Top 13 HTML5 Video Players for the Web Reviewed [2021]

With video streaming taking over the world of communication, content creators and streaming service providers need to ensure a very high user experience for their end-users to grow and maintain their fan base. Doing this needs a reliable HTML5 video player to embed and use in their websites.

In this article, we take a look at the top HTML5 Video Players available today – both open-source and commercial.

HTML5 video players are commonly used to playback video on browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari, and platforms supporting HTML5 video playback such as Samsung and LG TVs. They can be configured to play single-bitrate streams (plain mp4 files), HLS, MPEG-DASH, HDS, etc. In addition, Companies can configure HTML5 video players with DRM (Widevine, PlayReady, or FairPlay), Ad-insertion using CSAI or SSAI technologies, Subtitles, Analytics, and more.

Coming up is a list of popular HTML5 video players presented in no particular order or ranking. For more details, you are requested to contact the respective player companies, or if you need help in doing so, please get in touch via the Contact Form.

Without further ado, let’s go!

VideoJS

videojs

VideoJS is the most popular free, open-source HTML5 video player out there that was built from the ground up starting in 2010 and has been the base for several open-source and commercial video players in the market.

VideoJS supports HLS, DASH, WebM, progressive MP4 playback with separate styling for Live and VOD streaming. When it comes to styling, VideoJS is highly customizable, with a lot of skins available in the open-source community. Most of the important features, such as Multi-DRM, Ad Insertion, Subtitles, etc., can be configured with the help of plugins. For a complete set of features and capabilities, please see here.

VideoJS has been adopted by several high-traffic organizations such as LinkedIn, The Guardian, tumblr, etc. and this proves that it is not only stable, but, also heavily tested and improved on a regular basis.

Shaka Player

Shaka Player

Shaka Player is a very popular free, open-source HTML5 video player that supports ABR streaming protocols such as HLS and DASH without using plugins or Flash. Shaka plays back videos natively with the help of open web standards such as MSE and EME. The Shaka Player supports VOD, live, multi-period content, multi-DRM, Subtitles, and more. Check out all their features here.

Being an open-source player, it provides you the option to explore the source code and make any changes and extensions that you want to. On the flip side, you will have to depend on the open source community for help if you get stuck.

Clappr

clappr

Clappr is an open-source, extensible free, open-source HTML5 video player for video playback in HTML5, and the media giant, Globo.com, backs its development. It is an open-source player that can be easily integrated into your projects and extended as per your needs. Clappr follows a plugin-based architecture that allows you to write plugins for the various features you need without diving and messing around with the core code.

Clappr uses by default the HTMLVideoElement for video playback. In addition, it has support for DASH, HLS, progressive, ad insertion, dynamic overlays, picture-in-picture, and more.

Being an open-source, community-supported player, you can use a whole host of third-party plugins or write your own and submit it back to Clappr.

dash.js

dash.js reference player

The dash.js player is one of the best MPEG-DASH players whose stated objective is as follows “dash.js is an initiative of the DASH Industry Forum to establish a production quality framework for building video and audio players that play back MPEG-DASH content using client-side JavaScript libraries leveraging the Media Source Extensions API set as defined by the W3C. “. It is codec agnostic, supports in-band events, multiple periods, and cross-browser DRM, and is free to use commercially. You can see companies using dash.js as a stand-alone player or in VideoJS via a plugin such as videojs-contrib-dash.

Being an open-source player, you are free to explore the source code and modify the dash.js player to suit your needs and requirements. However, having been developed by some of the leading architects in the MPEG-DASH community, you are sure to get the latest and greatest from the MPEG-DASH specification here.

