YouTube's HTML5 Player becomes the default instead of Flash
YouTube have completed the switch over to using an HTML5 video player for YouTube.com and embedded YouTube video playback. The change was announced on their blogspot YouTube site as a post and confirms that Internet Explorer 11, Safari 8 and Chrome will now default to HTML5 video content, whereas only the beta version of Firefox does at present.
These browsers support Adaptive Bitrate streaming video and Encrypted Media Extensions. This will help with improving buffering and reducing how much content needs to be buffered to maintain smooth playback. Content protection is also possible without needing to load in third party plugins for the browser to do so.
The VP9 codec used adds better video resolution while still managing to reduce bandwidth requirements by roughly a third. WebRTC is also included and brings with it a wealth of broadcasting tools; the improved APIs also add a full screen feature without extra plugins required to pull it off.
HTML5 Video Good Enough to Default To It
Google voiced in their Blogspot posting that they had made significant steps forward with HTML5 video sufficient to be confident with defaulting to it. The less popular and awkward Flash, which has in the past caused many issues with browser stability, can be avoided when web surfers use a modern browser.
Google Encourages Webmasters to Switch to Flexible Video Embedding
For webmasters who have already embedded the Flash API to load up a Flash-based YouTube video, they are encouraged to switch these pages to an iframe API which can then intelligently toggle between HTML5 and Flash video depending on what the browser can support.
As things stand the latest version of the YouTube HTML5 software doesn't let you disable the use of their HTML5 video player within Chrome, Safari 8 or Internet Explorer 11 in preference to the older Flash video player. So there is a heavy push to get completely away from using video playback with Flash which will please iPhone and iPad owners where Flash is not natively supported any longer.