HTML5 Video: What Format Works Best?


Prior to HTML5, browsers required plugins (such as Flash) in order to play videos. The HTML5 video element changed all of that and provided a standardized way to embed videos into websites that is relatively easy.

However, HTML5 video formats are not standardized, and there are quite a few that can be used. That is probably part of the reason why you are wondering which format works best – but unfortunately there is no easy answer to that.

Each of the common HTML5 video formats is popular for its own reasons, and may work ‘best’ in certain situations:

1. MP4 with H.264


The MP4 with H.264 format is the one HTML5 video format that you arguably can’t do without – because it is the only format that is supported by all major browsers. In short if you want your video to be able to be viewed by all viewers, MP4 with H.264 is the way to go.

However, because it is a format that is fairly dated at this point, the compression MP4 with H.264 provides is not as good as some newer formats. That means that it will take up more storage space on your webhost, and require more bandwidth to stream.

2. WebM with VP8 and VP9

One of the more popular alternative HTML5 video formats is WebM – which is encoded either using the VP8 or VP9 video codec. It is supported by Google Chrome as well as newer versions of Firefox and Opera. However, it is not supported by Safari and Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge requires an extension to view it.

The reason why WebM is fairly widely-used however is because it has better compression (especially with VP9). By using it you can reduce the overall bandwidth that is required to stream your video – to browsers that support WebM.

3. Ogg with Theora


Although Ogg with Theora was initially a popular HTML5 video format, its use has waned somewhat in favor of WebM. It too is not compatible with Safari or Internet Explorer, and requires extensions for Microsoft Edge.

Much of the initial popularity of Ogg was due to its royalty-free status, and WebM is definitely the better choice in terms of compression.

So, what format works best?

It should be noted that in the not too distant future some other formats may start to replace the options listed above. One that you may want to keep tabs on is the recently-released AV1 format that is already being supported by most browsers.

Prior to AV1 it was expected that HEVC may eventually be used for HTML5 videos in the future, but its adoption has been slow.

Suffice to say as things stand the ‘best’ video format to use in terms of bandwidth consumption is WebM with VP8 or VP9 – however you will still need to use MP4 with H.264 as well to provide a fallback for browsers that don’t support it. In other words you’ll need to convert multiple versions of your video, not just in different resolutions but different formats too.

Final Words

To make that easier you can use Movavi Video Converter. All you need to do is visit the site and download it and you’ll be able to convert your video into any format you require. Its features will let you resize, compress, enhance, and prepare your video to be published online in other ways too.

It is safe to say that because there is no clear format that is ‘best’ for HTML5 videos, you can expect to have to frequently convert your videos. In fact as new formats start to gain popularity, you may want to convert some of your older videos to them too – and conserve more bandwidth.

Article Submitted By Community Writer

Today's Top Articles:

Scroll to Top