtube blog post linked here says they're using EME just the same as netflix is...

Maybe for their paid videos. They can't be using it for regular videos because I have browser extensions that simply download the videos.

And Chrome.

Safari only works on certain 2011 Macs and all 2012 and later Macs.

There are a fair number of people who can't skip Flash quite yet for Netflix.

Good start though.

Also Chrome on Linux

And my brokerage account.. Their ActiveTrader platform on Silverlight is a piece of crap. It crashes exactly when you are trying to pull the trigger on a trade. I despise Silverlight with every ounce of my being.

Honestly, consider switching banks. Not sure the situation in France, but in the US there's loads of brokerages. It's a very competitive space, and there's no reason to put up with a horrid UI (one of the most important parts of a brokerage!) if you don't have to.

Microsoft just outright pays companies to use it.

"Here, if we give you 10 million USD for free, can you just get your devs to use this untested pile of DRM?"


This is where we get back to the Firefox DRM support, and kind of vindicates them. Sure, we'd love to have no DRM, but we can't get that so at least let's provide native support and axe Silverlight.

Amazon also supports Flash, but that isn't really a big improvement.

I've had a pretty poor experience with HTML 5 video. It stutters far more than flash and in particular it does very weird things when I try to skip around in videos. I'll miss flash.

The thing I find is that ever time the HTML5 window changes size is that it appears to drop all data and start loading again.

So my old tactic of open 5 tabs, maximise and watch one by one is completely nerfed

The Flash-based player would do exactly the same (with a slight delay) even if it wasn't as obvious from the UI.

To prevent YouTube from switching sources when resizing the content, select a specific quality first (it defaults to “Auto”). I wouldn't be surprised if there were browser extensions that automatically do this (e.g. always choose the highest quality).

I think the flash player doesn't change quality on resize and thus was able to keep using buffered quality?

I switched to forcing HTML a while ago so can't test. Either way, I'll try that - thank you :)

Same, Flash serves h264 to my old core2 laptop, html5 forces shitty VP8. Result is smooth 720p of mpeg4 versus playable 640x480 on googles codec.

Of course computer itself plays 1080p h264 perfectly fine in mplayer, so I might end up writing javascript that fires mplayer with mp4 link (to stream rather than downloading whole clip) instead of displaying video in the browser :(

There used to be mplayer plugin for firefox a loong time ago, nowadays all browsers use building unoptimized codecs.

Yes, one of my friend has an old computer and I had to install a "force flash on Youtube" extension for him to make the videos stutter less.

For me it's the other way around, in a 4 years old netbook I still use, the HTML5 video usually performs better than flash.

I don't think your experience has anything to do with my experience. That fact that on your hardware you felt html 5 video works better has no bearing on whether it work for me, on my hardware.

The fact that somebody down-voted me for adding a relevant anecdote, but happens to go against the tide of this threads opinion(ie: FU Flash), it's pretty indicative of the extremely poor voting etiquette around here.

I find it ironic that you are berating JustGotHere for sharing his experiences, but feel that it is inappropriate that you were downvoted for sharing yours.

Your anecdote isn't relevant, because I don't know what hardware you run, and it's likely that most other readers aren't using the same hardware. Your time would be better spent filing a bug report.

The thread is full of "flash sucks, good riddance, poor performance, etc", so he was not at all adding anything new to the equation and his response was in direct reply to mine, as if any repose other than one which was in lock-step with the thread's general opinion required instant rebuttal.

Youtube and Twitch are the only reasons I keep Chrome around - I much rather supporting the work that Mozilla are doing with Firefox (ie a proper open source browser) than Chrome.

I'm finding that Chrome hit sort of a decline from a personal peak in that current versions seem to be pigs on resource constrained systems, and has started to move backwards in terms of UI friendlyness (e.g. frequent requests for login to google accounts, rollout of more difficult user profile switching). IIRC the integrated flash plugin in Chrome is proprietary and at times it seems to be at the root of hanging processes or runaway resource consumption with Chrome. Ironically flash compatibility is one of the reasons I keep Chrome around - I've dropped flash plugins for all my other browsers...

I'm hoping it's a local max/temporary decline for Chrome, but Firefox now feels like the lighter of the two browsers in my use.

I've recently switched to Opera. It's ludicrous in my mind because it's Opera and I'm an older guy... history... but now it's webkit and it's essentially a polished version of webkit without the guest crapware of chrome. It has ublock too.

