Firefox 4 Youtube HTML5

Okay, now that Firefox 4 is released and has been downloaded 40 million times, I want all Firefox users to do the following:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on “Join the HTML5 Trial

Most Youtube videos you watch will be served in WebM format with HTML5 markup, instead of Flash.

Sidenote: Before you go thinking Firefox 4 is the first version of Firefox to support HTML5 video, it should be noted the HTML5 doesn’t specify video codec. Firefox has had support for HTML5 video since version 3.5.

22 Responses

  1. Dan March 28, 2011 / 5:36 pm

    I’ve personally had a poorer overall experience with HTML5 YouTube than I have with Flash (not as mature, doesn’t support annotations, sometimes videos just don’t load, etc). This is in Chrome if it makes a difference. I’m not blaming HTML5 of course, just YouTube.

  2. Jos March 28, 2011 / 5:53 pm

    I do not store cookies on YouTube. Is there a suffix to the video url that would do the trick?

  3. Asa Dotzler March 28, 2011 / 5:56 pm

    Dan, I recommend trying it with Firefox. Firefox’s video implementation has been considerably more solid than Chromes since its debut.

  4. smaug March 28, 2011 / 6:28 pm

    On Linux Fx4+WebM seems to work really well. Way better than
    Flash videos.

  5. alanjstr March 28, 2011 / 6:38 pm

    OK, I opted it. But that page doesn’t recognize that Firefox 4 went final and they’re still pointing to the beta URL.

  6. Markus March 28, 2011 / 6:40 pm

    Don’t do it: You are just trading in one patented codec for another patented codec, which requires a bunch of patents held by Google. WebM is _not_ free. Google holds quite some patents on WebM, and the question is, how many other patents WebM violates…

  7. Nathaniel Tucker March 28, 2011 / 7:47 pm

    Google blocks the fullscreen feature of Firefox (by overriding the right click menu and controls) because they don’t want people to know Firefox is better than Chrome. ๐Ÿ™

  8. Dao March 28, 2011 / 8:37 pm

    Nathaniel Tucker: Go to Options -> Content -> Advanced (next to “Enable JavaScript”), and uncheck “Disable or replace context menus”.

  9. woro March 29, 2011 / 2:50 am

    Unfortunately “most” doesn’t fit it for me. I’m not a big youtube user and had that feature enabled since the betas but I’m very rarely getting a webm video.

  10. Adrian Schmidt March 29, 2011 / 3:00 am

    I did this first thing after getting Firefox 4, but I switched back to flash. The WebM videos are of much higher quality, but I get weird behaviour with freezing picture and stuttering sound in almost every video ๐Ÿ™

    Of course, the flash-experience is really sucky too, but currently, it’s less sucky…

  11. Maik Merten March 29, 2011 / 3:33 am

    @Markus: Google most likely has patents on VP8, but there’s a license-grant in place:

    So unless you’re suing anyone over VP8, you have an irrevocable license for the patents Google own. They cannot, ever, start collecting licensing fees just because they change their mind.

    As for third-party patents: Any technology may be subject of third-party patents (including, in worst case, the HTML5 specification itself). Google claims they made thorough research on VP8, others have diverging views. Even if third-party patents surface, Google still has means to negotiate to keep VP8 free of licensing fees (money helps). If that fails (assuming malicious patent holders that won’t accept compensation schemes that keep VP8 deployments free) one can try to work around the patents, in worst case redefining the format.

  12. Dave March 29, 2011 / 8:12 am

    @Adrian: I experienced similar issues with Firefox 4 nightlies and betas on Ubuntu, but after I upgraded Ubuntu’s included Firefox install to the final release of 4 it’s been working like a charm for me. Seems to be slightly less CPU usage on my Atom netbook too, in comparison with Flash.

  13. Tiago Sรก March 29, 2011 / 8:29 am

    Regarding WebM, I guess quite a bit of a delay when sliding backwars and forwards, and the video isn’t nearly as responsive as Flash. Still, I use HTML5 because it doesn’t rely on Flash, which I want to see out of my systems ASAP, even though YouTube’s flash code is very solid and has never ever given me any big problems. Unlike HTML5’s code, which sucks, much like their browser.

  14. Dan April 5, 2011 / 3:47 pm

    I’m with woro: I joined the HTML5 trial but almost always get served Flash…

  15. DaVince May 17, 2011 / 4:18 pm

    Hope I’m not spamming… but I just thought you might like to know this. At the very least, it’s relevant to the post.

    I wrote a userscript that will enhance the YouTube HTML5 player functionality and fix some of the bugs that exist in it. If you’re interested in trying it out, check the link behind my name.

  16. Chris Ilias May 17, 2011 / 9:07 pm

    Not spam at all! ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. DaVince May 18, 2011 / 6:00 pm

    Okay, cool! Hope it comes in useful to anyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. sanmao June 27, 2011 / 2:54 am

    it takes a high cpu usage here
    i am in win7+firefox4

  19. Windows 7 Support July 1, 2011 / 4:10 pm

    i am really thinking about trying it but will it mess up my computer

  20. eric z July 3, 2011 / 12:47 pm

    I have read of the WebM vs the consortium thing, h.264 MPEG-LA, whatever it calls itself. It encourages me to favor WebM. I have never liked Flash and have removed it from my desktop.

    I wanted to look at the WebM on YouTube, but lassitude intervened. Thanks for the kickstart.

    It is simple to use, based on your post. I took the simple steps and viewed some stuff, other searches seemed to yield content only posted via Flash.

    I am unfamiliar with YouTube. Is it correct that Google in maintaining it is not intent on converting posted Flash items to a parallel WebM, unless/until it proves critical mass?

    woro and Dave comments seem that way.

    It seems like a chicken/egg thing if so.


    Separate thing-

    Jos – Chris, what’s this “cookies on YouTube” concern?

    Is it similar to worry over Flash meta cookies stored locally, and things such as the Firefox “Better Privacy” addon?

    When you open a Gmail account and use Google Docs, it seems that stores substantial user data on a remote server, including account-related block listing.

    How does this YouTube cookie differ?

  21. darknessangel November 11, 2011 / 8:27 am

    Well… I just wasn’t in the “html5 test” when I visited the test page but I was getting served html5 … and it sucked balls! It obviously didn’t go full screen and was choppy (some problem with renderin in fullscreen) and slow. Html5 works ok in iOS (ipad), why does it suck so much in firefox?

    I had to “join” the test and “leave” the test so that I could get flash.

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