In case you needed more Flash/iPhone drama today, according to a retracted Hulu blog post regarding their new player, the popular online TV service explained why it’s sticking with Flash (rather than HTML5) for its video. That doesn’t mean the iPad and iPhone apps are screwed, but it does mean Hulu won’t work in the browser. Here’s what Hulu had to say about HTML5:
When it comes to technology, our only guiding principle is to best serve the needs of all of our key customers: our viewers, our content partners who license programs to us, our advertisers, and each other. We continue to monitor developments on HTML5, but as of now it doesn’t yet meet all of our customers’ needs. Our player doesn’t just simply stream video, it must also secure the content, handle reporting for our advertisers, render the video using a high performance codec to ensure premium visual quality, communicate back with the server to determine how long to buffer and what bitrate to stream, and dozens of other things that aren’t necessarily visible to the end user. Not all video sites have these needs, but for our business these are all important and often contractual requirements.
That’s not to say these features won’t be added to HTML5 in the future (or be easier to implement). Technology is a fast-moving space and we’re constantly evaluating which tools will best allow us to fulfill our mission for as many of our customers as possible.
Hulu is in huge demand among iPad owners, all of whom will be grinding their teeth at Apple for not just enabling developers with Flash. On the plus side, all of the other mobile platforms, namely Android, which is both progressing with Flash as well as tablets, will be able to cruise to Hulu directly no problem – no waiting (or paying) for an app. To be totally fair, early builds of Flash on Android still don’t play nice with Hulu.
Hulu’s stance is actually a pretty ironic twist since one of Steve Jobs’ points against Adobe is that users aren’t missing a significant amount of video content without Flash. He was probably thinking of YouTube when he said that, because damn if Hulu doesn’t have a metric ass-tonne of content (which is ironic since you can’t watch any of it in Canada). Sure, a dedicated app might change that, but I’d really hate to have to download a new app for every tiny bit of Flash I want to interact with online.