Critics hit out over BBC's HTML5 stance

BBC iPlayer

Content delivery company accuses broadcaster of double standards

The BBC has been branded "eccentric" for its refusal to adopt HTML5 for online video.

Last week, BBC technology chief Erik Huggers used a blog post to justify the corporation’s continuing commitment to Flash for delivering video, claiming that the HTML5 may be "sailing off course".

HTML5 is an open standard that's being supported by all of the major browsers, but Huggers expressed concern that browser makers and other companies appeared to be pushing the standard toward proprietary implementations.

The BBC isn’t prepared to embrace HTML5 until there is a single open implementation, but there’s no single open implementation of Adobe Flash either

Following yesterday’s Google announcement that the company had started to use the HTML5 video tag for mobile YouTube, content delivery firm Volantis has launched a scathing attack on Huggers.

“The launch of YouTube’s HTML5 mobile site will surely, finally, silence the media voices, who have been claiming that the standard may not be the future of the mobile internet,” said Mark Watson, CEO of Volantis. “No-one is going to be able to say that pressing ahead with HTML5 development is eccentric when the world’s dominant video site is backing it, alongside Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

“Indeed, it’s the BBC’s stance on this issue that is eccentric or suggests a vested interest. At the very least, Erik Huggers’ recent blog post defending the corporation’s use of Adobe Flash revealed a double standard.”

According to Watson, the video delivery industry doesn't need to wait for a single open version of HTML5, as long as different versions work properly together and that forcing development companies into one-size-fits-all would be counter productive.

“The BBC, Huggers says, isn’t prepared to embrace HTML5 until there is a single open implementation, but there’s no single open implementation of Adobe Flash either,” said Watson. “As Mr Huggers almost certainly knows, forcing the single open implementation that he’s supposedly waiting for can only damage or hold back HTML5 which is currently thriving in the open.”

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