[whatwg] A new attribute for <video> and low-power devices

Simon Pieters simonp at opera.com
Mon May 18 07:37:12 PDT 2009

On Mon, 18 May 2009 16:22:29 +0200, Benjamin M. Schwartz <bmschwar at fas.harvard.edu> wrote:

> As I have mentioned earlier, there are some devices that will be unable  
> to
> render <video> faithfully inline, due to the limitations of hardware  
> video
> accelerators.  However, it occurs to me that there are two essentially
> different uses for <video>
> 1. Important content for the webpage.  An example would be the central
> video on a web page whose purpose is to allow users to view that video.
> This is currently done principally using Adobe Flash and (to a lesser
> extent) <object> tags.
> 2. Incidental animations.  Examples include decorative elements in a web
> page's interface, animated sidebar advertisements, and other small page
> elements of this kind.  This was historically a popular use for
> animated-GIF, though Flash has largely overtaken it here as well.
> In case 1, a browser on a low-powered device may show the video
> "full-screen or in an independent resizable window" (to quote the spec).
> The browser might also show the video at the specified size, but on top  
> of
> the page, rather than at its "correct" location in the middle of the
> rendering stack.
> However, for case 2, showing the video full-screen or moving it to the  
> top
> of the rendering stack would clearly be a bad idea, as the video does not
> contain the content of interest to the user.  In this case, if browsers
> cannot display the video as specified, they should probably fall back to
> the "poster" image.
> With the current tag definition, browsers will have to grow ugly
> heuristics for this case, based on video's size, aspect ratio, "loop",  
> and
> "controls".  To avoid this heuristic hack, I suggest that <video> gain an
> additional attribute to indicate which behavior is preferable.  A boolean
> attribute like "decorative", "incidental", or "significant" would greatly
> assist browsers in determining the correct behavior.

Is there a problem with always falling back to the poster image and just play the video (full-screen or on-top) when the user indicates he wants to see the video?

Simon Pieters
Opera Software

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