There are a good number of websites that are now running HTML5 video players that will run stream embedded videos to the iPad without kicking you out to the YouTube app. Facebook is not one of this websites. Well, we should clarify by saying that Facebook is not using the HTML5 video player, but it is now iPad-compatible when it comes to playing in-browser videos. All new videos uploaded to the social networking site can now be viewed on the Apple tablet. That’s good news for web-savvy social butterflies with a newly acquired iPad addiction.
What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, let us remind you that the iPad does not support Adobe’s Flash technology. That means any website using a Flash-based video player is going to take a big ‘ole dump on your iPad when you hit that little “play” button. That’s just how it is. If you don’t like it, you might want to try writing an email to Steve Jobs (we hear he’s real receptive to such emails).
Facebook is getting around this problem by serving up specially-coded videos that the iPad can play in the Safari web browser. When Facebook detects an iPad perusing it’s website, it knows to push to you this special flavor of video, which uses the iPad’s Quicktime video player. To get all technical, Facebook transcodes the videos into Quicktime-friendly versions based on the h.264 codec.
It’s not all good news though. Only new video uploads are encoded in h.264. If you try watching an old video on the iPad, you’ll find you’re still out of luck.
What’s interesting here is that Facebook is not falling in line with many other websites that are adopting the HTML5 video player. Whether this is a deliberate breaking from the crowd or an interim solution until Facebook can go fully HTML5, we’re not sure.
Either way, score one for the iPad!