What is funny is there are users that prefer the old Opera (not based on Chromium) too.

To improve the new user profile switching, try enabling this flag: chrome://flags/#enable-fast-user-switching

Out of interest, why is Firefox a 'proper' open-source browser while Chrome is not? Isn't Chrome pretty much just Chromium with a little bit of extra Google integration on top?

Chrome is open source in the same way Android is open source - built on open source components, with some proprietary sprinkles on top, but good luck having any say in the development of Chrome or Android, it's pretty much Google's way or the highway.

With Mozilla, all discussions are open, choices are justified, and literally anyone (assuming your reasoning and technical abilities are sound) can contribute.

(I'll note that I don't actively contribute much to Mozilla, but if nobody uses Firefox then it's not going to keep getting better).

Open source and open development model are two different things (the latter almost always includes the former, but the former may or may not use the latter.)

Mozilla is still feeling the effects of poor choices made by Netscape. If you want a real open source browser, try Konqueror - with (IIRC) <1/3 as many developers as Mozilla they wrote a complete open source browser from the ground up, with a rendering engine so good that Apple and Google adopted it to build their browsers on top of.

Beyond open-sourceness it is also worth noting that while all browsers are behaving well on the internet right now (ever since Microsoft failed with the IE monopoly), Mozilla just does not have the permanent lingering need to make a profit, collect user information or to use their browser strategically in any way.

Occasionally there are already Chrome-only websites, there is a Chrome web store that could potentially become a gatekeeper for software similar to what Apple is doing in the iOS ecosystem.

I'm using Firefox even if that means that I don't get some cutting edge feature that I don't really need until a few weeks later. Hope that makes sense.

Last I checked, the bits of Chrome that aren't in Chromium are:

1) PDF viewer. 2) Flash. 3) Some audio/video codec support (e.g. Chromium has no support for MP3, AAC, H.264, or the MP4 container format; see <http://www.chromium.org/audio-video>). 4) Crash reporting, metrics, that sort of thing.

#1 and #2 are certainly closed-source. I can't speak to #3. [EDIT: as surrealize points out, #1 is no longer closed-source.]

From an end-user perspective, there's a significant difference between "browser that will play the music and the videos and show me the PDFs" and "browser that will not do those things". Chromium, while open source, is really not a viable end-user browser on today's internet.

> From an end-user perspective, there's a significant difference between "browser that will play the music and the videos and show me the PDFs" and "browser that will not do those things". Chromium, while open source, is really not a viable end-user browser on today's internet.

I don't think so, because really it's a difference between "will show the pdf..." and "will launch a program to show the pdf."

As a full time Chromium user, I've had frustrations twice--once trying to figure out why Netflix didn't work after I had heard it "now worked on linux," and the other with an app called mightytext that was doing a very stupid redirect loop forever in Chromium, but not Chrome.

That's over the course of a year or so.

I've done some user support, and browsers showing PDFs in an external app instead of inline is an extremely common user complaint.

Not only that, but PDFs embedded via <object> don't get shown in external apps in any browser. And this does in fact happen. For example, if you want to get your pay stubs or W2s via https://portal.adp.com you end up dealing with just such a setup.

I realize anecdotes aren't data, but this also applies to your anecdote; you're very much not a typical end user (starting with the fact that you're using Linux!).

I should note that "Netflix doesn't work" is probably a deal-breaker for the average user all on its own.

I have half a dozen devices that play netflix. Wii, chromecast, phone, tablet--and it's really not hard to switch to chrome to watch netflix.

I'll agree I'm not a typical end-user, but I don't remember having to "work hard" to get anything I wanted out of Chromium.

I troubleshoot every little problem for every member of my mostly tech-illiterate family, and I don't remember ever having this problem (like before PDFs would open in browsers, say).

Anyway, just more anecdotes.

It looks like they open-sourced the PDF viewer:


Oh, I'd missed that happening. Thank you for pointing that out!

Also, Widevine.

On Android Chrome isn't open source at all. On Windows/Linux several key parts are closed source, that's quite a bit more "than a bit of Google integration".

What key part is closed-source on Windows/Linux?

Maybe "key part" is overstating it a bit, but the auto-update, crash reporting and usage tracking systems are all closed-source, as are the Flash plugin and some non-free audio/video codecs that are bundled with Chrome.


