10 Great Sites for Watching Video on Your iPad
By now you’re probably well aware that the shiny new iPad is missing something: support for Adobe Flash content. Even Adobe called out Jobs and co. for its omission on the device that will herald the renaissance of the tablet computing form factor (maybe).
Still, despite the prevalence of Flash use in popular video sites and casual games, you won’t be left completely out in the cold when it comes to watching video on your iPad, thanks in large part to the advent of the next-generation web standard, HTML5.
Though still in essentially early days, HTML5 is getting enough buzz and support to at least give it a localized victory over Flash in our recent Mashable poll. Adobe itself sees the two technologies co-existing for some time yet to come, but what about Apple iPad owners who simply want to watch some video content right now? Check out our list of video sites below that support viewing content without requiring Flash support, whether via adopting HTML5 or via some other means.
Luckily, the reigning champion in monthly video views announced support for HTML5 a couple of months ago. Using the HTML5 version of the YouTube player, no browser plugins (i.e., Flash) are required to watch videos.
Unfortunately there are some caveats, prime among them that not all videos are supported in the HTML5 player. Specifically, videos with advertising, captions, or annotations won’t render properly. In general, the HTML5 version of the player is also not as robust and polished as the default Flash YouTube player, but iPad owners will certainly be grateful the option is there once they’re iconically sitting on the couch browsing video.
Yes, it’s one of the few paid services on this list, but of course if you’re already a Netflix subscriber you’re going to love that it’s coming to the iPad. If you’re not a subscriber, you can check out a free two-week trial and instantly stream TV shows and movies to your shiny new iPad, plus manage your queue.
Almost immediately after YouTube announced its HTML5 player, popular video site Vimeo followed suit. You should be able to follow the “Switch to HTML5 player” link below compatible videos to check out Vimeo vids on your iPad; the company says about 90% of the videos uploaded within the past year should be supported in the HTML5 player, although a smaller percentage of older videos are likely to have HTML5-compatible counterparts. Vimeo also cautions that the HTML5 player is still in beta testing, so don’t be too surprised by the occasional bit of bugginess here and there as well.
4. TED Talks
If you’re not already familiar with the huge collection of TED Talks, walk don’t run and check out these up-to-18-minute inspirational videos from thought leaders, experts, and world changers from the annual conference held in Long Beach, CA (plus a number of satellite conferences held every year worldwide). In anticipation of the iPad launch, TED has added HTML5 support to its player, making it viewable on Apple’s tablet as well as on the iPhone or iPod touch.
Perennially popular photo and video sharing site Flickr has also prepped HTML5 video player support in anticipation of the iPad launch. They may be limited to 90 seconds, but they’re likely to be some of the most eye-catching and artistic short-form videos around.
6. The New York Times
Thanks to underlying support from video provider Brightcove’s HTML5 technology, the New York Times’ video section will be viewable on the iPad from day one. For newsy content organized by topic, this is likely to be a popular video hub for newshounds.
Also due to its choice of Brightcove as a video provider, Time Inc.’s video section features HTML5 support and will be playable on the iPad from launch day, as well.
8. ABC, CBS, NBC
Though all three networks will be handling it slightly differently, ABC, CBS, and NBC will all have support for video playback on the iPad at launch. ABC will release an actual app, while CBS will stream content through the Safari browser and NBC will rely on its iPhone-friendly mobile site to stream content. This can help you get your TV fix until the highly rumoured Hulu iPad app is finally unveiled.
Looking for a live video fix? Ustream will have you covered on launch day with its iPad app. Users can browse streams and take advantage of all of Ustream’s social and chat features.
Thanks to their addition of HTML5 support, MySpace will be offering video content to iPad owners as well. Visitors to Myspace.com will get a customized experience specifically for the iPad, along with the opportunity to browse and play the site’s collection of full HD trailers at 1080p resolution.
… And More
Sites are announcing either HTML5 support or iPad apps faster than we can even keep up with them, and now 26% of HTML5 web video is now iPad-read. Apple itself maintains a list of sites that will be iPad ready to serve up video content. Of course, if you have some Flash web video and want to watch on iPad, you can convert them to ipad-ready formats with 3rd-party tools. There are many iPad video converter programs that do this, they vary in output quality, so try a free download and then make the right choice.