Archives For video

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.

YouTube, one of the most significant players in terms of playing video online, recently weighed in with their thoughts on playing video via Flash vs. HTML5. For those that think all Flash is evil or that HTML5 will replace Flash entirely, this brings an interesting perspective. Which is not to say, of course, that there’s not a sound place for video through HTML5, but as it stands, there are many situations in which Flash will still be the best platform for video.

I’ve highlighted two forthcoming (commercial) HTML5 video players recently and someone brought the OSM Player to my attention. Unlike the others, this is an open source project that media for HTML5, YouTube, Vimeo, and Flash (the Flash video player is the fallback). Like pretty much everything good these days (!), it’s written in jQuery, which means that this player can also be skinned using the jQuery ThemeRoller. The creators behind the Open Standard Media Player have already created a Drupal module for it and are working on WordPress and Moodle versions, too.

LongTail Video, creator of a very popular Flash video player (which I’ve used on a couple of sites), has released a beta version of their new JW Player for HTML5. This player is written in JavaScript, using jQuery, and will fall back upon the JW Player for Flash if the JavaScript version can’t run in the user’s browser. For information on using and customizing the player, see that Web page. The first official release of the player is expected this summer.

Just as interesting, I think, are the thoughts that the creator of the JW Player has on HTML5 video. Initially, you’ll learn about some of the issues regarding video codecs and streaming limitations. But if you read through the comments, you’ll learn a lot more about what’s going into the discussion on just this one (quite important) aspect of HTML5.

I recently came across the SublimeVideo HTML5 video player. It’s hard to say what will actually happen with HTML5, but there are certainly some intriguing things coming out. SublimeVideo is a video player written entirely in JavaScript, that will play videos without any browser plug-ins at all! It allows the user to jump to anywhere in the video, play in fullscreen mode, and works on iPhones and iPads. SublimeVideo works on Safari 4.0.4 and greater, Firefox 3.6 and greater, Google Chrome 4.0 and greater, and versions of IE that have installed the Chrome Frame.