Jun 132010

I happened to come across the SublimeVideo player some time back and thought it was quite a decent player, especially since the HTML5 version is a lot more fully featured than most alternatives with nice controls, and full-screen emulation.

It also provides a nice opportunity to compare performance of HTML5 and Flash video.
Not surprisingly since I’m on a windows machine the HTML5 version performed a lot worse, which is something we have seen from various benchmarks already.

They do mention that one can disable Flash fallback if desired:

Open web standard “purists” who do not care about compatibility with old browsers will be able to completely disable the Flash fallback to provide a pure HTML5 video experience.

So it’s great that one can make the contents only available to a small share of users to emulate that authentic 90′s feeling where you have to download a new browser to view some content. There is however no mention of being able to make Flash the default. I got curious how they reason when they want to give over 90% of users a worse experience than what their player actually can deliver, so I posted a question on their blog:


That was the 28th of May, and it’s still not accepted or denied, but “awaiting moderation”.
This is what I wrote:

“On my Win7 machine the HTML5 version uses 25% CPU (one core) in fullsceen and otherwise 15%. With Flash, fullscreen takes 15% and otherwise 6%.

Since majority of users have windows machines it seems like a very bad choice to default to HTML5 unless the user is on a Mac. I don’t see why I would use your player if it means that the majority of my users will need almost double the CPU power to view the content.

You mention you have an option to not use Flash as a fallback. Do you have an option to make Flash the default and use HTML5 as a fallback, you know like all the major videosites do to provide users with the optimal experience?
Or is SublimeVideo player targeted at fanboys who are happy to disregard user experience to instead go with the latest fad?”

I can see that the last sentence was a bit harsh, but that is the honest impression I get when a company chooses to provide 90% of users with a worse experience than they need to, not because of technical issues or any effort needed in development. To me it seems like we are going back to the dark ages of the Internet where we make users suffer due to ignorance of developers. Providing the optimal experience for as many users as possible is something I thought was the obvious thing to do nowadays, but it seems like there are still developers that think that their views on what is the better browser or technology should be forced upon users.

I got a mail from Zeno Crivelli at Jilion, and he assures me that the reason my post in their blog was not approved was a mistake, possibly due to a server migration. Their policy is to accept all posts, also those containing criticism.

He also goes on to say:

Concerning your question about making Flash the default (and use HTML5 as a fallback): it’s definitely possible and already implemented: you’ll have to add the “flash” or “force_flash” class to your video tag and we’ll handle that for you…

So, although it in my opinion would make more sense to make HTML5 the fallback, at least on Windows machines, I must take back my criticism. When setting that option their player is indeed capable of delivering the best video experience for as many users as possible.


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