Do you need to have a specialized video hosting server to host video files if you want to use HTML5 player? For example I know you needed to havea flash server in order to host videos to be used using a flash video player is the same true with HTML5?
Flash is a plug-in which the user needs to download. HTML5 is built into the browser, no need for anything else.
i understand the difference in terms of the playback but what I am asking about is if there needs to be a server that processes the video from say a mp4 format to a format that the player can use. for example, for flash you would need red5. do you need something similar for html5?
You don't need that for flash, either.
What you need for flash is to have the video in a format that Flash can play. For instance MP4/h.264/AAC.
What you need for <video> is to have the video in a format that the browser can play. Different browsers support different formats. In practice this means you need two versions of your video: MP4/h.264/AAC (baseline and low complexity profiles, respectively, if you want it to play on smartphones) and WebM.
If your server supports HTTP Range requests then it's possible to seek in the video without having to download the whole thing first, so it's good if your server supports that. You will also need to have the correct MIME types for the videos for them to play in some browsers (video/mp4 and video/webm). But other than that, a standard HTTP server works fine.
Zcorpan: what about streaming? I know of Apple's HLS protocol and I guess still only works on Appley products, but does he need to add something to his code to use that for whatever Appley devices come across his video?
Streaming should work over normal HTTP as well, but I don't know what makes most sense as a server setup. HLS doesn't just do streaming but also does adaptive switching between multiple bandwidth video files. I don't know what the server requirements are for HLS.
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