The next major release of HTML, dubbed HTML 5, will include several new tags for embedding audio, video and other graphical content in web pages.

Currently, your browser needs a plugin to play embedded multimedia content. For instance, you need to install Adobe Flash Player for watching videos on YouTube while the QuickTime player is required for viewing movie trailers that are available on the Apple website.

That may however change because the HTML 5 group has recommended some new tags – <audio> and <video> – that will let you play video files in the browser without the Shockwave Flash plugin.

youtube without flash

You can visit youtube.com/html5 to see the HTML 5 video tag in action.

This may look like a regular YouTube video player but the interesting part is that the YouTube video clip will play just fine even if you disable (or completely remove) the Flash Player from your browser.

You can either use Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome or Safari 4 to view this video but no Internet Explorer.

And here’s a single line of HTML 5 code that was used to embed this video clip on the YouTube page:

<video width="640" height="360" src="file.mp4" autobuffer>
 <br>You must have an HTML5 capable browser.
</video>

This YouTube page demonstrate some of the capabilities of HTML 5 but it’s nearly impossible predict at this stage if HTML 5 (or the Open Video format promoted by Mozilla) can make any impact on the ubiquitous Flash Player which, some estimates suggest, exists on more than 90% browsers.

The other problem is that none of the older browsers can understand content that’s wrapped inside the <video> tag  so you’ll still need to embed your video streams through Flash or an alternate technology like SilverLight.

That said, HTML 5 still looks very interesting and exciting.