I think the auto-update, crash reporting and usage tracking code as well as the codecs are open source, they're just not compiled in by default in chromium builds.

Everything. It's only distributed as a binary.

What does this reply even mean? Of course it's distributed as a binary -- should regular users compile it themselves?

Advanced users can compile chromium if they want; from what I understand it's virtually identical to the chrome binary.

If the source code is not available and it's distributed as a binary, by definition it can't be open source. (Plus some might argue about OSS licensing too)

Chromium may be OSS, but Chrome is not.

Yes. Chrome is not Chromium, nor it Opera.

That's what I'm asking: For which part of Chrome is the source code not available?

Are you not answering your own question? The "extra" little bit of Google-specific code tries to tie-in the web to Google.

Well Chrome is not open source at all, all that Google integration is proprietary.

Chromium is fine, and I use it next to FF all day every day. I have never tried committing to it so I have no idea, but the general mindshare seems to be Chromium contributions are Google dominated.

Are you saying that the Flash plugin bundled with Chrome is better than the Flash plugin you can install for Firefox? If so, do you have any idea why?

On Linux, it is. The Flash plugin on Linux for Chrome is v16. The version for Linux Firefox is 11.2. Adobe stopped supporting Flash on Linux, so Google stepped up to the plate and started bundling Flash with Chrome and supporting it themselves. Flash does still work on Firefox, but at least on my install Click to Run was enabled by default for it (that might be a corporate setting though, I'm not sure".

Regardless, yeah Flash on Firefox on Linux is several years behind.

On linux it's because the NPAPI flash plugin hasn't been updated in a few years. It went Chrome/PPAPI a while back and firefox doesn't support it yet. I think it's supposed to get security fixes but performance issues are never going to get fixed in it.

Also, being on PPAPI means that it's fully sandboxed; add to that that google auto-updates it without nah screens and installer downloads, and you get a far higher level of security

If your browser supports VP9, that will be forced whenever possible.

I'm not sure if switching to CPU-only video decode will be a net gain for most.

Well, certainly in developing countries where bandwidth is limited, you're going to be watching a small resolution, and any amount of CPU is fine so long as you can cut the bitrate.

There are a lot of people in places like that.

Also, Allwinner, Intel, Mediatek, and Rockchip all have SoCs announced with hardware VP9 decode: http://wiki.webmproject.org/hardware/socs (not sure how many of those are already shipping).

There's a talk online by a Youtube engineer that covers them rolling out VP9.

Apparently the stats on user engagement show improvement. It seems that initially they showed a lot of improvement, but then they realised they were comparing the average video against only the most popular videos in VP9 (since those made the most sense to transcode first) and obviously people are more likely to keep watching something really popular.

Once they took that into account they did identify that some older machines would have a degraded performance and therefore lower engagement with VP9, but the heuristic for avoiding them is "Running XP" so it seems that most modern machines have a better experience with CPU decoding of VP9.

I believe they were up to 60% of all desktop views in VP9 by the end of last summer, so I'd guess if it was going to melt anyones's computer it would have happened by now.

Hooray! I delete all cookies on session end and I don't have flash installed. Having to remember to go to youtube.com/html5 every time I start a new session has been frustrating.

Also, the HTML5 player has a nice feature to change the rate at which the video plays, which makes watching long talks a lot easier.

I much prefer to have the option exposed in the UI, but you can do this with any HTML5 video element by setting the video element's playbackRate. Often, it's as easy as 'document.getElementsByTagName('video')[0].playbackRate = 1.5'. I have a bookmarklet that does exactly this, so I love to see HTML5 video being the default more and more.

You should use this add-on, called YouTube All HTML5. It just works.


There are a bunch of extensions that could have forced all video to html5 for you.

ClickToPlugin is great IMO and it's kept me from switching away from safari for the longest time.

The HTML5 player is fantastic and I have been using it for as long as I can remember (since it became an option). My favourite feature is the playback speed controls, when trying to learn a song on guitar, I can follow along with the live performance or tutorial to learn how to play, absolutely invaluable.

Every day the number of reasons to keep Flash installed gets lower and lower. I still keep it installed on my machine for the occasional site that still uses it, but Flash's days are definitely numbered. When a site as big as Youtube stops using it, that is when you know there isn't long left. Fortunately Adobe realised HTML5 is the future a while ago and have been creating some great tools.

