YouTube's HTML5 player has been known to offer several benefits over the Flash player, with the predominant reason being
the "lightweight-ness" of HTML5. Unlike Flash, HTML5 does not require a browser-enabled plugin and has been argued to incur
less processor resources. These kinds of benefits greatly increase the device flexibility of HTML5 over Flash, especially
when considering mobile.
Even with these benefits of HTML5, YouTube had been reluctant to set its default player to the HTML5 one. Simply put, the
technology needed to mature and overcome some limitations, especially those that made Flash attractive. A predominant one
of these former limitations is the support of adaptive bitrate or (ABR). As stated by Richard Leider, YouTube Engineering
Manager: "Adaptive Bitrate (ABR) streaming is critical for providing a quality video experience for viewers - allowing us
to quickly and seamlessly adjust resolution and bitrate in the face of changing network conditions. ABR has reduced buffering
by more than 50 percent globally and as much as 80 percent on heavily-congested networks."
Now with YouTube's January
2015 announcement, which includes the above quote, their solution to ABR and several other issues like encryption
and full screen support in HTML5 seem ready for primetime. It's now more important than ever to embed YouTube videos using
the right tag (i.e.,
<object> ) in your WordPress site in order to
ride the HTML5 wave. If you're using an old plugin that is still using the
<object> tag, we urge you
to either switch to our plugin or use WordPress' built-in oembed support. In fact, you'll see that our plugin has deprecated
the HTML5-first check box on the settings page since that option is now a standard.
To see if your site (regardless of if it's WordPress or not) is loading the HTML5 player, simply right click on a YouTube
video that you've embedded on the site. As shown in the image below, a menu should be displayed and "About the HTML5 player"
is listed at the bottom.