BBC: HTML5 is starting to sail off course

13th Aug 2010 | 09:00

BBC: HTML5 is starting to sail off course

Huggers outlines problems with new web standard

Erik Huggers, the director of future media & technology at the BBC, has written a candid blog about the situation with HTML 5, explaining that the standard will be accepted by the broadcaster but changes have to be made.

He explains that the reason Flash is used for the iPlayer and BBC online is not because of favouritism but because it is the "most efficient way to deliver a high quality experience to the broadest possible audience."

This doesn't mean that HTML5 will never be used by the BBC but it seems that the technology needs to step up a gear before the broadcaster takes it seriously.

As Huggers states in the blog, he feels HTML5 "is starting to sail off course".

HTML5 concerns

"The fact is that there's still a lot of work to be done on HTML5 before we can integrate it fully into our products," explains Huggers.

"As things stand I have concerns about HTML5's ability to deliver on the vision of a single open browser standard which goes beyond the whole debate around video playback."

His main concern is that there has been much talk about HTML5 but the standard has yet to live up to its potential to, as Huggers explains, "bring the web together in a way that will better allow [the BBC] to serve our audiences and business partners."

This is something that Google has also brought up with regards to using HTML5 on YouTube.

Slow pace

"Despite grand overtures from Microsoft toward HTML5 support, their new browser is yet to ship and so the jury is out," states Huggers.

"The tension between individual motivation and collective consensus has brought an end to many noble causes in the past, and here, the pace of progress appears to be slowing on bringing HTML5 to a ratified state."

Huggers blog seems to be more of a call of arms for HTML5 Working Group and the WC3 (World Wide Web Consortium) to push ahead with what it has been promising, rather than a criticism of the technology.

Although, if things don't speed up on the HTML5 front, this may well change.

BBC HTML5 Erik Huggers
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