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Thursday, March 25, 2010, 05:00 am PT (08:00 am ET)

CBS tests HTML 5 video for compatibility with Apple iPad

CBS.com is currently testing HTML5 video playback for streaming episodes of its TV shows, signaling that the major U.S. broadcast network aims to be iPad compatible before Apple's new multimedia device launches.

As discovered by MacRumors, accessing "iPad - test" video links accidentally posted by CBS through the iPad simulator, or when spoofing a browser's "user agent" setting, loads a new page that appears to be set up for HTML5 streaming video. The same links take users to the Adobe Flash page when accessed with a traditional browser.

"This new version of the video does not yet work but appears to be based on HTML5," the report said. "The css files reference HTML5 and have a number of 'webkit' specific calls. Webkit is the browser engine used in the iPad's mobile safari. While the videos don't currently play, the 'fullscreen mode' reportedly already works in the iPad simulator."

That CBS would be eager to find compatibility with the iPad should come as no surprise — the network was on board with Apple's proposal for a TV subscription deal while other networks were wary. The network has also suggested it will lower prices of some TV shows on iTunes to 99 cents, down from the current standard of $1.99.

In February, it was rumored that Hulu, an online streaming video destination for multiple networks, plans to make its videos available without Flash for the iPad platform. Reports then alleged that the Web site could be prepared by the time the iPad launches April 3, though it was said the service would likely be subscription only.

CBS

CBS iPad test page, screenshot credit MacRumors.


In January, Google added support for HTML5 in YouTube, the Web's most popular streaming video destination. Allegedly labeled a "CPU hog" by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Adobe Flash has been a target of Apple, which has not allowed the Web standard on its iPhone OS, including the forthcoming iPad.

For more on Apple and Flash, and why the Web format will likely never be available on the iPhone OS, read AppleInsider's three-part Flash Wars series.