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Try our new HTML5 player!

Brad Dougherty
January 21, 2010 by Brad Dougherty Staff

We're rolling out a new beta test today: the HTML5 player!

What's the HTML5 player, you ask? Simply put, it's an alternative to our current Flash player that looks and works almost exactly the same way. What are the benefits?

  • The player loads right away -- no more spinning butterfly thingy
  • You can jump anywhere in the video, without having to wait for it to buffer
  • Smoother, less jumpy playback (we hope)

That said, there are some drawbacks:

  • It's a beta test -- it might be buggy!
  • It only works for about 25% of you: you must be running the latest versions of Safari, Chrome, or IE with Chrome Frame installed.
  • It cannot go full screen. Unfortunately this is a limitation of the browsers right now. We are working on adding at least full-window support in the next day or so.
  • It only works on right now, embed code will still be Flash.
  • "Only" 90% of videos uploaded in the last year will work in the new player. All told, about 35% of all videos will still require the standard Flash player. In this case, Vimeo will automatically switch for you. It should just always work.

To enable the HTML5 player, click the "Switch to HTML5 player" link below any video. Enjoy!!!

One final note: those of you who have followed the development of HTML5 probably know video can be a contentious issue (for more on why, read here: Almost every thread on the internet about HTML5 devolves into some kind of flamewar. Please don't comment here extolling the virtues of open source or unencumbered codecs. We know, it's our job to know, and that conversation has been had a million times. If you really feel like you need to talk about it, please do so in the Feature Request forum. The simple fact is right now h264 allows us the most flexibility to display on many devices and many players with the same file. When that changes, so will we. That's all there is to it, thanks for your understanding!



i dont see the link below the videos, but anyway, great initiative! i will use it

Andrew Pile Staff

Because you are not running one of the browsers mentioned in the blog post.

Seán Sloane

I am running Safari 4.0.4 which is the latest version and I don't have the option either...

Brian Moura

The HTML 5 link isn't visible here on the supported browsers.

But as they say, it's still in beta... !

Matt Cox

Brilliant news guys! Thanks for adding it. Glad to see YouTube weren't the only ones on this =)

holycowboy Plus

I'm using Safari 4.0.4 and I'm not seeing the link on any videos.

Likewise Chrome

Dʌniel S*

I'm using chrome right now and enabled the HTML5 player but the video does not load.
However, I won't use it as long as it doesn't support fullscreen.

Dʌniel S*

I tried three different ones, all were uploaded in the last couple of days.
If I want to open in a new tab via right click I get an error message:
"Permission denied - You do not have permission to view this page."
I hope it helps.

Zach Graves

Better. It plays now, but pretty rough on my macbook pro (2.4ghz, 4gb RAM)

Exciting though!

Tapio Haaja Plus

I don't know what OS youre running but there seems to be big difference between running Safari 4.0.4 under Leopard or Snow Leopard. Under Leopard everything was sluggish and pixelated but under Snow Leopard everything is very smooth. At least for me.

Zach Graves

I'm on Leopard. Haven't tried it yet on my Snow Leopard Mac.

Eli Barthelman

Video takes a while to load, and isn't quite smooth, flash player results in a smooth playback.

However, this is exciting, as it no longer has the 'stutter' on the last second of HD video playback. That right there makes it worth it for me to use the HTML5 player. Awesome work!

Gavin Owens

This works really well. Super fast loading.
Changing from page to page seems to flash a bit though....
Interesting stuff

Bastien Colmard

Glad to see that my favorite streaming video site supports HTML5! But what about Firefox? can't see the link on my computer (Firefox).

Bastien Colmard

Woh I wasn't aware of that codec particularity. Thanks for the precision. It could be a good idea to add some information about that precise case in the blog post. Firefox is one of the most popular browsers and claims to support HTML5 video tag so people will continue to ask in the comments I guess.

Paul Jacobson

And I just asked the question! Sorry about the duplication.

Russel Kealoha

looks pretty good so far. Glad you guys are rolling on this early :) cause you know mobile / iphone kinda took a while eh hehe. good job yo!

Thaddeus Hunt

Excellent job guys! It's very cool seeing my vids running on tomorrow's standards! Thanks for going the extra mile. You're officially ahead of the curve!


Tnz guys!

Works on Safari 4.0.4 (Leopard)

John Rappold Plus

IE8 32 bit on Win7 Chrome Frame installed. HTML player works fine, but now Vimeo says I don't have latest version of the Flash player installed (I do). Now I can't play videos on the site in Flash or see my stats. Flash is working on other sites. Strange.

Brad Dougherty Staff

We want fullscreen just as much as you do, but unfortunately browsers don't support it at the moment. Hopefully they will ignore the spec and implement some way of getting fullscreen playback.