Since you are using youtube to learn songs on guitar, you might try this out (I made it):


Let's you do marks and loops as well as using the playback controls.

That's cool. What did you use to slow the music/vid?

The YouTube slowdown is just using the YouTube API. For mp3, it is using the html5 file and audio Apis, and a JavaScript port of the sound touch library. Everything is done in client side javascript, there is currently no application server, just a static site.

Thanks for the info. I was thinking of building something doing somewhat similar stuff but I think it'd have to be sever side in my case.

Wait - so youtube is behind the porn industry by only 4.5 years?


This actually makes sense; the porn industry has much higher earnings per user and hence a much greater loss due to lower conversion for those who don't have Flash installed. So for them, it's a "my hair is on fire" kind of thing. Whereas for Youtube et al., it's a nice-to-have.

Plus, much smaller, more nimble companies, and a very very competitive market space.

But won't it be same if you look at percentages?

Unless you hypothise that porn users not having flash installed is somehow a larger percentage compared to average web user not having flash installed?!

He didn't say the percentages would be different.

The idea is youtube loses maybe 20 cents or something for losing a user. A porn site loses $30/month or something.

Don't forget Flash doesn't work on mobile ;)

This is by far the largest reason for the delay. If you watch some youtube videos on your work computer, no big deal. But if you need to jack off at work, you had better use your own phone if you care about keeping your job at all.

I can't recall which article mentioned that this industry was very welcoming to new opportunities and features (one example was having seekable thumbnails).

I've kept Flash around for the oddball site here and there that still requires it, but this week I decided to uninstall rather than patch it[1].

[1] - https://helpx.adobe.com/security/products/flash-player/apsa1...

I like to unwind occasionally with browser based flash games so this is not an option for me.

Glad I'm not the only one. The most relaxing way I know of to open up strange, frequent security vulnerabilities.

haha : )

It is funny how this came the same day Adobe patched Flash!

HTML 5 videos on youtube take forever to start for me and would just stay at a buffering screen when I use the seekbar. This is in Chrome. I haven't tried another browser but it has made my youtube experience terrible compared to what is use to be with Flash.

Methinks these issues are specific to your environment. I've seen improved start times and all around better performance, which (for the start time, at least) makes sense considering it's not loading a beefy Flash object.

The only thing that seems to occasionally hang for a second or two is loading a pre-roll ad, but that's pretty reasonable given the additional processes around ad serving. On that note, pretty awesome that those are also HTML5...must be nice to be YouTube and control your own ad format.

Edit: For clarification, not saying I enjoy ads, but having dealt with the bizarre SWF formats that ad vendors pass along...

Interesting. I must've switched on HTML5 streaming ages ago and forgotten about it because I wasn't able to tell it was using flash until I right-clicked the video. I was pretty surprised at how stable it had been.

It maybe related to the bug that's linked in the blog post's comments too: https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=234779

The only regular issue I have with html5 player is buffering with seeking, some times things get stuck. I often resort to youtube-dl `xsel` | dmenu | mpv to help both cpu usage and streaming quality.

That seems to be a problem with youtube in general. I see that behavior all the time. Several local friend of mine also have these seeking problems, too, so it may depend on the particular cache servers you end up seeing.

I think the problems started when they changed to the "adaptive" rate stuff; the players don't don't download the entire video file anymore, and instead they buffer in segments. Not only does this remove the ability to pre-buffer the entire video, the client seems to get out of sync with the server. The client ends up waiting forever, but the server isn't sending anything.

Fortunately, I was able to switch many of my friends over to youtbe-dl, and that fixed everything. Unfortunately, the article mentions the idiotic "encrypted medfia extensions" a one of the reasons for the changes to youtube; I wonder what additional useless hoops youtube-dl will end up having to have to jump through.

No I meant another kind of issue. The "smart" adaptive buffering was a problem, but 90% of the time you could force seek youtube flash player and wait for the stream to accumulate enough for the video to continue.

With HTML5 (under firefox nightly) sometimes it's really stuck and no acceptable amount of seek and/or wait had any effect on it, so I believe it's another kind of bug.

Click to play now doesn't work in Chrome, anyone have a workaround or a known-working extensions for click-to-play for html5 youtube?

There are some really bloated "YouTube enhancer" type add-ons that do it unreliably. This has been a problem for so long that it's pretty clear Google doesn't care and wants YouTube videos to auto-play against the user's wishes. They want to force you into using their UI rather than opening videos in new tabs.

