As momentum quickly builds behind HTML5, the new version of HTML and XHTML, we've had a close eye on what impact this might have on HTML email in the years to come. While the finer details of HTML5 are still being finalised, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Opera have offered support for much of the new technology for some time.
One particular area of interest to David Greiner was the HTML5
tag. The aim of this tag was to provide native video support using a
single codec across all browsers without the need for third party
plugins like Flash. While the dream of a universal codec appears unlikely, one clever project has surfaced that uses the
<video> tag for browsers that support it and falls back on traditional video options for those that don't.
Current approaches to video in email
"This isn't the first time we've had a close look at support for video in email. In our previous research we were looking for an approach that would allow video in email clients that support it and a clickable fallback image for those that didn't (that would then play the video in the browser).
were disappointing. Only Apple Mail supported decent video playback via
Flash, and there was no consistent way to provide fallback content for
those clients that don't support Flash. To me, this is the crux of the
problem. If video doesn't work, you better have a backup plan that
works well for everyone else. Because most email clients strip the
<object> tag used to insert video, a backup plan wasn't available.
There had to be a better way, and maybe HTML5 was the answer. Turns out I was half right."
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