To test the player, you can access the nightly build here.

hls.js

hls online player

hls.js is another popular video player that is used to play HLS (m3u8) streams. It is free, open-source, and maintained by a community of developers. Its website states, “HLS.js is a JavaScript library that implements an HTTP Live Streaming client. It relies on HTML5 video and MediaSource Extensions for playback.” You can often see people using hls.js as a stand-alone player or as with VideoJS via a plugin. such as videojs-hlsjs.

hls.js has a rich feature set including support for Live, VOD streaming, fMP4 (CMAF), DRM (AES-128 and SAMPLE-AES), Subtitles, Closed Captioning, and more. You can check out all the features here.

To access a hosted demo of the player, please go here.

JW Player

JW Player video player for HTML5

JW Player is a popular end-to-end video solution stack for video streaming companies. You can upload your videos, and it will compress, package, and deliver them to their players while providing monitoring as well. Their player works across websites, mobile apps, or connected TV platforms and is a good choice for a solid video player.

In terms of features, the JW Player supports HLS and DASH streaming with support for 360 Video & VR, Ad Insertion (CSAI and SSAI), Multi-DRM, Subtitles, and their own Audience Engagement and Analytics service. Their Audience Engagement product automatically inserts relevant video from your content library into any post the moment it is published – an exciting solution for large-scale media companies. JW Player also provides mobile SDKs (Android and iOS), making it a popular choice for multi-platform streaming service providers.

Check out all the features of JW Player here.

Bitmovin

Bitmovin HTML5 Video Player

Bitmovin is a top-rated video streaming technology provider and develops video players, analytics, and cloud encoding services. Their technology is trusted by DAZN, BBC, Discovery, Telecine, RTL, iflix, etc. And so, if you do choose to use a Bitmovin player, you are in good company!

BuyDRM

The Bitmovin HTML5 player supports most modern streaming protocols such as HLS, DASH, Smooth Streaming. It also supports multiple video codecs, Subtitling, Closed-Captions, DRM, Ad Insertion via both Server-Side Ad Insertion and Client-Side Ad Insertion. You can learn more about the features at this link.

Related:  Free MPEG-DASH MPD (manifest) Examples for Testing

An advantage of using Bitmovin is that the video player is set up for their own Analytics service, and the integration is seamless. In addition, Bitmovin provides players with a large eco-system comprising Android, iOS, tvOS, Roku, Chromecast, Amazone Fire TV, Samsung & LG Smart TVs, and other platforms, making it a good choice for a multi-platform streaming service.

THEOplayer

THEOplayer HTML5 video player

THEOplayer is another popular video player software company that’s won several awards for its video playback technology. They have excellent video players (HLS, DASH, MSS, etc.) for the web (HTML), Android, iOS, and other streaming platforms. In addition, they have several marquee customers such as CNN, RAI, VRT, Telia, BT Sport, etc., and this is always a good sign for a brand!

THEOplayer‘s HTML5 video player supports HLS, DASH, Smooth Streaming, and the Low Latency variants of HLS and DASH. Customers can use the player across Web, Mobile Web Mobile, Set-top Boxes, Casting Devices, and Smart TVs. They also have a custom ABR algorithm for downloading video segments, with excellent support for Multi-DRM, Ad Insertion (CSAI & SSAI), Subtitles, and Analytics via providers such as NPAW, Conviva, MediaMelon, Mux Data, Agama, etc.

Similar to other video providers, THEOplayer presents an excellent choice due to its eco-system, support, and multi-platform availability.

NexPlayer

NExplayer for HTML5 video player

NexPlayer is a provider of video playback technology and has over 15 years of experience in video streaming and playback of HLS and MPEG-DASH across all devices. Unlike other video player vendors who usually base their video players on an open-source player and heavily modify it, NexPlayer prides itself on building its player from scratch and writing 100% of its code.