If you're fine with downloading YouTube videos for playing locally, I've found 4K Video Downloader works well, at least under OS X. You'll wind up with plain H.264/AAC MPEG-4 files.


How does that solve the problem of videos autoplaying when you access the page?

When i'm on youtube I like to open loads of tabs before going through each one later. With click to play for flash this wasn't a problem, but html5 will autoplay and get very annoying.

Is there a way around this? Do you think Youtube would be for or against that (i.e. do they really want me opening more than one tab?)

I'm using "YouTube Auto Buffer & Auto HD" with Greasemonkey (there's an alternative to this on Chrome) and I guess it should work, also it's not bloated, just the stuff you need.

Now I have to figure out how to fix HTML5 audio. For some reason it always uses the wrong alsa sound device, even though Flash and all my other apps use the right one. This is how I fixed it for all the other media:

  ~$ cat .asoundrc
 pcm.!default {
     type hw
     card 1
 ctl.!default {
     type hw           
     card 1
Also, I just checked the site and it's still using Flash for me in Firefox 35.0 (???) edit Ah, they do it for Beta versions of Firefox.

Almost all YouTube videos work in HTML5 mode on Firefox and have for a while, it just wasn't HTML5 by default.

Make that HTML with DRM and non standard & non-portable extensions.

I think I actually prefer a working, portable Flash-based solution to that.

In not sure which are worst: Netflix and Google for pushing this bullshit into the browser & standard or uneducated users for swallowing it whole.

Sorry dudes. This is not killing Flash. Last time I checked, porn sites were still using it.

Use this UA the next time:

  Mozilla/5.0 (iPad; CPU OS 8_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.3 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12A4345d Safari/600.1.4

Pornhub has switched to HTML5

I stand corrected, then. Should watch more porn it seems :P

I tried it and they are still using flash, as is every other site I know of. Perhaps they mean there is an html5 option somewhere, but I don't see it.

Works for me (just tried it, was fun)

Try disabling adblock, it seems to break their html5 streaming.

yeah but a lot of them are more mobile friendly which means they're not using flash as heavily anymore.

I know this only for research purposes of course...

If youtube is switching, they'll switch. Slowly, but it'll happen. Simply because the ones that do first will get more customers.

As silly as this is, it's completely true ;)

That's great. Now for HTML5 support in all the streaming platforms for live streams. That's going to be another nail in the flash coffin. And it will do wonders for integrating the delivery to both web and mobile clients from the same sources.

As soon as there's an alternative for games, flash will finally be dead.

That alternative is already here, javascript. I think that flash is being kept alive now for two reasons only: live video and flash components used for corporate bits & pieces.

Native apps...


Am I the only one that noticed: "<h2> Moving to <iframe> embeds</h2>" I'm not entirely sure if it's a little joke or genuine mistake?

Regardless, this is absolutely great. I haven't had flash for a while now and so it makes me happy to feel that HTML5 really is a valid replacement for most things.

I noticed it, I thought it might have been a mistake but all of the other paragraph headers are <a> tags and not <h2> so I think it's a joke.

Now if only Facebook did the same, I could finally use Safari without switching to iPad mode!

Uninstalled Flash Player with an evil laugh on my home iMac only to reinstall it when my kid's games needed it. What is the alternative to flash for games that run on PBS Kids, etc. ?

Google Chrome comes packaged with a Flash player (at least on OS X), so here is what I do, very simple: no Flash, use Safari most of the time, use Chrome as a fall back.

This is really interesting news and I think signals what will be a really large change in digital video in the next few years.

Moving from flash to HTML5 adaptive bitrate is not trivial task and if you are familiar with MSE/EME, it shows how powerful the browser has become in delivering rich video content, either pre-recorded or live streaming.

With this, it seems to me there is a big gap now for encoding to new adaptive codecs, like MPEG-DASH and tooling to make something like livestreaming easy to do without flash.

EME is really garbage (it's all about DRM), while MSE is actually useful. They shouldn't be mixed together.

Do you know by the way, is MPEG-DASH patent encumbered or not?

Well, now I can delete Chrome.

My first thought as well, but aren't there older youtube videos that haven't been converted to html5-friendly formats?

