The State of the Union address this evening underscored the limitations of watching live video from the front pages of major U.S. publications on Apple's iOS devices and why Flash is the default video streaming technology.
In my case, I was trying to watch President Obama's speech on my iPad and found that almost every major U.S. national newspaper could not provide a live feed from their front door, generating messages like "this content is only available in Flash" or "This feature is optimized for Adobe Flash Player version 9 or higher."
Yes, this is a known issue for Flash-less iOS devices. And, of course, there are plenty of ways to watch a live feed of an event like the State of the Union on an iPad or iPhone. But the fact that the intuitive act of going to a publication's front page and watching a live stream--like you would do on a laptop, for instance--was impossible in some cases on the iPad, did not exactly inspire confidence in the state of the iOS video platform.
I cross-checked this on my MacBook. I was able to watch the address pretty much instantly on all of those same sites--and on virtually any site where the live feed was made available.
So, is HTML5, as promoted by Apple, the next default technology for watching live video streams? Not yet. And now that we're on the subject there are some pretty important Web sites--for me, at least--where I cannot access video streams on my iOS device, including this major birding site.
Motorola's Flash-capable Xoom tablet is due next month. That tablet's ability to handle live Flash video streams will be test case No. 1 for me.