Media

Open source video company Kaltura joins with Wikimedia to promote HTML5 video

Kaltura, developer of an open source video platform, has joined with the Wikimedia Foundation and the Open Video Alliance to launch two initiatives to promote HTML5 video on the web.

HTML5 is the latest revision of HTML (HyperText Markup Language), the programming language that makes up most of the web. It’s being looked at as a challenger to Adobe Flash in many ways, since it allows for web animations and video without the use of a plugin. Many sites are currently pursuing HTML5 video players, including YouTube and Vimeo.

To simplify implementing HTML5 video, Kaltura has developed a video library that solves many of the current problems with the format. The library includes tools such as audio and video players, an uploader, and an editor. It works across all major web browsers —  including those that don’t support HTML 5 — by implementing a “fallback” mechanism that reverts to a Flash player when necessary.

It also supports automatic transcoding (the process of re-encoding video) to all of the major HTML5 video codecs, including OGG Theora, H.264, MOV, and FLV. The company claims that the library will also soon support advanced features like analytics and monetization.

The HTML5 video library is already being used to power video on Wikipedia and is currently being integrated into Kaltura’s Open Source Online Video Platform, which is used by more than 52,000 sites.

The company has also launched a site at HTML5video.org that’s dedicated to promoting all things related to the up and coming standard.

Kaltura’s platform ads some much-needed stability to the world of HTML5 video. It doesn’t solve the issues some have with using the H.264 video codec though. Mozilla has refused to support the codec in Firefox (even though its supported by IE9, Google Chrome, and Safari), because it doesn’t want to pay licensing fees to the MPEG LA group. The group has announced that the H.264 will be royalty-free until 2016, but Mozilla remains committed to the free and open Ogg Theora video format instead.

There’s no telling if HTML5 video will ever kill Flash video, but with a platform like Kaltura’s, they’ll at least be able to coexist comfortably for the next few years.

Based in New York, Kaltura has raised $2.1 million in funding from Avalon Ventures and .406 Ventures. It has also recently acquired $1 million in debt funding.