Mark Rowe

The WebKit engine (as used by Safari and Chrome) recently added an extension to the HTML 5 DOM that allows a page to send a element full-screen in response to a user gesture (e.g., clicking on a button). It’s exposed in such a way that full-screen support can easily be detected via script so that the appropriate UI can be displayed only when the functionality is supported. You can see the extensions to the HTMLMediaElement interface at


Firefox supports fullscreen HTML 5 video.

Justin Davis

Great work! Plays much more smoothly for me and doesn't eat my processor alive like flash does. Keep it up vimeo!


Works well, guys!

Kevin Sweeney PRO

Dude, that's been in your user stories backlog on Rally since before you left! When are you going to have it done?

Dennie Bright

I don't know what it is about you vimeo, but you're looking better and better these days. New haircut?


Where is my message? Deleted?

Andrew Pile Staff

Yes, re-read the part of the blog post pertaining to the Theora/licensing debate. Move it to the other thread if you really feel like having the same discussion again.


Sorry I don't see any part in this blog announcement about licensing (unless you mean to read the site?).

Anyway I was just curious if it was deleted, sometimes it is acting weird here. About 30 seconds ago when I refreshed that page there was only 3 comments! I refreshed many times and all others comments were not displaying and then, 45 seconds later they were all back. Weird!

cars & trains Plus

wow, that's really great... keep it up, that looks smooth even in beta!

Tom in HK

Great work. Btw how can I see my non public videos via my iPhone ? I couldn't find a menu for that after I logged in to the new html5 site via my iPhone. Thanks Tom

Andrew Pile Staff

"Please don't post help or support questions here! Using the Help Center will give you much more prompt and useful information. Sorry, but off-topic comments will be removed to keep things tidy."

Dr Knife

The HTML5 player works soooo much better on my computer than the flash player. It actually plays the first 3 seconds of the video which is a change from the flash player skipping the first 3 seconds

Jesse Wilkinson Plus

You guys never cease to amaze. Fantastic!
(You might try giving it a funkier name though)

Mentor InterActive

Apparently the browser on my droid supports the video tag, and I get the black box with all the buttons to load, I hit play and nothing happens. Codec issue?

Josh Chernoff

I'm feeling a bit pessimistic since I'm a big Flash and Firefox fan boy and I would hate to see you guys stop support flash. I queses I will have to just wait and see it in better daily use context before I state my opinion. In any regards keep up the hard work and never stop teaching your self new things.

Levi Figueira

I'm sorry to hear that… But from a content delivery site standpoint, they only have to gain from dumping slow+buggy Flash…

Welcome to a new world. We've been waiting… :)

Joseph Schmitt Staff

Don't be sad! The Flash version isn't going away just yet. On the contrary, we're working on some really great features and optimizations for the Flash version as we speak, and will be announcing some really exciting news real soon.

HTML5, or more specifically support in browsers for the video tag, is just a technology. At the end of the day what matters to us is the experience for our users and we're going to use the best technology possible to deliver the best possible experience. Native video rendering in the browser gives tremendous performance advantages, and that's why we're going ahead with this beta. We don't care about the specific technology or implementation nearly as much as we do about what it's like for you to use the site. That's what we'll always be focused on, whether it's HTML5, Flash, or some other super awesome future technology that comes out down the road.



Yeah firefox <3

Danny Mangosing

Brad, I gotta tell ya, providing an alternative to Flash made the deal for me to sign-up for an account on Vimeo. Flash-video on Macs is notoriously CPU-intensive, I vowed never to support sites that rely completely on Flash-based video. The only thing that has made things tolerable for me is Click-to-Flash . Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Ted Avery

Best part: finally being able to jump ahead without waiting for it to load.

Thank you thank you thank you.

Patina Photography

playback is really choppy for me.. is that download speed issue?

Patina Photography

not with the flash version... though often have to wait for it to buffer(?) a lot of the video first

Patina Photography

i see, waiting for a video to load a bit before playing is kinda the norm in new zealand, does this mean HTML video isn't really feasible for us?

Bruce K

This HTML5 player is so awesome that I just created my own Vimeo account. The quality is superb, and it just worked on my Mac. Amazingly, it didn't make my processor usage jump to 90%, it stayed around 25%. This is awesome.

Josh Chernoff

why does the comments not show up unless you post


Caching probably, try adding ?blah to the end of the address.


Such good news! I've tried it on Chrome and it works great.
I work as a Flash Developer and really enjoy it, but if I ever have to make another video player it'll be too soon, so thank you.

Corax Incarna Plus

Ah, I'm assuming that's why there's no Firefox support... FF doesn't support h.264 video.

Hope Mozilla's working on that. :(

EDIT: oh wait? FF 3.6 is out, that might have changed things.

EDIT2: nope, looks like just Oggs and WAVs still...

Dwight Knoll

Works for me. Love the move away from flash.

Nigel Ellis

I tried with it in Chrome on my macbook pro and every time the video cit to a new shot it left an image of the previous shot on the screen and showed about 10% of the new shot. If I clicked on it it cleated to the new shot.

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