Video Limitation #2: Video Playback is STILL Not Universal

Message warning that a video cannot be played

Even 2013, it is not uncommon to see messages such as this, informing users that a video cannot be played on their equipment. Are your video clips playable on the wide range of equipment available today?

When first I encounter a new video, I usually find myself questioning whether it will pay back on my equipment. I use a variety of hardware to surf the web, including desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones. Many of these are the latest generation products and you would assume that they should be fully capable of playing back any video content I come across. You assume wrong.

I often get error messages informing me that the video I requested “cannot be played on this device.” I would understand it if this involved my elderly desktop units, but I see these messages all too often with my latest iOS and Android devices.

Sometimes the content producer has relied on Flash to encode their video. Flash will not run on iOS, and Flash support on Android is waning. Even on the latest desktop and laptop devices, Flash is difficult to keep up-to-date. Flash is essentially a dead technology, but it refuses to die quietly.

There are a host of other incompatible encodings and standards. High-definition video is wonderful if you have the equipment to play it back properly. but all too often it hangs and stutters, particularly over wi-fi.

It is role the video producer to make sure that their clips will play back on a variety of devices, but all too often I find I have to jump through hoops if I want to watch a particular video. Usually, I will pass if I find I have to install a new piece of software or waste time adjusting settings. In contrast, I can consume nearly any text or image based content on any of my devices.

Are your videos optimized to play properly on the wide range of equipment available today? Will finicky wi-fi connections cause your video to stutter and stumble?

Is there a backup plan for viewers who cannot access your video content?

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