WebVTT support in browsers

In recent months, several of the big browsers have either released <track> element support with WebVTT or are providing experimental builds with support.

IE 10

Microsoft provided <track> element support in the Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview 4 to developers on 30th November 2011. IE 10 supports basic versions of both the WebVTT and the TTML format.

The browser preview can be downloaded. A test page has been provided. Documentation is available.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome 18 added <track> element support behind a flag in about November 2011. You can activate it by going to chrome://flags and “Enable element”. Google Chrome only supports WebVTT.

There is extensive documentation at HTML5Rocks.

Safari

Apple released <track> element support in Safari 6 in July 2012. Safari also only supports WebVTT. Like Google Chrome, it builds on the implementation in WebKit, which is trying to be fairly feature-complete for WebVTT.

Opera

In August 2012 Opera released an Opera Next version with WebVTT and <track> support. There is also a Opera Developer blog post on <track> to explain this feature further.

What about Firefox?

Firefox has some work in progress supporting WebVTT, but there aren’t any official builds with support available yet.

In any case: there is still lots to do. Several of the browser implementations don’t support the full feature set yet. Where they do, they may not be interoperable since the spec may have been interpreted slightly differently, or may have changed since the implementation.

We’re starting to create a test suite with example WebVTT files that test different features. The simple “show text at certain time interval” support is certainly interoperable, but some of the more advanced layout features may not be.

It’s certainly time to start experimenting with the feature, even if you may still need a JavaScript polyfill or a specific video player that supports track through other means:

5 Responses to WebVTT support in browsers

  1. Pingback: Bruce Lawson’s personal site  : Reading list

  2. Alex says:

    I’m currently also working on a track polyfill for webshims/JME2.

    You can find a small example using the texttrack api.

  3. Pingback: HTML 5 Video and Support in Mobile Browsers | Synote Mobile

  4. Adam Goyette says:

    I just wanted to inform you that longtail video has re-branded as JW Player. Their new website is located at http://www.jwplayer.com, you may want to update your link.

    Thanks!

  5. Pingback: HTML5 video captioning using VTT | The Publishing Project - Theory and Practice of Digital Publishing

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