In August of last year, Youtube introduced a video player which uses the HTML5 video tags. If your browser can support this video tag and the YouTube video you want to use doesn’t include captions, annotations and doesn’t show ads, you’ll be able to watch this video in YouTube’s HTML5 player. Here are some highlights of the player.

HTML5 is a new web standard and is gaining rapid popularity. It enables features which enhances your web experience and supports video and audio playback. This means that users with an HTML5 compatible browser and the appropriate codecs don’t need to download separate browser plugins.

It should be noted that for now, the browsers which are compatible with this video player include the following:

· Firefox 4 (WebM,)
· Google Chrome
· Opera 10.6+ (WebM)
· Apple Safari (h.264, version 4+)
· Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (h.264)
· Microsoft Internet Explorer 6, 7, or 8 with Google Chrome Frame installed

Keep in mind that this player is still in the experimental phase and there are limited videos produced for this format. However as the bugs get worked out and HTML5 gets more mainstream, you are sure to se this player pick up in popularity.

It’s an open platform so there are a lot of people working on it and enhancing it. There are a few other things to note as listed in the YouTube support page for HTML5.

· Fullscreen support is partially implemented. Pressing the fullscreen button will expand the player to fill your browser. If your browser supports a fullscreen option, you can then use that to truly fill the screen

· The HTML5 player has a badge in the control bar. If you don’t see the “HTML5” icon in the control bar, you’ve been directed to the Flash player (due to restrictions listed below)

· The HTML5 player also has a badge to indicate the video is using the WebM format. If you don’t see the “WebM” icon, the video is encoded using h.264

· If you want to find videos with WebM formats available, you can use the Advanced Search options to look for them (or just add &webm=1 to any search URL)

And for those of you who really aren’t sure what the big deal is about this player and HTML5 in the first place, it is designed to replace the Flash player/plugin. This player hogs a lot of computing resources so migration to a video player which operates under HTML5 will enable a much more efficient and faster process. So those high def movies won’t slow down the rest of your system..