In response to questions from some of our Streamdays customers regarding Flash and HTML5 support, I’d like to explain a bit about our recent live stream player update and when the use of HTML5 will be enforced.
Until recently, Flash was the main means of delivering live video over the web into your browser and our Streamdays webcam hosting service used Flash for many years to showcase thousands of live webcams around the globe to a huge audience. As is always the case with technology, eventually things move on and Flash is no longer the go-to multimedia app for the web – the world has already begun moving to HTML5, a new standard for web pages, interactivity and video playback.
What happened to Flash?
In 2016, in the face of declining popularity for Flash, Google decided that it would no longer fully support Flash content in its own web browser Chrome. Mozilla (Firefox etc) and others followed soon after and the death knell was sounded for Flash. Reasons for this included lack of mobile support, Apple’s resistance to Flash, poor performance and security flaws which weren’t being fixed.
Support for HTML5
Despite widespread support for HTML5 in modern browsers, the HTML5 standard still does not make it easy to build live streams and many websites still use Flash because of this. It is challenging to make HTML5 live video completely cross-browser compatible without offering Flash fall-back, which is a short-term option only, and as a result Streamdays streams do not have 100% compatibility.
Nevertheless, Streamdays has moved with the times and all new streams now use our HTML5 player. The player has good support across browsers, but its support is not complete across mobile devices. We are currently researching ways to improve this support and make the Streamdays live streams fully supported across all platforms. For best compatibility ensure your mobile device is running the latest updates for iOS or Android (especially older versions) and should the player not work, try using a different browser.
That said, since we launched the HTML5 player we’ve seen viewing numbers increase dramatically, despite the lack of 100% support.
Switching from the Flash to HTML5 player
Many Streamdays streams are still using the Flash player as the change has not yet been enforced on our platform. However, it will soon be the case that Flash-based content will simply not work in any browser and we are encouraging our customers to upgrade to the HTML5 player. From late 2017 we will be enforcing this change and will stop making the Flash player available.
Live video in HTML5 and the media source extensions that it relies on are evolving quickly and Streamdays will take advantage of these improvements as they come along. Switching to HTML5 will ensure you get the best experience with Streamdays and if you have any queries about how to go about this, our technical support team can advise.