Reporters' Roundtable: HTML 5 vs. Flash (podcast)

HTML 5 and Flash are battling for the future of the Web. The competing platforms--one open (HTML 5), one proprietary (Flash)--both support video, interactivity, and access to local devices. Which will the Web embrace?

One of the biggest criticisms of Apple's new iPad, and of the iPhone, is that it does not support Adobe's Flash, a system that lets Web developers code streaming videos and interactivity into Web pages. Steve Jobs is reported to be a big booster for HTML 5, a new extension of the HTML standard that all Web pages are encoded in. HTML 5 will allow Flash-like features without relying on Flash, which is a proprietary system. Meantime, users are caught in the middle. Only a few browsers support HTML 5, and there are countless Web pages, videos, and games written in Flash already. Not to mention a legion of developers accustomed to creating media in Flash. At stake in this battle: the future of interactive content on the Web.

To discuss this topic on the Roundtable, our guests include CNET's Stephen Shankland. Shankland is author of the Deep Tech blog on CNET News, and covers technology now from London. He recently wrote about this very subject. See HTML vs. Flash: Can a turf war be avoided? And from the New York office of Gizmodo, John Herrman, who recently wrote a great story, Why HTML 5 Isn't going to save the Internet.

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Reporters' Roundtable #20: HTML 5 vs. Flash
The battle for the future of the Web

Show notes and talking points First, some background. How goes the war? Stephen, what's the latest news in this battle?

How pervasive is Flash?

And explain to me: Flash is on 98 percent of computers, right?

Why is Flash not in the iPhone? It's in Android.

And it's closed--owned completely by Adobe?

How about HTML 5? Where is it?

How did that happen? Did the open standard, HTML, lose its way?

What happens to Adobe if Flash loses prominence?

Is the standard even done?

Benefits of HTML5
• media
• interactivity
• native resource/storage access
• location

Within HTML 5 itself, there's yet another battle going on, for video formats (OGG vs. H.264). Explain?

What's wrong with HTML 5?

What is Google's position?

Oh yeah...Silverlight. What's up there? What does MS say?

Discuss DRM and these platforms

Discuss mobility/mobile Web

What's next in Flash? HTML?

Advice? Best browsers to experiment with?

That's it for this week's Roundtable. Thanks for watching or listening. And thanks to my guests Stephen Shankland (CNET Deep Tech) and John Herrman (Gizmodo), and to producer Lynn Fu. Next week, I hope, we'll be tackling privacy and social networks, in light of the brouhaha over Google's Buzz. For updates on guests, watch my Twitter feed. E-mail comments to, and get all the show notes as well as replays and downloads of the podcast on the blog. We'll see you next week!