At Streaming Media West a few weeks back, I had the pleasure of meeting Jeroen Wijering, one of my "heroes" in the online video space. I know, I know - hero? Seriously Mark? Yes! Jeroen is the creator of the most popular open source video player around, the JW Player. If it weren't for the JW Player, I dont know if we would be as far along as we are with online video. He is also the Co-Founder and "Visionary" at LongtailVideo and Bitsontherun. I was able to talk to him in advance about the launch of JW Player 5, which launched just the other day.
I wish that I could have spoken Dutch when I visited Amsterdam as well as Jeroen was able to pull off English.
About the JW Player
For those of you that are unfamiliar with JW Player, it is THE most popular open-source embeddable media player and it has been downloaded by millions of users going back to 2005. In fact, the JWPlayer was the first player that those little guys at YouTube used, purchased from Jeroen for $20 Euros (owie). It is also the player that I use here at ReelSEO to play our video content.
The JW player supports playback of any format the Adobe Flash Player can handle which includes FLVs, H.264, MP4s, MP3s, AAC, JPGs, PNGs and GIFs formats. It also supports streaming and playlist formats including RMTP, HTTP, and live streaming.
So, What is new with JW Player 5?
There are a number of architectural changes that broaden the ability to develop on and contribute to the platform.
Simpler, XML-based Skinning Model
One of the most exciting features of JW5 is that skins can now be created with just about any image editor. You no longer need Flash CS4 to build swf skins. If you can create an XML file and images (e.g., PNGs), then you can create a JW Player 5 skin. If I ever get the time, I might do a custom player for ReelSEO. Anyone want to do that for me?
Additionally, the default skin has a slightly larger profile (about 10px in height) and has the full-screen icon to the right, instead of the volume adjustment.
They have also launched a skin competition where you can win up to $500 for the "coolest skin." You can.
Improved Plugin Architecture
JW Player 5 now allows for a broader set of plugin use cases such as securing content, player locking, advertising, and more.
Support for Media Providers
They have made it much easier to add support for any content source and you can dynamically load a SWF in order to add that functionality to the player, in a similar way to the way the plugins work.
And of course, a few other technical thingys that are way over my head :-), like:
- MXMLC Compilation - JW Player 5 compiles out of the box with MXMLC
- Streamlined Event Model - A more consistent event model which makes creating modifications to the player more simple.
Alright, so that was a mushy post, I know... Ill try and be a bit meaner next time.