I've been using Safari without flash for a while now, and it used to be like that, but lately it's been extremely rare to find any which aren't html5 compatible.

Probably. But I'll live without full unfettered access to Youtube's back catalog, which access I don't pay a dime for.

To say nothing of youtube-dl.

I fail to see the relation between the OP and your message.

The only reason I kept Chrome around is because I occasionally wanted to watch Youtube videos that were Flash only. I wasn't going to install Flash system-wide, so I was grateful for Google's approach of maintaining a private Flash instance. Now, that usecase is become less of a problem, so I can ditch Chrome, which I never used otherwise.

You could have watched a video on Youtube on Firefox for the last year at least. It was a setting in your Youtube account.

Some people like not having accounts on any random website that will be used for tracking and targetting.

Do these people use Chrome ?

It was the best way to run Flash programs without installing Flash system-wide.

Parent was a bit wrong; you didn't need an account or to be signed in. IIRC, you went to youtube.com/html5 and enabled it.

>I occasionally wanted to watch Youtube videos that were Flash only

Are there any examples of flash only video? I used to use a 3rd party extension that would show videos in html5 and i never came accross any video that required me to load it in flash. I'm curious how Youtube tries to deliver those videos now.

There used to be many. I haven't encountered one in a while, however.

about in video in academia, ever.

He's saying his only use of chrome, a browser OP does not prefer, was for flash. Now that OP's primary method of media consumption has switched away from flash, so can OP switch away from chrome.

he probably only have chrome because it have the built-in flash

> Encrypted Media Extensions and Common Encryption - In the past, the choice of delivery platform (Flash, Silverlight, etc) and content protection technology (Access, PlayReady) were tightly linked, as content protection was deeply integrated into the delivery platform and even the file format. Encrypted Media Extensions separate the work of content protection from delivery, enabling content providers like YouTube to use a single HTML5 video player across a wide range of platforms. Combined with Common Encryption, we can support multiple content protection technologies on different platforms with a single set of assets, making YouTube play faster and smoother.

Has any streaming platform actually rolled out an implementation of this? And has anyone found a way to break it?

Has any streaming platform actually rolled out an implementation of this? And has anyone found a way to break it?

Note EME isn't "DRM" per-se. Its an interface to enable custom DRM implementations. There's not "one thing" to break. I'd assume Youtube would use Widevine (another google company) which supports EME.

According to the wiki, Netflix has implemented it.

Next up (I hope): Twitch.

Then I think I'm done with that extension.

I think that the first step on moving to HTML5-only player is the support for DASH on the live streaming stack. AFAIK, Twitch is using HLS to broadcast their channels which isn't supported on browsers by default[1]. I bet Twitch guys are working on this right now.

[1] There's an initiative to play HLS videos without flash at https://github.com/RReverser/mpegts, but its too much heavy since the browser needs to change mpegts container to mp4.

Twitch streams in HTML5 for me on Safari, if Flash isn't installed. No comments, though.

HLS is supported by default on Safari (on MacOS only, AFAIK). HLS is developed by Apple so it make sense to support it natively on their products. There's a bunch of players that has "HTML5-first" support, it tries to use <video> tag and if the browser doesn't support it, it fallbacks to flash.

That's so weird, why would the comments of all things require flash!?

Probably because it's easier than long polling and more widely supported than web sockets.

I've disabled Flash since the beginning of this year, an idea inspired by someone else [1]. So far it's been working out great and I was pleasantly surprised I've had very little need to turn it back on.

Some notable issues I've run into:

- play.spotify.com, I used to use the web player on my computer, it requires flash sadly. I've started using their OS X app.

- twitch.tv if I occasionally watch a stream, also needs flash. I tend to turn it on for the duration.

It's pretty great and I'm enjoying better battery life, more efficient use of cpu.

[1] https://twitter.com/shurcool/status/550804694793060354

Now if they only defaulted to theatre mode. I don't care about the related videos as much as they think I do, and there's still room for a few once they get shifted underneath the larger player.

There's browser extensions to do this

Steve Jobs predicted this in 2010 - https://www.apple.com/hotnews/thoughts-on-flash/

So did anyone with a pulse. :) The only part that garnered widespread opposition was the sixth point ("the most important reason"). Apple later reversed course on that particular position.

That's some impressive revisionist history. The whole reason Steve published that list was because of the backlash Apple received for not supporting Flash.

