Twitch Begins Transition To HTML5 As Adobe Flash Exodus Continues

Adobe Flash is going down! Flash has been a boil on the butt of the Internet for years, but we’ve just put up with it despite the often horrid performance and numerous security lapses. However, some recent high-priority hacks using Flash as a conduit have only increased the number of people calling for the demise of the most hated piece of software on the Internet.

Twitch, the online game streaming giant, is the latest to announce that it will move away from using Flash (Google’s competing YouTube Gaming service debuted with HTML5 support). Twitch’s efforts to distance itself were aired earlier this month via reddit.

“The underlying HTML5 video playback works great and we've been testing it internally for a few months,” said Twitch programmer “kixelated” in the reddit post. “The problem is that we do EVERYTHING in Flash right now, so we have to port every feature one-by-one into HTML/JS before we can release the player.”

Redesigned Twitch video player

Converting the whole site to use HTML5 is a huge undertaking; just look at how long it too Google to make HTML5 the default player on YouTube. As a result, Twitch will break its HTML5 transition up into two phases. The first phase, which is available right now for some users, involves redesigning the video player UI/controls to use HTML5 and JavaScript instead of Flash.

“You’ll begin to see the new player on channel pages first. As previously mentioned, this is a gradual roll out,” wrote Georgia Price on the official Twitch blog. “If you are not part of our initial pool of users, please be patient as we release the redesigned player at a steady pace.”

The second step, which is much more arduous, involves transitioning the actual video player to HTML5/JS. Twitch hopes to release an alpha of the video player ASAP, not just for the security benefits, but for the performance gains that can be reaped. As kixelated explains, even in unoptimized alpha form, the HTML5 view player “still uses a third of the CPU and a fraction of the memory compared to our current Flash player.”

Sounds like a win-win to us!