How to enable HTML5 in YouTube

YouTube displays video using Adobe Flash and previously there weren’t many problems with streaming video. Now with many video quality options and longer videos, Flash has become unreliable in playing video content sometimes freezing or crashing.

Add in the multiple Java or Flash banners that also take processing power to animate and sometimes you’re lucky to even watch the latest fail compilation. Since Google Play Music supports HTML5 playback over supported browsers, I was curious if YouTube also had the option for HTML5.

Apparently YouTube is in a trial phase for HTML5 playback for some videos.

It’s simple to opt-in and enable HTML5 in YouTube. You help developers get important data and you get to experience a smoother experience with the wide variety of videos. There are some limitations in the implementation, but as a work-in-progress, it’s a great step forward for HTML5 over Adobe Flash.


Enable YouTube HTML5

Go to YouTube’s HTML5 opt-in page.

Make sure you are using a supported browser

Running YouTube in HTML5 does have some limitations like fullscreen isn’t available for all videos. Also videos with ads aren’t supported and will load with Adobe Flash. Firefox and Opera does not support videos without WebM transcodes. The best bet is to use Google Chrome.

On the opt-in page, the YouTube page will check support in the browser you are using and at the bottom is a link where you can join the trial.

From my tests of playing video in 480p and 720p, HTML5 has faster initial loading and streaming was smoother. Since using HTML5 is a trial, there are going to be videos that still use Flash and YouTube might freeze. But knowing it’s a work-in-progress rather than a final release version like Flash is comforting.

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