And yet in his own words, the "most important reason" was to prevent other companies from using cross-platform libraries (such as Adobe Air) on the platform.

That reason was reversed, and Adobe Air (including what was essentially compiled Flash) became available on iOS.

(see daring fireball for more information: http://daringfireball.net/2010/04/iphone_agreement_bans_flas...)

It was never reversed, and you're missing the point. Flash as a runtime environment -- with its own stack, VM, APIs, and process ID -- was never allowed on iOS, and only barely was available on other mobile devices. What you linked to was Air, which allowed you to write applications in ActionScript and then generate Objective-C.

This is worlds away from a reversal. You were still using Cocoa to interact with the device, not Flash.

It was reversed:


Also, Adobe Air does not compile to Objective C, though it doesn't run in a conventional Flash VM either. See also:

http://www.adobe.com/cn/devnet/logged_in/abansod_iphone.html http://stackoverflow.com/questions/6903202/adobe-air-ios-pac...

There were an awful lot of people, with hot blood and full pulses, that objected to things other than the sixth point. I think it was a mixture of several types of people, among these one type perhaps being those that would object to anything Steve Jobs said, and another type perhaps being those that had never experienced the misery of Flash on non-Windows platforms.

I think the parent commenter meant that disagreement with Apple on point six was widespread, rather than that disagreement with Adobe on point six was (uniquely) widespread.

Having one of the most popular platforms in the world not accept Flash kind of helped that "prediction" a little bit.

The complete failure of Flash on Android was probably a bigger factor. A web technology could conceivably survive without iOS support, but not when you've proved the point that it's inappropriate for any mobile platform.

Steve may have been a tad unrepresentative that "open video" issue.

Remember, this is the guy that controlled QuickTime and never opened it up. That was a bit of problem for open video supporters.


“The International Organization for Standardization approved the QuickTime file format as the basis of the MPEG-4 file format. The MPEG-4 file format specification was created on the basis of the QuickTime format specification published in 2001.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QuickTime_File_Format

Not so fast there ... This registration authority for code-points in "MP4 Family" files is Apple Inc. and it is named in Annex D (informative) in MPEG-4 Part 12.[18]

(from your link)

Apple did in fact control Quicktime AND keep it very proprietary.

To insinuate that they were pro open source on video is revisionism.

That just means that Apple manages this list: http://www.mp4ra.org/atoms.html

The file format is still an ISO standard and pretty much anything reads it. Even Apple itself doesn't use the Quicktime container anymore (and hasn't for years). I didn't insinuate anything regarding open source, which doesn't appear anywhere in the part I quoted.

Edit: Oh, I noticed you significantly modified your first comment, that's why you now talk about open source when I never did. When I responded your comment read: “From the guy that tried to force QuickTime on us?”.

And got whacked for it.

This comment originally read: ”From the guy that tried to force QuickTime on us?”, and that was the comment I was responding to.

Also, the events described in your link all took place while Jobs was not at Apple.

Fair enough. Looks like some Apple fanatics are out today. If you criticize apple ; you have to be careful otherwise you get whited out pretty quick. So I toned it down.

My point was the Steve Jobs complaining about proprietary video is very ironic ... when he was pedaling his own proprietary video tech.

Oh please, stop it with the fanatics. The first version of your comment is not only incorrect but also not the type and tone of contribution appreciated on HN, and you have been here long enough to know it.

You don't remember the "Apple Software Update" programs on windows that you couldn't get rid of?

C'mon man.

From Apple itself ...

"proprietary acceleration techniques"


> Thursday, February 9, 1995

Steve Jobs was not at Apple between 1985 and 1997.


<i>More than 250 million copies of QuickTime 6 have been downloaded in > less than two years since its release. According to Frost & Sullivans > 2004 Global Media Streaming Platform Report, between 2002 and 2003 > Microsofts and Real Networks worldwide market share percentages were > either stable or declining while QuickTimes market share increased to > 36.8 percent, a close second to Microsoft. Real Networks came in third > place with less than 25 percent of the worldwide streaming market > share.</i>

Apple was never an "open source/open technology" white knight in video.

I have flash set to "click to play" so flash videos only load when I click on them. I dislike the HTML5 because it means videos always autoplay. I hate autoplaying video.

It might be a step backwards at the moment, but it's pretty much a sure thing that browsers (or at least extensions) will have support for HTML5 click to play.

