The wait is over. Wikipedia now widely supports HTML 5 video content on its millions of entries with the launch of its TimeMediaHandler, soon with support for mobile.
Wikimedia has been working on getting video onto Wikipedia for nearly four years. It partnered with HTML 5 open source video platform Kaltura in 2008 and worked with others such as Google to create the TimeMediaHandler. The TimeMediaHandler is what makes video work on Wikis. It supports the audio, video, closed captioning, other “timed text,” and is very flexible. It changes based on your bandwidth and what kind of device you are on, including mobile.
In true Wikipedia fashion, you can contribute to and edit videos you add to the site as well. That is, you can add your own translated subtitles and add closed caption versions in your language. It represents a pretty big opportunity to expand the library of videos translated for the hearing impaired.
Full editing capabilities and mobile support are not yet deployed, however.
Of course, Wikipedia has had to do a lot of beefing up to prepare for the video. It had to ensure there was enough space to store all of the content. It also had to ensure that the process of uploading videos was an easy and quick one — otherwise no one would do it. The Wikimedia Foundation created an Upload Wizard between 2010 and 2011 to help people with just that.
The TimeMediaHandler supports open source video format WebM — a type of video that is built specifically for the web and is made to conform to your device and bandwidth. Popular players such as YouTube use WebM, which means you can pull free-licensed content from YouTube’s library to supplement Wikipedia entries.
Cat film image via Shutterstock