LongTailVideo is set to fully release an updated version of the popular JW Player which includes some all new features as well as some updated features. The major features include auto-detect Flash and HTML5 in one, a Javascript API and new HTML5 playback features.Now with a single JW Player you can give your users the same experience whether they're on a Flash-capable device or not. Version 5.3 also includes a new Javacript API. That will allow you to create a consistent experience in both versions of the player.

"We continue to believe that both HTML5 and Flash will play important roles in the future of online video," said Dave Otten, co-founder and CEO of LongTail Video, "That's why, with JW Player 5.3, we created a video experience where Flash and HTML5 video work together as part of a single player. Now, users can simply embed the JW Player 5.3 onto their sites and receive the benefits of both standards.”

Key features of the JW Player 5.3 include:

Auto-Detect Browser/Device Support for Flash and HTML5. Enables users to embed videos using the same code for both Flash and HTML5.  The player will auto-detect support for the chosen playback mode and fallback to the other when necessary.

  • Simplifies set-up:  users can choose to embed their videos with Flash or HTML5 using the same code and embedding mechanism
  • Greater flexibility: users can configure fallback to Flash when HTML5 isn't present and vice versa
  • Seamless functionality across players:  skinning support across both Flash and HTML5, leverage the same JS API (see below)

JavaScript API. Supported in both Flash and HTML5 modes, allows any JavaScript code that integrates the player to run consistently across any device or browser.

  • Unified API: supported in both Flash and HTML5 modes.
  • Write once, works on all browsers / devices: if users write JS code which integrates the player on its site, then it will run the same way across all browsers and devices
  • Expands plugins market to include JS-based plugins:  most importantly, this paves the way for JavaScript developers to create JS-based plugins for the JW Player. Previously, only AS3 developers could contribute plugins to the library and it grew very slowly. The SDK is set for a November release
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Updated Features for HTML5 Playback.

  • Full-screen mode
  • Playlist support
  • Skinning model in parity w/ JW Player for Flash:  Users can now use any of the 100+ skins in LT's AddOns library to customize their Flash and HTML5 player.

"One of the most important features of this release allows Flash and HTML5 playback modes to share a common JavaScript API," said Jeroen Wijering, the creator of the JW Player.  "This means a far broader set of developers can build customizations and interactions that work for both Flash and HTML5 and across browsers and devices.”

JW Player 5.3 Embedded Demo

Here's a demo of the new embed, it's just one line of Javascript code and pulls a video from the ReelSEO YouTube channel.

<script type="text/javascript" src="http://w.longtailvideo.com/0/2/73/8f1a9f1e-d5d7-11df-a698-f457d72e6262.js"></script>

The Post-Roll

It's a pretty big step forward. I use JW Player at Gamers Daily News and think it so awesome I gladly leave their logo on the player. Mark asked why I didn't remove it and I told him 'so that people know we use JW Player.' I did do a fairly basic implementation with only LongTail's Ad Solution and TubeMogul's InPlay statistics and we have been running mostly just FLV video. Now that it's all integrated into one player and one embed, I might start thinking about expanding the GDN video offering to HTML5 devices as it doesn't sound like as much work as it would have been to hand code two versions, fallback, etc.

A single commercial site JW Player license will run you about $89 (59 Euro). On top of that if you want to run VAST-compliant video ads you'll need to purchase an OVA license for an additional 199 Euro about $275. I only get Euro pricing when I go to the OVA site so I did the conversion manually. I apologize for any discrepancies in the pricing.

For a large scale commercial endeavor, it's not all that much of an investment for what you get. For small businesses, like GDN, that don't generate a lot of video views or ad revenue, the OVA pricing is outside our reach so we get stuck with low-paying banner ads displayed in an overlay on the videos.

  • JeffBach

    There are still plenty of issues springing up on the JW forum. It still looks like they rushed this to market and are using their customers to flesh out their testing. Which is one way to test I guess. Still like what they provide. Have not found it anywhere else. It just seems very fragile at the moment.

  • JeffBach

    Cool beans. It remains difficult to find or develop a browser detection script that covers IE and Firefox, an iphone and an ipad.

    In the ReelSEO demo do you encode three files? MP4, WebM, and then an flv? OR do you have a JW player setup to play MP4 and WebM and if that fails then the Flash plug-in springs to life and tries to play the MP4?

    Did you explicitly test on iphone and ipad?

    This is a big releif to find something that can do this.

  • Christophor Rick

    Oh right, almost forgot to report back on what Longtail said:

    Actually, the best way to do this would be to use multiple sources. (MP4 + OGG)

    Here is a demo of this - http://developer.longtailvideo.com/player/trunk/html5/test/examples/mp4_ogg.html

    Our demo at - http://www.longtailvideo.com/players/ actually uses MP4 + WebM, and fails back to Flash.

    So there you go, right from the source for you Jeff!

  • Jack

    I'm viewing in the Flash version, so not sure: does the HTML5 one play full screen??

  • JeffBach

    It looks to me like LongTail rushed their 5.3 code to market a bit too soon. I'm not reading a whole lot of love in their forums at the moment. To LT's credit though, they do seem to be on it and are replying to at least some of the early adopters queries about why the basics of the 5.3 player are not working.

    This new player would seem to solve beaucoup problems in this space. Once it is up and solid, which would seem to be fairly quick, I'll buy. Nothing else in the market seems to be solving this problem of Flash noFlash

  • Jeff Bach

    Have looked though the docs and support articles and can't discover if I need to have both an flv file and an Ogg Theora file as well? Seems like I need to encode x2 if I want to provide non-Flash content for iOS and Flash content for everyone else right?

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      You might want to consider going mp4 and webM but my guess is that you
      would need at least an mp4 h.264

      • Christophor Rick

        I'm sure it's still going to be device specific as the player isn't going to re-encode the video file. So I would stick to the most popular codecs for now as Mark said. Plus, he's the 'boss' so I can't show him up in the comments ;)

        • Christophor Rick

          I went to the source and asked Longtail, while I'm sure we're correct in our assumptions, it never hurts to double check.

    • http://www.reelseo.com/ Mark Robertson

      So, just read up on it for you a bit and yes - you will definitely need MP4, and for the future, I would recommend that you start doing some webM as well. Ogg Theora is something that, in my opinion, will not be as widely used or supported as webM. Hope that helps