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Vimeo moves to default HTML5 player, says videos load faster

Vimeo expects more than half of its users will use the player

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Vimeo has rebuilt its video player using HTML5, the latest version of the Web programming language that is challenging Adobe Systems' Flash player in serving up Web video.

The use of HTML5, which allows certain types of videos to be played natively in Web browsers without additional software plugins, means that some content on Vimeo will load in less than a second, wrote Brad Dougherty, a senior application engineer, on the company's blog on Tuesday.

Vimeo estimates that about 65 percent of its users will be served the HTML player. Newer versions of the Firefox and Opera browsers, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Google's Chrome support HTML5 to varying degrees.

Web browsers have developed richer HTML5 capabilities over the past two-and-a-half years since Vimeo rebuilt its player, Dougherty wrote. Smartphones are also increasingly powerful and able to accommodate HTML5.

"With all these advancements, it was clear that we needed a more flexible and accommodating base for our player," he wrote. "So we did the only thing that made sense: We rebuilt the whole thing from scratch."

Vimeo created an HTML5 player four years ago, but users had to choose to use it. Now, if a user has a HTML5-capable browser, it will be served up by default. If a Web browser isn't fully HTML5-capable, some HTML video controls may still be displayed, Dougherty wrote.

Apple has refused to support Flash on its mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad, which spurred publishers to add capabilities to serve videos without Adobe's application.

The move to HTML enables other conveniences, such as preference changes in one window showing up in other Vimeo players that are open in the Web browser, including volume and scaling, Dougherty wrote.

Vimeo also said that users can now take Vimeo clips that are embedded on other websites and add them to their watch queue, and can rent a video from an embedded trailer.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk



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