Adobe flash. The current container for web video, millions of hours of it. All wrapped up in a protocol controlled by one company, delivered through software that is buggy, resource-hungry and closed source.
Except there's now web video out in the wild using HTML5, using standard tagging that HTML5-enabled web browsers understand and codecs that are already part of that browser's collection of viewable formats.
And it's on YouTube. The biggest web video site there is...
If you have a compatible browser: Firefox 4 (beta), Google Chrome, Opera 10.6, Apple Safari 4+, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (beta), you can get straight on with it. If you're still using an older IE 6, 7 or 8 (firstly WHY???) then get the Google Chrome Frame plugin.
HTML5 remains just the wrapper, the codec wars haven't quite ended yet. There is still a problem with h.264 format video - patent doubts still plague Firefox and Opera, so you will only get the Google-owned WebM format video. What HTML5 does promise is offline storage of media and apps.
If you have a compatible browser,go to http://www.youtube.com/html5 and click the "Join the HTML5 Trial" link near the bottom. RC