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Best HTML5 Video Streaming Options 2021

By Sabika Tasneem
An employee streaming a video on the web using an HTML5 video player.

Streaming videos on a website or web application seems to have become more manageable these days since the prevalence of HTML5 Video Streaming. In this blog, we will be going over three methods of adopting HTML5 video streaming:

  • Default HTML5 video player
  • Standalone HTML5 video player solution
  • End-to-end video platform with an HTML5 video player

The default HTML5 video player only allows you to have basic controls like play/pause or the capability of defining the dimensions of your video. However, that is hardly enough. You can go one step ahead by opting for a customizable HTML5 video player solution that can provide you with additional video player options like branding, closed captions, and adaptive bitrate streaming. However, even with these standalone HTML5 video players, the downfall is that you need to override the default video player’s script and would need to patch up all the various video-related workflows to build the video solution you require.

This is why most organizations avoid opting for a standalone HTML5 video player and opt for a YouTube-like end-to-end video platform instead. It not only provides you with an interactive video player but also handles all other video-related workflows like storing, hosting, streaming, searching, securing, sharing, and much more.

However, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Let us first understand how Flash ceased to exist and what propelled HTML5 video streaming into the limelight.

 

Table of Content

How Flash Ceased to Exist?

HTML5 Video Streaming

HTTP-Based Adaptive Protocols

HTML5 Video Player Solutions vs. End-to-End Video Streaming Platform

Top 6 HTML5 Video Players

 

How Flash Ceased to Exist?

If we go a few years back, it was not a foreign concept to use Adobe’s Flash video plugin for video playback on the web. Flash video player was developed in 1996 by Macromedia, which Adobe bought in 2005. In the past, it simply was the only method to support video streaming on a browser. Flash player nowadays is considered outdated and is not even supported on Google Chrome anymore.

One reason for Adobe Flash player becoming outdated was that it was actually just a plugin that was not natively supported on different browsers. It was also found to be posing a major security risk, and Adobe was not updating it fast enough to remove these security breaches. The trouble started when smartphones came into play.

Apple did not support Flash on iPhone, and Steve Job’s letter was the nail in the coffin of Flash. It questioned the “open” nature of Flash. Adobe owned Flash, and it controlled any future updates and pricing changes so it could not be termed as open-source. Steve Jobs also questioned the security of Flash. Apple hence adopted and promoted open standards like HTML5. This was the start of the downfall of Flash. In 2012, Android also completely stopped supporting Flash, and various browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome followed suit. HTML5 video player, however, was supported by all browsers and devices.

 

HTML5 Video Streaming

HTML5 was an open standard that Apple highly supported. It was a new version of HTML that allowed you to natively play audio and video files on the web without requiring any plugin. This was made possible through the Media Source Extension (MSE) that removed the need for a plugin. HTML5 video streaming is possible through two methods.

The first method allows you to directly link a video to HTML by adding a <video> tag and including a .mp4 video source to make your video playable on the web. You can opt for an HTML5 video player of your choice in which you can preload the JavaScript of the player and customize controls over the default video tag element. It is also possible for you to define your required dimensions (width and height).

Here is a sample code that can allow you to insert your video into an HTML5 webpage:

<html>

       <head>

            <title>HTML5 Video Streaming</title>

       </head>

       <body>

                <video width="240" height="320" controls="controls" src="http://my-            stream/5624/hls/live/playlist.m3u8"></video>

       </body>

</html>

The second method for HTML5 video streaming is to place a <iframe> tag to embed and load your video from an external video platform like YouTube. As opposed to the <video> tag option, in the <iframe> method, you can just have your videos be uploaded on a video platform with features like closed captions, annotations, etc., and these can travel with your video wherever it is embedded.

iframe embed code 

 

HTTP-Based Adaptive Protocols

HTML5 video streaming utilizes HTTP-based Adaptive Protocols as they remove the need for progressive downloads provided by HTTP. They support adaptive bitrate streaming that enables you to deliver an optimized and scalable viewing experience. HTTP-based Adaptive Protocols remove the need for dedicated streaming servers RTMP had required, which was an additional cost of streaming. HLS (supported by iOS and Android devices) and MPEG-DASH (supported by Android devices) are the most common protocols used nowadays. Here are some main HTTP-based Adaptive Protocols:

  • Apple HLS (HTTP Live Streaming)
  • Low-Latency HLS
  • MPEG-DASH (Moving Picture Expert Group Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP)
  • Low-Latency CMAF for DASH (Common Media Application Format for DASH)
  • Microsoft Smooth Streaming
  • Adobe HDS (HTTP Dynamic Streaming)

To understand in-depth the benefits and requirements of each of these video streaming protocols, read this blog.

 

 

HTML5 Video Player Solutions vs. End-to-End Video Platform

There is rarely anyone these days that uses the default HTML5 video player. This is because video streaming demands much more. For instance, the default HTML5 video makes it very difficult for you to add closed captions. It even does not allow you to incorporate adaptive bitrate streaming. Hence, organizations usually look for a standalone video player solution or simply opt for a hassle-free, user-friendly video platform that handles all video content management aspects for them.

Let us now discuss in-depth what does having a standalone HTML5 video player solution entails compared to the benefits of having an entire video platform for end-to-end video use cases.

Standalone HTML5 Video Player Solutions

Different open-source or paid HTML5 video player solutions offer you various player customizations to mold it to your liking. These customizations can override the script of the default HTML5 video player. This will allow you to have functionalities like closed captions, branding, playback speed, etc.

Based on the level of customizations you require, you can choose from a range of basic to comprehensive solutions. However, there are different video-related workflows that you need to patch up to build a solution that can fulfill your specific use case.

The whole process of customizing these video players is highly complex and time-consuming for someone looking to just upload a video and have it stream-ready. Hence, for the businesses wanting to avoid this complicated process, it is better to opt for a YouTube-like complete video platform that can do it all for you, be it streaming, transcoding, embedding onto your website, analyzing, sharing and much more. That is not all. The main thing that a standalone video player fails to do is it doesn’t allow you to restrict your video for authorized viewing only. An enterprise-grade video platform will enable you to upload your video for private viewing and control who can access it.

End-To-End Video Platform

YouTube is the most basic example of a video platform that has a video player for you to stream your videos smoothly. You can embed YouTube videos onto a webpage or web application by simply copying the <iframe> embed code and adding it onto your website. YouTube provides you a bunch of video capabilities like playback speed controls, adaptive bitrate streaming assisted by automatic transcoding, etc.

Although it is the most well-known platform, YouTube is, at the end of the day, only a basic video platform that does not cater to enterprise-grade use cases, especially those targeted towards internal audiences. YouTube also takes away your content ownership and can pose a security risk for your business-related content.

For enterprise-grade requirements, YouTube just doesn’t cut it. You need to opt for an end-to-end enterprise video platform, like VIDIZMO, that fulfills all your large-scale video streaming and management needs. Here are some important capabilities that VIDIZMO provides you:

  • Stream live and on-demand videos using a lightweight and responsive HTML5 interactive video player that is playback-ready for all types of devices
  • The interactive video player also supports frame-by-frame analysis, closed captions, annotations, etc.
  • Embed video onto your webpage through a simple <iframe> tag with the option for SSO-enabled embedding to ensure authenticated viewing
    One-Click-Embed video
  • Create multiple player templates with different controls for various use cases as well as brand the video player using Custom CSS
  • Optimized content delivery for a smoother viewing experience is possible with the help of adaptive bitrate streaming, global CDN support, HLS streaming, etc.
  • Create multiple secure YouTube-like video portals for various internal and external video use cases in which you can restrict viewing of videos to only authorized users
  • Assign user roles with pre-defined permissions to restrict actions and create user groups to limit content access within your organization
    Users-&-Groups
  • Centralized video repository where you have platform-wide search capabilities and AI-powered in-video search capabilities through spoken words, on-screen text and face/object recognition
  • Security features like SSO integration, custom security policy, end-to-end encryption, DRM support, custom retention period, etc.
  • Flexible deployment options include on-premise, in the cloud, hybrid or opt for the VIDIZMO’s ready-to-deploy SaaS application
  • Integrate and embed video in your LMS and CMS application
  • Create an interactive viewing experience by adding in-video quizzes, surveys, handouts and forms that can travel with your video wherever it is embedded

 

We Offer Much More!  Learn About All Features

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Top 6 HTML5 Video Players

Before going over all the various HTML5 Video Player options, it is essential to note that most of these are just standalone HTML5 video player solutions. Opting for these would require you to separately find a video solution that allows you to host your videos, transcode them, package them, stream them securely, globally deliver them and manage other aspects linked to your videos. Hence, opt for one of these standalone video players only if you have a solution figured out for the rest of these missing capabilities. Otherwise, a complete enterprise video platform like VIDIZMO is the way to go to avoid all the hassle.

If you are on the lookout for a standalone HTML5 video player, here is a comparison of some of the top HTML5 video players to help you choose the best one for you:

Video.js

Video.js is an entirely free open-source HTML5 video player that uses JavaScript and CSS. It was developed in 2010 and is a highly well-known video player used by multiple top organizations like Amazon and LinkedIn. The video player supports MP4 and WebM files as well as allows for live streaming. It also supports adaptive bitrate streaming for protocols like HLS and MPEG-DASH. Various plugins are also available to implement additional capabilities like brand logo insertion, analytics, playlist creation, Chromecast, etc. It is also possible for you to integrate your Video.js player with Vimeo and YouTube.

Jplayer

Developed in 2009, Jplayer is also a free and open-source HTML5 video player that uses JavaScript. It boasts itself for having an engaging community that provides support. Plus, it provides comprehensive documentation that allows for greater support when you are developing the player. There is cross-platform, multi-codec and cross-browser support for both audio and video streams through a jQuery plugin. The media library of Jplayer is very extensive, and the video player is highly customizable both in terms of what controls you want to add and how you want the player to look.

Flowplayer

This the only paid HTML5 video player on this list. Flowplayer was initially developed in 2004 as an open-source project. However, it grew into a full-stack video streaming solution with a paid video platform that provides video hosting, encoding, analytics and on-demand playback. Flowplayer promotes itself to be lightweight for faster loading to allow for a better user experience with optimized playback. It supports HLS, MPEG-DASH, mp4 and has a variety of plugins, for instance, support for DRM, AirPlay, analytics, etc. It also provides CDN support for content delivery.

As a video platform, it is built for external and basic video use cases. It is definitely not made for private internal video streaming as it lacks in terms of security and access management capabilities. There is also no flexibility in terms of the deployment method.

JWPlayer

This is another standalone HTML5 video player that transformed into a video platform later on. This video player is highly customizable with support for adaptive bitrate streaming, closed captions, etc. The player is also customizable in terms of the look you want. It also has a video platform that provides video transcoding, packaging, and CDN support for content delivery.

The video platform for JWPlayer is also a very basic platform that serves external use cases with no capabilities for secure sharing, private streaming, access management, etc.

Hls.js

Hls.js has been built on a JavaScript library and is maintained by a community of developers as a free and open-source solution. It is a standalone HTML5 video player that supports HLS (m3u8) streams as well as fragments MP4. The player depends on HTML5 video and utilizes the Media Source Extensions (MSE) to assist in video playback. Hls.js supports live streaming, on-demand streaming, closed captions, DRM, and much more. The player supports adaptive bitrate streaming and also has built-in analytics.

PrestoPlayer

Our final recommendation is a much simpler HTML5 video player solution without the drawback of you losing your video ownership, like in the case of YouTube. The unique thing about this video player is that it calls itself a WordPress video player available as a plugin on WordPress to stream an HTML5 video. This player also provides YouTube and Vimeo support. You can also add closed captions (VTT format) on the video player and brand it to your liking.

 

Conclusion

Whew, that was a lot of information! The key takeaway is simply that HTML5 has opened up a lot more avenues for video streaming online and improved the viewing experience through enabling capabilities like adaptive bitrate streaming. You can either opt for a standalone video player if you want to take on the challenge of developing the video delivery and management process from the ground up. Or you can simply opt for a user-friendly enterprise-grade video platform, VIDIZMO, that handles all the video streaming and management challenges for you while using the much-desired HTML5 interactive video player and ensuring a secure and compliant environment.

Opt for a free trial today to explore VIDIZMO’s enterprise video platform!

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Tags: EVCM, enterprise video streaming

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