[whatwg] video element not ready for prime time

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Jun 5 14:43:51 PDT 2012

On Thu, 12 Jan 2012, Francis Boumphrey wrote:
> A few comments about the <video> element from the point of view of an 
> HTML author. Currently it is not particularly useful, and there is 
> nothing to encourage me to use it rather than <embed>
> Firstly if I use a video with the src attribute
> e.g. <video src='myvideo.mp4' controls>
> and my user agent does not support the format, all I get (in my versions 
> of Opera and Firefox) is a blank screen. No message (as I would get with 
> <embed>) and as far as I can see there is no way for me as an author to 
> know that the video is not being played so I cannot code a 'write 
> around'.

Right, the spec is written with the assumption that we will eventually 
have a single standard codec.

> The option is to make several formats of the same video, e.g. 
> myvideo.mp3, myvideo.mp4, myvideo.ogg etc. and place them in child 
> <source> elements in the hope that one of the formats will be displayed.
> Even here I have a problem. In which order does the user-agent check the 
> source files (in Chrome it seems to be in the order in which they are 
> written, but there is no guidance here in the spec.

The exact algorithm is described in detail. Essentially it's source 
order, yes.

> Also will my user agent down-load the file that it cannot play, thus 
> using up band-width?

Enough of it to determine it cannot play it, yes, unless you provide 
attributes on <source> for it to determine that it doesn't know the 

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
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