SublimeVideo, an HTML5-based video player from Switzerland-based development and design firm Jilion, has launched SublimeVideo.net, an HTML5 Video-Player-as-a-Service. The goal of the new site is to provide tools for Web publishers that will allow for the easy deployment of zero-maintenance HTML5 video on a website in a matter of seconds, and without the need to understand the complexities of the different Web browser versions and their various specifications.
A Quick History of the Project
made headlines earlier this year when the company behind the player, Jilion, revealed a site that demonstrated what its fast, plugin-free video player could do. By plugin-free, we're referring to video that works using the upcoming Web standard known as HTML5, the core markup language used to create the pages of the World Wide Web. In this version of the spec, video embeds are supported within the standard itself, which positions the very language of the Web itself as a competitor to Adobe Flash, the ubiquitous technology that has been used to display Web-based video for years.SumblineVideo
Although at the time of its launch, Jilion's player interface was somewhat overly simplified - it lacked volume controls, for example - it already supported a number of features that other HTML5-based video deployments from big companies like YouTube and Vimeo did not, such as full screen mode.
Since its initial unveiling, the SublimeVideo project has continued to evolve, adding more features like Firefox and mobile support, plus a "fall back to Flash" mode for older browsers that don't support modern Web standards like HTML5. However, even in these scenarios, the player interface - whether Flash or HTML5 - would remain the same.
What's a Video-Player-as-a-Service?
According to Jilion, the goal of the new service at SublimeVideo.net is to provide a "practical and rational way" to enable HTML5 Video. "HTML5 Video could be a real pain to deploy," the company explained via blog post. Traditionally, Web publishers have had to stay on top of the numerous different browser platforms, both on the desktop and mobile, and have had to continuously manage their video player deployments to make sure that browser updates don't break whatever video player or technology they currently use. "This is just not realistic for the vast majority of websites," says Jilion.
Instead, the SublimeVideo platform, a "video-player-as-a-service" offering, allows anyone - even "mere mortals," Jilion jokes - to quickly and easily deploy video without having to worry with browser incompatibilities, updates, coding, bug fixes or any of the other issues that could get in the way of making the switch from Flash to HTML5 Video.
In addition, the service provides features beyond the simple player embed code, including real-time usage analytics on the back-end and, automatic near-instantaneous updates and player delivery via an unnamed, but claimed to be "low-latency," "fast and reliable" Content Delivery Network.
How to Get Into the Beta
Of course, none of these claims have been tested yet by video experts or Web publishers - the new service is just launching into beta today. A "notify-me" form has been set up on sublimevideo.net and invites will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis. During the beta period, the company will fine-tune the service, squash any bugs that may arise and determine what the pricing model will be for when the service launches publicly.
To head of the comments from the Adobe folks, for whom who this player is clearly a concern: yes, we understand that calling something "HTML5 Video," is a somewhat casual, watered-down way of describing a combination of HTML5's video tag and a supported video codec like H.264, the latter being something that may vary from browser to browser. But that's not us calling SublimeVideo an "HTML5 Video Player," it's Jilion, so take your argument up with them.
Besides, to debate the semantics of the name is clouding the issue. What SublimeVideo has created is a universal, copy-and-paste video player which even non-developers can use, and that's something worth noting. That said, in its present form the player does not appear to offer the powerful back-end advertising and analytics capabilities that those using Flash have access to - or those using one of the many upcoming video platform providers like Brightcove, who has advertising and analytics on their 2010 roadmap, MeFeedia, Ooyala or the new solution from mDialog, for that matter. But it does have the capability to move HTML5 Video forward in a dramatic way by greatly simplifying the complexities of deployment. Hopefully, it will lower the cost, too, but that remains to be seen.