Skip to main content

BBC finally ditching Adobe Flash in favor of HTML5 for iPlayer video playback

The BBC is slowly moving away from Adobe's Flash plugin for iPlayer. The company has rolled out HTML5 playback support for those who'd prefer to test out the arguably more secure platform. While the BBC will provide the choice between the two options, it has noted that Flash will not be removed completely.

The new player is supported on most modern browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Microsoft Edge, as well as Safari on iOS. The team behind the implementation will work through the next few months to improve the HTML5 player to match the capabilities of the Flash counterpart.

If you wish to opt-in the beta, you'll need to head to this webpage, after which you should see a HTML5 banner on the video player alerting you that you're now part of the test phase.

Source: BBC

Rich Edmonds is a word conjurer at Windows Central, covering everything related to Windows, gaming, and hardware. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a device chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

34 Comments
  • My favourite porn sites still use flash. Hope they switch to Html 5 soon. Lol!
  • Pornhub is available in html5 ;)
  • HTML5 video playback sucks in almost every way. That's my opinion.
  • Aww yeah! Let's get nasty here? :D
  • I don' t know if I should be happy or not.
    Pls someone explain me the main difference.
  • Security.
  • Stability.
  • HTML5 uses the rendering engine inside your browser to deliver media content. Flash needs a plugin to show it. In the early days of the web you needed lots of plugins to enjoy media content. Flash, Shockwave, Java, Silverlight, etc. These plugins use additional resources and battery, and also have lots of vulnerabilities (flash and Java were really bad at this) In recent years most plugins were slowly replaced. Flash is the last one still going strong with many websites needing it. When a big website like the bbc dumps it then it’s a good thing.  
  • Also means much better stability for phones as HTML5 is more stable on phones while flash doesn't support (all?) phones. :D
  • It doesn't mean much. It's mainly to please iPad users who don't have flash
  • Why would it please iPad users? BBC IPlayer works on iPads without flash. I think they couldn't care less if flash is removed or not. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Some phones/platforms don't have a flash support either. Its not just iPad. HTML5 is just much more stable, uses browser resources, not additional download's resources (like flash) so its note stable. It can also be rn much more range of devices. So its not that "it doesn't mean much" as its basically a more highly stable universal resource for all/most devices and is much more secure for security
  • Porn
  • IE on Windows Phone?
  • edge still use flash player......sad :(
  • For good reason too. It's easy to block many auto playing videos simply by turning off flash. It's very easy to do in Edge.
  • No edge has Flash built in. We should have a standards based, plugin free web. Is it really so hard to understand why thats a good thing? The one last thing that Steve Job's bless him gave us before his passing was the direction that Flash should be no more - thankfully that is starting to happen. Once we have Video playback, and a Video conferencing and audio conferencing protocol standards we can all finally be connected together with no more proprietary fighting between the big computing companies. That will be better for all our sakes.
  • Does wp support html5?
  • Yup...
  • However, wp doesn't support Flash
  • Which is a good thing.
  • Wp still cant play tumblr video so sad.. Even sapphire
  • Is there an app for Tumblr on windows phone?
  • I don't get all the hate for Flash Player, been using it on Windows PCs since it first came out... I've never had a problem. I just think people love to jump on the hate bangwagon for no reason, Flash player was so innovative and amazing, it changed the web forever, now give it the respect it deserves. 
  • You apparently have never heard of the security problems with Flash... Here is a page listing them; http://www.cvedetails.com/vulnerability-list/vendor_id-53/product_id-676... The list shows over 500 security flaws over the years!! So, no Flash does not earn any respect - sorry.
  • Browsers are also unsafe. Therefore, html5 is also unsafe. It's all a lie. Data security:
    http://www.cvedetails.com/top-50-product-cvssscore-distribution.php 1...
    2. Firefox
    3. Mac OS X
    4. Chrome
    ...
    ...
    15. Flash Player If Flash player has security high score is because there are hackers dedicated to specifically target the Flash Player plugin to kill it from the market, because of global interests. Any piece of technology as widespread as Flash will have security issues. Flash is used (and continue) in many events worldwide in executable format o apps in Android and iOS, outside browsers. If there were any real problem with the platform directly related to security, absolutely no one develop any application out of browser. And is not the case. The problem are the browsers and their plugin system. That is the insecure thing. Not other. Its all a lie.
  • I agree with you to some extent. However even thou flash did start a new era of media on the internet, it was only the start. After years of it going, is growing old. Technology is advancing, new methods are made easier to use for (for example) higher definition youtube. Computers are optimised more and more to work more efficiently using less resources, higher performance etc. Flash just can't keep up. Its had its good days where it was an internet giant as most websites used them. Now flash is becoming old aged and its successor has become more efficient, more secure with less of the security issues flash has, and just runs much faster on so many more devices and it uses less system resources but performance is better. Its not that people are hating on flash anymore, its just that people are starting to feel like flash is becoming unreliable in our time. Especially since everyone knows that (malicious) hackers are becoming more advanced and flash isn't keeping up. HTML5 is the future universal resource what is more secure. That's all :)
  • Enjoyed watching iPlayer on WM10 this am, I can finally ditch the useless Windows Phone app.
  • Finally got with the times, just need sky and bt to follow
  • Flash needs to die pronto, sick and tired of playback issues due to flash. For instance videos wouldn't play in full screen (in edge) due to flash. That had to be patched via Windows Update....
    Not to mention, having to update it every other day...
  • The HTML5 player doesn't work on WP 8.1 -- I signed up, changed my preferences to desktop mode, and visited the iPlayer site. I get the HTML5 Beta player, but when I try to watch something, the circle goes round and up pops a message saying the content can't play. I later saw WP 8.1 is excluded (along with quite a few others, including Safari on OSX). They say W10 will be supported on Windows Phones. I'm on the increasingly rare Lumia 1020 64Gb edition, and I don't want to install the W10 preview. I'm waiting to hear that the 1020 is officially supported for W10, given the high demands it makes on system memory and CPU with those huge photos. As my daily driver and my camera-in-a-pocket I can't afford for anything to go wrong with this.So I'll just have to wait.
  • Interesting.  If this allows users to bypass the lacklustre BBC apps on mobile this is good news.  I am looking forward to the windows 10 upgrade to try this.  Have any users on windows 10 tried this with iPlayer radio yet?  For me the lack of a decent BBC radio app is a real problem and if the web version works in windows 10 mobile it would help with the decision to stay with windows phone in the future.  The existing BBC radio app is unusable in its present state (stuttering playback and battery killing) and means having to have a second device to access the service (I use a Nexus 9 tethered to my Lumia 640 for this at present).
  • Thanks for the article. For those who live outside UK and want to access BBC iPlayer, you can use UnoTelly as I do to get around the geo block.
  • THEOplayer is the ONLY HTML5 video player that can guarantuee HTTP Live Streaming playback, cross platform, without any plugins such as Flash or Silverlight. Looks like the ideal solution for BBC!!
    For more information about the world's most comprehensive video player you can check: https://www.theoplayer.com