YouTube testing hybrid HTML5/Flash embeds

The battle between Adobe Flash and HTML5 continues to rage, but in the meantime, YouTube has come up with a solution that serves up both players.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn

Google has worked out a new way to embed videos that presents the right version of the company's YouTube video player depending on your system's capability.

Videos embedded with the new code will be served up in either an Adobe Flash wrapper, or in the company's HTML5 player, opening up viewing to a potentially broader audience and without any extra effort for the person who embedded a video in the first place.

According to the Google, the company plans to roll the new code format out as the new default for YouTube embeds, but is running it through its paces first. For instance, one nagging hang-up of the HTML5 player compared to its Flash cousin (among the many) is that it cannot yet serve up advertising, something Google is remedying by defaulting to Flash.

Since launching its HTML5 player, YouTube has offered a similar viewing experience on its own site, though the convenience was not carried out to embedded videos. Instead, these linked to the clip in an Adobe Flash wrapper, which mobile devices like the iPhone and Android could identify and re-route to the source clip, but browsers without that logic built-in would see nothing at all. The new code fixes that.

Below you can see an example using the new embed code. If you've got Flash installed, it will be business as usual, but if you don't--and you're using an HTML5 video compatible browser like Firefox, Chrome or Safari--it will show up in the HTML5 player: