Earlier playback of videos was possible through the use of plugins like Adobe Flash or Silverlight. This was due to no native support for video playback through browsers, thus requiring third-party video and audio plugins. This issue was addressed by a consortium of major browser vendors like Apple, Google, Mozilla, and Microsoft to recommend an update to HTML markup. HTML5 was then introduced with the support of < video > and < audio > HTML elements, HTML video controls, and even a HTML5 Video API to enhance their use for complex integrations. This introduction made HTML5 video player a reality and a native addition to most browsers.
Table of Contents:
- What is an HTML5 Video Player?
- Benefits of HTML5 Video Player
- HTML5 Player advantage over Flash
- Top 20 HTML5 Video Players
- Basic HTML5 Video Player Sample Code
- Basic HTML5 Video Player Controls
- Must have Features in HTML5 Video Player
- Free Video Player vs Custom Video Player
- Protect your Video Content with VdoCipher’s Secure Video Player
What is an HTML5 Video Player?
An HTML5 video player is a software component used to play videos on web pages. It is built using HTML5, the latest version of the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which is the standard language for creating web pages and applications. On 22 January 2008, HTML5 markup language was first introduced to the public. It was the fifth and final major HTML version update as per World Wide Web Consortium(W3C) recommendation. This markup is used to structure and define rules for displaying content on the Internet as web pages. In this major update support for video elements was introduced to support HTML5 video streaming through HTML video controls and elements, easy readability and backward compatibility.
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Benefits of HTML5 Video Player
- Native Browser Support: It is supported natively by all modern web browsers, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. This means users do not need to install additional software to view videos.
- Use of the <video> Tag: HTML5 introduces the <video> tag, which simplifies the process of embedding video content into web pages. This tag supports various attributes and API support to control the behavior and appearance of the video player.
- Format Compatibility: The HTML5 video player supports multiple video formats, though the most commonly used are MP4 (using H.264 video codec and AAC audio codec), WebM, and Ogg. The support for these formats varies across different browsers. Check the below table for more information.
- Mobile Compatibility: HTML5 video players are compatible with mobile devices and tablets, providing a seamless video experience across different devices and screen sizes.
- API and Interactivity: HTML5 provides a rich set of APIs for controlling video playback programmatically, enabling developers to build interactive and dynamic video experiences.
- Streaming Capabilities: While HTML5 video players support progressive download by default, they can also be used for streaming video content using additional technologies like Media Source Extensions (MSE) and Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).
- Subtitles and Closed Captions: The player supports subtitles and closed captions, making it accessible to a wider range of audiences, including those with hearing impairments.
- Cross-platform Compatibility: Ensures a consistent viewing experience across various devices and browsers. Such cross-platform compatibility allows low-end browsers and devices to perform optimally for enhanced user experience.
- Reduced Dependence on Third-party Plugins: Decreases load times and increases security.
- Enhanced User Experience: Provides smoother playback and more interactive features without a need of third party installation.
- SEO Benefits: As part of a website’s content, videos can contribute to search engine optimization by providing relevant content to the visiting user.
HTML5 Player advantage over Flash
Flash-based players have become obsolete now and HTML5 video players have become the new industry standard. An HTML5 video offers several advantages over Flash Player, such as:
|Native support in browser
|Adaptive Bitrate Streaming
|Plugin load time
|N/A (0 m/s)
|GPU accelerated decode
|Full Screen Viewing
|Ad Protocol Support
|VPAID 1 and 2
|H.264 (most browsers) VP8/VP9 (Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera, Android)
|Widevine, Playready, Fairplay PrimeTime (depends upon browser)
|PrimeTime (formerly Access)
|mp4, WebM, m2ts (depends on browser)
|Adaptive Bitrate Support
Top 20 HTML5 Video Players
This player is the best having all the advanced features an html5 video player must have. It provides DRM encryption for secure video streaming. It uses Dash as an open-source base to build the DRM-encrypted playback in an online video player.
The player supports functionalities like Multiple quality options, Adaptive playback, Responsive design, Multi-lingual subtitles, Forward/Rewind options, and various player themes in different colors. You can create your custom video player now using Vdocipher player, change the complete appearance, and edit controls as per your need.
Plyr is a simple, lightweight, and customizable player. It offers support for HTML Vimeo and YouTube players. It is popular in both experts and beginners circles for its lightweight configuration that enables smooth processing for large video files. Plyr intuitively makes things easier with useful elements that help seamless project completion.
Features of Plyr include accessibility (offers full support for VTT captions and screen readers), a lightweight player that does not occupy a lot of space on the server, several customization options, responsiveness to fit any screen size, support for streaming and audio formats.
Other standout features can be introduced in VideoJS with the help of plugins. You can track Google Analytics ever right from the player, add your branding in the player controls, and introduce Chromecast support.
A self-hosted, open-source player, Projekktor manages compatibility and cross-browser issues effectively. Projekktor effectively manages all compatibility issues and cross-browser issues while offering a set of powerful features.
The key features of this HTML5 video player are automatic detection of the best way to play your favorite video, its impressive and attractive aesthetics and user-friendly behavior, consistent performance and high reliability.
This free, open-source media library is extensible and supports cross-platform video and audio integration.jPlayer allows quick weaving of cross-platform video and audio into your website pages through a jQuery plugin. Its holistic API supports innovative media solutions as the active and engaging open-source community around jPlayer extends support.
You can seamlessly install a package for PHP to download all components and install the required files into the specific path for installation.
This is a jQuery plugin that enables you to use the video tag with a single H.264 file. If your online video player does not support HTML5, MediaElementJS will replace the online media player with a Flash or Silverlight-based one. Everyone can contribute to improving this product as it’s free and open-source. This player offers a consistent HTML5 API for both Flash and HTML5, making it versatile. It supports audio and video files and can also play YouTube videos.
Known for its ease of use, Flowplayer supports MP4 and FLV formats and offers automated checking of video encoding for logged-in administrators. You can apply branding at the end and the start of the videos. Moreover, users can enjoy unlimited instances on a single page.
A few other features include Google Analytics, Subtitles, Slow motion, Native fullscreen, Keyboard shortcuts, Random seeking, Retina ready, Cuepoints, and so on, without the use of expensive plugins.
8. Kaltura Player
Known for its extensive features, Kaltura Player is suitable for educational and enterprise-level use. It offers analytics, accessibility features, and a wide range of plugins.
Features include multi-platform support, robust performance, and advertising and analytics capabilities (it supports several ad formats such as VAST 3.0 and integrated plugins for video ad networks, such as Tremor Video, AdapTV, Eye Wonder, Ad Tech, DoubleClick DFP, and so on).
Elite Video Player is a fully customizable online video player for WordPress that offers advertising support. The responsive HTML5 video player offers playback for platforms such as Vimeo, YouTube, Google Drive, and self-hosting videos (only mp4).
A few standout features of Elite Video Player include YouTube 360 VR and live streaming support, Google Drive and Open load videos, advertising with pre-roll, mid-roll, post-roll ads, video ads, popup ads, and so on.
A lightweight, easy-to-use HTML5 video player, Afterglow initializes automatically after the page loads and supports responsive design, ensuring compatibility with different device sizes. A few standout features of Afterglow are its cross-browser compatibility (works on all major browsers and devices and supports IE down to IE9), drop-in replacement, full responsiveness (fits into your design perfectly), and resolution switching capabilities (offers an easy way to serve your videos in HD and SD).
11. Ultimate Video Player
Ultimate Video Player is another responsive audio and video player that supports Vimeo and YouTube videos. It needs an mp4 or mp3 format. The online video player can work on mobile devices as well as desktop regardless of the browser used.
12. JW Player
JW Player accommodated support for HTML5 video playback. The online media player is fully customizable with a wide range of features that enhance the accessibility of content and responsiveness of HTML5 videos.
JW Player offers a complete suite of HTML5 video controls. It is also compatible as an alternative to YouTube’s online video player. JW Player also supports a wide range of user-defined themes. Its plugins are consistent with the more popular CMS system, making it easier and quicker to integrate.
13. Sublime Video
This player is designed to provide a smooth video playback experience with support for high-resolution videos and responsive layout.
A flexible HTML5 media player that offers support for HLS, DASH, and other media formats. It is customizable with plugins and has a user-friendly interface.
15. Elmedia Player
Elmedia online video player can play all kinds of videos. This Mac OS online media player can allow users to showcase videos from popular sites such as Dailymotion, Vimeo, Facebook, and more. Also, you can allow users to download these videos fro your website. Elmedia can play video online in formats such as M4V, MKV, MP3, DAT, MOV, HTML5, and more.
Standout features of Elmedia HTML5 video player include an online video showcasing capabilities, support for hardware acceleration, capturing screenshots from the videos, SWF support, video downloading options, and capabilities to extract audio files from the video.
16. Dailymotion Player
This player is known for its robustness and is used widely for embedding Dailymotion videos. It supports various customization options and video analytics.
17. Chameleon HTML5 Video Player
Chameleon HTML5 player comes with a backup for Flash. Internet Explorer does not support the full-screen experience we are so used to. Features include two skins to choose from, a custom right-click menu with an option to add a copyright link, social sharing options, responsiveness, retina display for MacBook Pro, and more.
This is an innovative video player focused on video recording and playback with robust API features for customization and integration.
19. Video for Everybody
This is one of the earliest solutions for embedding HTML5 and Flash videos and is also simplistic in its feature set and usability. It comprises a fundamental set of markups that use HTML5 and its capability to move to the next supported object if the current one fails. This means it uses the <video> element to enclose each HTML5 video container source.
This player is known for its universal compatibility across browsers and devices, offering a consistent viewing experience with adaptive streaming.
Basic HTML5 Video Player Sample Code
This player will include basic controls like play, pause, and volume control, which are provided natively by the browser.
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <title>Basic HTML5 Video Player</title> </head> <body> <video width="640" height="360" controls> <source src="path_to_your_video.mp4" type="video/mp4"> <source src="path_to_your_video.ogg" type="video/ogg"> Your browser does not support the video tag. </video> </body> </html>
Basic HTML5 Video Player Controls
Basic controls get initiated by using the controls attributes within the video tag as we used in the previous example. It is a boolean attribute and specifies the display of video controls like play,pause,seek, etc as symbols over the video player. It displays the following controls as per their availability.
- Fullscreen toggle
- Alternate Audio Track (when available)
- Captions/Subtitles (when available)
With Vdocipher’s custom video player, you can easily modify your video player according to your needs. You can fully customize the video player using the GUI editor to change the appearance and controls of the player.
Must have Features in HTML5 Video Player
- Play/Pause Control: This is typically done by accessing the play() and pause() methods of the video element.
- Volume and Mute Control: Adjusting the volume or muting by modifying the volume property of the video element or using the muted property.
- Seeking and Time Control: A good player should allow seeking to a specific point in the video or retrieving the current playback position.
- Playback Speed Adjustment: Users should be able to control the speed of video playback (e.g., faster or slower).
- Fullscreen Toggle: The ability to switch between fullscreen and normal mode.
- Loading and Buffering Control: player should be able to handle video loading, buffering events, and error handling, providing feedback to the user or taking specific actions when necessary.
- Subtitles and Captions Management: Allows users to enable, disable, or switch between different text tracks (subtitles or captions) available in the video element.
- Adaptive Streaming and Quality Control: The player must be capable enough to switch between different video qualities based on network conditions saving the bandwidth and improving user experience.
- Integration with External Services and Analytics: a video player must be capable enough to send user based video analytics to the client for data based improvements.
- Chapters: To split your video in different sections, making it easier for users to jump to a specific part
- Auto Resume: With auto resume, your videos resume playing from where you left off the playback last time.
- Offline Download: To download videos on mobile devices to watch offline securely on the app video player.
- Light-weight: super light so that it loads very fast, improving your SEO.
- Picture In Picture mode: To watch your videos in a floating window while you access other applications.
- Keyboard shortcuts: So that users can use keyboard shortcuts with smart video player to pause, play and forward video.
- Gestures: Use gestures like tap, double tap, and swipe on the mobile app video player.
- DRM Protection: to protect your video so that no plugin or hack can download your video.
- Dynamic Watermarking: to discourage any screen capture of your videos.
Free Video Player vs Custom Video Player
|Free Video Player
|Custom HTML5 Video Player
|Adaptive Streaming and Quality Control
|Typically not available.
|Optimized for various streaming protocols and efficient quality switching.
|Integration with External Services and Analytics
|Limited or no support for external integrations and analytics.
|Robust integration capabilities with analytics, ad services, etc.
|Typically not available.
|Support for video chapters for easier navigation.
|Rarely available in free versions.
|Commonly available, enhancing user experience.
|Typically not available.
|Available, allowing users to download videos for offline viewing.
|Generally light-weight but may vary.
|Optimized performance, maintaining a balance between features and speed.
|Picture In Picture mode
|Typically not available.
|Usually supported, offering a floating window experience.
|Basic keyboard controls for play/pause, etc.
|Extensive keyboard shortcuts for various player functions.
|Typically not available.
|Advanced gesture controls for a more intuitive mobile experience.
|Advanced DRM protection to secure video content.
|Available to prevent unauthorized use or distribution of video content.
|Branding of the free player or its provider.
|Custom branding options, allowing for a white-labeled or branded player.
|Basic play/pause functionality using play() and pause() methods.
|Same as free, often with enhanced UI/UX.
|Volume and Mute Control
|Basic volume control and mute functionality.
|Enhanced controls, possibly with integrated audio enhancements.
|Seeking and Time Control
|Basic seeking functionality using currentTime property.
|Advanced seeking options, including frame-by-frame navigation.
|Playback Speed Adjustment
|Simple speed control options.
|More refined speed adjustment options and presets.
|Basic fullscreen toggle.
|Enhanced fullscreen experience with additional UI elements.
|Loading and Buffering Control
|Standard loading and buffering indicators.
|Advanced buffering strategies and smoother playback.
|Subtitles and Captions Management
|Basic support for subtitles and captions.
|Advanced management, multiple subtitle options, possibly with customization.
Protect your Video Content with VdoCipher Secure Video Player
If you have gone through the must have features list and compared that with what you get in a free or open source video player, we believe you won’t be willing to spare any. With VdoCipher’s Hollywood Grade DRM Protected Video Streaming you can protect your videos from hackers and downloaders.
As a video player, we have got a smart video player for all platforms with SDKs for React Native, Android, iOS, Flutter, JS and plugins for moodle and WordPress. It is a fully customizable video player which can be altered by using GUI editor. You can change the appearance of the video player and control every button without a single line of code. In addition, you can search within captions in the custom video player to quickly go to a point in time of video. Use the full VTT spec to style the text to your needs. Also, do not forget that with dynamic watermarking you can put a text overlay on the app video player to display user information such as ip, email address, user id etc on the video.
Can you play mp4 using an HTML5 video player?
MP4 file format or MPEG-4 playback is supported by all browsers and is also used in video cameras and other video media Hardware. The HTML5 media player also supports WebM and Ogg formats.
Is it possible to stream audio via an HTML5 player?
Do HTML5 video players support advanced encryption like DRM?
Yes, these players support dynamic key exchange mechanisms and encryption like DRM for the best video protection. But the player needs customization to handle the encryption and playback.
Supercharge Your Business with Videos
At VdoCipher we maintain the strongest content protection for videos. We also work extremely hard to deliver the best viewer experience. We'd love to hear from you, and help boost your video streaming business.
My expertise focuses on DRM encryption, CDN technologies, and streamlining marketing campaigns to drive engagement and growth. At VdoCipher, I’ve significantly enhanced digital experiences and contributed to in-depth technical discussions in the eLearning, Media, and Security sectors, showcasing a commitment to innovation and excellence in the digital landscape.