What is an HTML5 Video Player?
HTML5 player allows you to play videos directly in a web browser without any additional plugins.
Back in the day, you needed to install a flash player to stream videos. But, HTML5 comes to offer an easier way to integrate native video players within a browser. You can still embed Youtube videos onto your web pages, but now you have a more handy way to show amazing videos.
To show a video in HTML5, you just need to use the video element. You can set the height and width to determine the video size, and the control attributes to add video controls such as play and pause. What is more, the video can be set to play automatically.
Most modern browsers support HTML5, so enjoying online videos both on desktop and mobile devices is much more comfortable.
Here is our list of the best HTML5 video players
7 Best HTML5 Video Players
There are many HTML5 players you can choose from. While premium and proprietary ones might offer unique features, free and open source players are the best for many reasons:
- Legal freedom
Video.js is an incredible free and open source HTML5 video player.
To get started you need to install video.js either via CDN (Content Delivery Network) or npm. Then, if you already have video.js loaded on your page, you can create a player with an <video-js> embed.
You can personalize the video player using skins and plugins. The player skin is built in HTML and CSS. You can do simple customization like centering the play button, or you can change the whole layout as you like.
The plugin lets you add more features like looping a section of a video, analytics, and skip to the next chapter.
Video.js offers many configuration options such as autoplay, video controls, width, aspect ratio, inactivity timeout, playback rate, and more.
This HMTL5 player offers excellent features to bring a better experience for online videos.
Flowplayer offers a better native HTML5 video player, deciding to drop Flash and use the native video API for everything. It has an improved design too, with a big play button on the center. What is more, it is now preroll optimized to improve ad loading time.
This HTML5 player is compatible with most browsers both on desktops and mobile devices.
You can try Flowplayer free for 14 days. If you like it, you can continue with their paid plans: the standard ($25/month), the professional ($100/month), and the enterprise plan (starts from $500/month).
jPlayer is a lightweight HTML5 player which is completely free and open source.
This player allows you to integrate videos into your web pages. It supports both HTML5 and flash videos.
Despite being lightweight, this player is fully customizable. You can change the skin using HTML and CSS.
jPlayer is also great because of:
- Supports older browsers using a Flash fall-back/forward.
- Offers a simple installation using Bower or Composer
This HTML5 player is free and open source that has over 13,000 downloads.
Plyr is mobile responsive and supports browsers on most platforms. It offers excellent features like fullscreen, picture-in-picture, and preview thumbnails.
The advantages of using this player are:
- Easy to customize
- Monetization option
- Standardized events
5. JW Player
Having videos without buffering delays is essential to improve your overall user experience. Slow loading videos are annoying and can decrease your traffic.
JW Player is a powerful HTML5 player with outstanding features. It offers adaptive streaming that can deliver high-quality videos both live or on-demand. It has an excellent customizable player skin optimized for mobile devices.
The features of JW players are:
- Password protected sharing
- Video gallery
- DRM playback
- Ads scheduling
If you want to use JW Player on your website, get their starter plan that costs $10/month (billed annually)
While other HTML5 players use fallback mode to play Flash, MediaElement.js uses the same video player for all in any browser.
If you want to add more functionality, you can add plugins like google analytics, jump forward, skip back, and more.
Mediaelement.js is free and open source. Everyone can contribute to improving the players’ functionality.
Afterglow is a fully responsive HTML5 player you can use for free.
This player is easy to integrate and configure. Afterglow offers many features like drop-in replacement, resolution switching, and more.
Another great thing about Afterglow is a nice wizard to help you with direct integration. You need to let them know where you host your videos, and they will provide you with steps containing scripts.
But, if you want to do it manually yourself, you can read their helpful documentation.
Built as a business-oriented tool, Cloudinary video player is packed with abundant capabilities.
Cloudinary is a service that offers a feature-rich image and video platform. It has one free plan, and three premium plans: Plus, Advanced, Custom.
Plus plan costs $99/month. You’ll get all the core features plus premium ones such as backup to your S3 bucket, an auto-tagging add-on, a video transcription add-on, and more.
Meanwhile, Advanced plan costs you $249/month, but you will get to enjoy such features like custom domain support, HTTPS SSL certificate, multi-user administration, and many more.
If you want more sophisticated features like AI-powered search, upload acceleration, workflow integration, you can get its custom plan.
As of writing, you’ll get a 10% discount for a yearly plan.
Cloudinary video player’s features are:
- Mobile responsive
- Player data
- Multiple formats support
- Adaptive bitrate streaming
- Video manipulation
Cloudinary video player is easy to install and setup. You can choose standard or light package either for minified or non-minified formats.
It’s time to move from Flash players to HTML5 video as it is faster and safer.
Besides, there are many HTML5 video players out there you can choose to show awesome videos on your web pages easily.