A whitelist + click for sound would be pretty much exactly what I want.

Hah, the player is the least of my issues with the service. And I hope this means they won't get rid of the Flash option altogether.

People are pointing out how every site will now (optionally) need its own DRM module. So how is this not a worse situation for users than Flash? Now there will be several popular modules that will all have their own vulnerabilities, and need patching, with the added disadvantage that they don't all have the same set of eyes watching them, as Flash does now.

By the way, is MPEG-DASH* patent encumbered or not? I didn't find clear answer on that. Youtube is using DASH (on the server side) to implement adaptive streaming.

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_Adaptive_Streaming_ove...

MPEG-DASH is completely royality free. Find also more info on www.dash-player.com

Thanks. Do you know if this is documented anywhere?

There was an email at the MPEG-DASH mailing list where the key companies (Qualcomm, Microsoft, etc.) declared that. maybe you ask the question again on this mailing list: https://lists.aau.at/mailman/listinfo/dash

And does Firefox support the MediaSourceElement fully (used for DASH)? I was under the impression it did not (but was coming soon).

It's WIP, and you can already enable it in about:config (set media.mediasource.enabled to true). But it's still buggy somewhat. It should be finished in the upcoming release to be enough for Youtube.




This leaves the BBC as one of the few major sites still dependent on flash for desktop users. Ironic considering you'd expect it to be at the forefront of video delivery technology. I use IE's Developer Tools to request the site as an iPad, a much better experience.

Now if only Twitter would eliminate the Flash dependency to show animated GIFs on Firefox...

Wow, I almost forgot that I was using HTML5 version of youtube as a preview. I am using HTML5 preview since day 1 and I don't remember any glitches or bugs. I wonder why this switch has taken so long given many upsides and no known downside.

I love the trend of "Let's fix technology. With more technology!" The constant one-up-manship and the preposterous amount of options of all these tech companies makes me yearn for the days of DOS.

You're sure that's not a reflection of growing user diversity and mainstream technology adoption rather than over-engineering?

I just hope they don't remove flash support anytime soon.

How does this affect the mobile experience? Is viewing on an iPad / iPhone HTML5 by default? The article only really mentions the main desktop browsers.

Seems like it isn't perfect yet. At least on Firefox I don't get to watch videos in 1080p anymore on Youtube with the HTML5 player.

I watched a 1080p video using HTML5 on Opera yesterday.

As a test, I just popped open the first interesting looking video on my signed-in YouTube front page (my account has been set to HTML5 for a while).


I'm not a fan of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs but the video does have Lily Cole is in 1080p. Opera 27.0.1689.54 on Win 8.1 x64.

I think it might be an issue with codecs which is why it works with some browsers and doesn't with others.


TL;DR: For now you need to use beta/aurora/nightly releases of firefox to enable 1080p/4K youtube with the HTML5 player.

The smoother way for me to watch (at least some) youtube videos is youtube-dl and mplayer; otherwise I get a lot of "buffering".

That's fine and well, but maybe Google can tell now why they very quietly cancelled YouTube Feather. It was the best way to avoid comments. It stopped working some day, and Google was supposedly working on a fix. A few weeks later, it was removed completely. Since then, radio silence.


I still see its asking for flash if plugin is available, with firefox flash plugin on ask to activate mode.

Been using html5 youtube for a while now, it's still pretty damn slow on my french ISP.

from the same post,what about this I found in the comments? https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=234779

I just went to YouTube but I get the Flash version.

Zoom in Safari is still kinda broken: http://imgur.com/8pBmWpm

Also Google Maps seriously lags on Safari. Do not like it.

Took you long enough. One less Firefox addon, I guess.

That's a good news!



About damn time.


Are you talking about the thing where going fullscreen places the video in a new virtual desktop? Because if that's the case I vastly prefer that behaviour. It makes it much easier to jump back and forth between watching a fullscreen video and reading content in other browser tabs.


I am talking about thing that you zoom into YouTube video and it shrinks.

Virtual desktop feature is nice, although not related.

By the way, I was talking about YouTube being broken, not Safari. Haven't seen such behaviour with any other HTML5 player other than YouTube.

Numerous observers have shown that H.265 is better than VP9 on the quality/efficiency curve. But Google does not like to pay for real research and prefer to found alternative "free" copy-pasta codecs it controls.



edit: facts will get you downvoted on HN. Nice.

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