YouTube and Vimeo get HTML5 video

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Apple doesn’t seem likely to introduce Flash to the iPhone or iPod Touch anytime soon, and you can take it pretty much as read that the Apple Tablet will have the same limitation. That’s a pain for those who want to play Flash games (and, in fact, its the possible dilution of App Store sales numbers that is making Apple so reticent to incorporate Flash), but it also means that sites that use Flash to serve up video are inaccessible.

Given how strongly focused on video media the Tablet looks like it’s going to be, the majority of online video sites may simply not be ready for Apple’s newest product. But a solution is in sight: the HTML5 standard will actually serve streaming video without installing Adobe Flash on compatible browsers, including good old Safari.

Even better? Both YouTube and Vimeo have rolled out opt in, beta versions of their HTML5 video players, and they work excellently on Safari in the iPhone or iPod Touch.

You can also use the HTML5 players in desktop Safari and Chrome. Theoretically, they should also work in Firefox, but Mozilla has been pressing for HTML5 to abandon H.264 compression for the free and open Ogg Vorbis Theora standard… which just isn’t going to happen.

But I digress. Vimeo and Youtube’s move is a great first step towards an Internet without Flash. If more streaming video sites follow suit — and I think they will, since HTML5’s video seems a lot speedier than Flash — this is going to break streaming video on the iPhone wide open… whether AT&T is ready for it or not.