Despite competition from the likes of Vimeo, YouTube remains the go-to online video service. It is far from being a new service, but the site clings to Flash even though many others are gradually moving away from it. If you’re concerned about the security of Flash, or want to see if you can help improve the performance of YouTube, try signing up for the HTML5 trial.
You’d be forgiven for having never noticed that this option existed — it is not something that is emblazoned all over the site. In fact you have to visit a page that you are unlikely to stumble across by accident in order to sign up. To get started, head on over to the YouTube HTML5 Video player page.
You’ll need to ensure that you’re using a supported browser, but as this included virtual all recent web browsers, this should not be a problem.
Make sure that you are signed into your YouTube account and then click the blue Join the HTML5 trial button.
That’s all there is to it! You’ll be able to tell when HTML5 is being used by right clicking a video as it plays and seeing whether HTML5 or Flash is mentioned in the context menu — hopefully the enhanced performance will be an indication as well.
It’s worth noting that it’s not possible to watch the HTML5 versions of all video. Some videos that include advertisements will still be delivered in the traditional manner, but for anyone using an older computer, or who just wants to avoid using Flash whenever possible, the trial is well-worth a look.
If you start to experience problems, or just want to go back to the way things were, you can leave the trial at any time. Just return to the HTML5 page and click the Leave the HTML5 trial button
Do you prefer Flash or HTML5? Share your thoughts and experiences below.