HTML5 and Flash Video with JW Player

June 11, 2011

A couple of years ago, I started using the JW Player to provide Flash video on a couple of Web sites I was working on. I forget why, exactly, that I choose the JW Player, except that I believe it worked well with TinyMCE or CKEditor or whatever other WYSIWYG JavaScript editor I was using for content management. (Although, if I recall correctly, I had to edit the JavaScript of the WYSIWYG plug-in to get it to do what I wanted.) In any case, I was, and continue to be, pleased with what JW Player offered, and at a reasonable price (the player itself is open source, but skinning and more professional features require a license, starting at $89 US for a single site).

The people at LongTail Video, who put out the JW Player, have done an excellent job in the past couple of years of navigating the Flash video vs. HTML5 situation (check out HTML5 Video: Not Quite There Yet). The reason for this post today, though, is that latest version of the JW Player can be set to prefer HTML5, and fallback to Flash when necessary, or prefer Flash and fallback to HTML5. This means that you can reliably serve videos on your site using JW Player, knowing those videos will play reliably in Web browsers and in mobile devices (e.g., iOS devices that don’t support Flash). Getting our Web sites to work reliably for all (or almost all) users is the hardest part of being a Web developer; JW Player’s work in this regard is most welcome.

The JW Player has all sorts of other features, including skinning (already mentioned), support for plug-ins, and the ability to work with different delivery mechanisms (CDNs, Flash Media Server, etc.). If need to provide video on your next Web project, I’d highly recommend you consider JW Player.