HTML5 is the latest specification of HTML (hypertext markup language), the language used to create websites.
The specification is currently under review by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group (WHATWG), and is set to be finalized in 2014.
Microsoft dominated the computer landscape, giving the Windows Media Player a dominant share of available desktops and notebooks, and from the early 2000 to around 2007, Windows Media was the most widely used format on the Internet and in most company intranets.
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This proved irresistible to most broadcast and entertainment sites, where Microsoft's share in these markets dropped to single digits by 2010.
Microsoft released a Flash competitor called Silverlight in 2007 to stem the tide, but the player never achieved the penetration necessary to convince Flash users to adopt it.
By the start of 2011, only about half of the installed base of browsers was HTML5 compatible.
Though that will change with the release of Internet Explorer 9, HTML5 won't achieve the 96% penetration enjoyed by Flash for many years to come.
For many such organizations, streaming video has transitioned from a "nice to have" curiosity to a mission critical technology.
At the same time, streaming media technologies have transitioned dramatically since the early years, as has the challenge of reaching the full range of target viewers.
In early 2011, the W3C and WHATWG announced that the specification would be henceforth known simply as HTML; for the sake of clarity, however, we'll continue to refer to it here as HTML5.
For HTML5 video to function, the user must have an HTML5-compatible browser, and that browser must support the codec used to compress the file.
In addition, codec support within those browsers was split.