Sunday, May 02, 2010

The H.264 Encoding Boom [Formats]


The H.264 Encoding BoomEarlier this week, Steve Jobs said quite confidently that alternatives like H.264 have already made the lion's share of web video available to devices that don't support Flash. This chart shows why he's probably right.

TechCrunch scored these numbers from, a service that has encoded over 5 million videos in the last year, including those of Brightcove, MTV, and MySpace. At this time last year, 69% of the video they were encoding was in Flash, either VP6 or FLV; now it is only 26% combined. H.264, on the other hand, went from 31% to 66% over the same period. The numbers don't lie.

Unless, of course, the numbers do lie. There's no way to tell how closely's work reflects the internet at large, and this doesn't mean that H.264 video is replacing Flash video, just that it's snuggling up alongside of it. And lest we forget about the games—the precious games! When it comes down to it, Flash's longevity will likely be tied to its use for stuff besides video, and, of course, many of the reasons we said HTML5 isn't going to save the internet still apply.

Still, the president of seems to think his numbers hold true for the greater web, and as TechCrunch points out, with H.264-friendly YouTube accounting for 40% of the internet's video, he might be right. Whether or not these alternatives replace Flash for web video remains to be seen—and won't be clear any time soon—but these numbers show that H.264 could be coming up fast on its heels. [TechCrunch]