They provide complete support for HLS, DASH, Smooth Streaming, DRM, Ad insertion (CSAI and SSAI), Subtitles. While they don’t have their own analytics service, they are fully compatible with leading analytics providers such as Conviva, NPAW, and Agama. Check out all their features here.

castLabs

castlabs

castLabs is a video solutions company that provides video playback software, DRM, and content processing toolkits. Companies can use the PRESTOplay video player toolkit to create video players for embedding on websites. Streaming service providers can also deploy their players onto smart TVs such as Samsung, LG, and gaming platforms like Xbox One. The player is built on the popular Shaka Player and is heavily modified for commercial use.

castLabs’ PRESTOplay supports HLS, DASH, MSS, Progressive video, AirPlay, Chromecast, Multi-DRM, Subtitling, Ad Insertion (CSAI & SSAI). For a full list of their features, check out their product page.

While castLabs does not have its own analytics platform, they support integrations with popular analytics providers such as Conviva, Mux Data, NPAW, Agama, etc.

Similar to other video player providers, castLabs provides players for Android and iOS making them a good choice for multi-platform playback.

FlowPLayer

Flowplayer HTML5 Video Player

Flowplayer is a very lightweight, extensible video player that is part of Flowplayer’s full-stack solution for video streaming providers. They provide everything from encoding, hosting, playback, and monitoring for your video service. In addition, their system is configured to be very easy to modify and style (as seen in the screenshot), which makes it easy to use for non-tech founders and creators.

Flowplayer supports HLS, DASH, and mp4 playback. Based on the HTML5 native player, the Flowplayer app has support for Chromecast, AirPlay, Android, iOS, Ad Insertion, DRM, and Analytics. You can check out all their features here.

Being a full-stack solution, Flowplayer providers their own analytics solution that is well-integrated with their players, making Flowplayer an attractive option for streaming providers.

Radiant Media Player

Radiant Media Player HTML5 Video Player

Radiant Media Player describes itself as a “modern go-everywhere HTML5 video player Web, mobile & OTT apps in a snap,” which is very true owing to its extensive set of features and capabilities. It is a cross-device HTML5 video & audio player capable of displaying HLS, DASH, or progressive download content.

In terms of features as described in their documentation, Radiant Media Player supports HLS, DASH, and progressive downloads. They also support DRM (Widevine, Fairplay, PlayReady), ClosedCaptions, Subtitles, and Advertising via SSAI and CSAI.

One advantage of Radiant Media Player is that teams can use their player in Cordova and Ionic to create apps for mobile environments using a single codebase. While they don’t have their built-in analytics but support integrations with Google Analytics, MediaMelon, Mux Data, Matomo.

VisualON

VisualON HTML5 Video Player

VisualOn is a major player SDK provider with a proprietary multimedia player stack that enables cross-platform content delivery and playback on any connected device.

Their player supports the most important streaming protocols such as HLS, Smooth Streaming, MPEG-DASH, Progressive download, RTSP, and MS-HTTP. In addition, their player also supports multiple video and audio codecs, Multi-DRM, Ad Insertion via both Server-Side Ad Insertion and Client-Side Ad Insertion, Subtitles, AirPlay, Chromecast, Low-Latency Streaming, and more. You can read more about their feature set here.

A couple of advantages with VisualON are that they also provide their own streaming monitoring service (or Analytics) tightly integrated with their player. The second advantage is that they are a multi-platform player vendor and support Android, iOS, tvOS as well.

Conclusion

I hope this list of popular HTML5 video players was useful to you. But, of course, every player has its pros and cons regarding features, pricing, support, usability, eco-system, etc., and it’s up to you to do the due diligence and choose the right one for your needs & budget.

If you are a supplier of HTML5 video players and want to get onto this list, use the Contact Form and we’ll get in touch with you.

Until next time, stay safe, and happy streaming.

krishna rao vijayanagar
Krishna Rao Vijayanagar

I’m Dr. Krishna Rao Vijayanagar, and I have worked on Video Compression (AVC, HEVC, MultiView Plus Depth), ABR streaming, and Video Analytics (QoE, Content & Audience, and Ad) for several years.

I hope to use my experience and love for video streaming to bring you information and insights into the OTT universe.

2 Comments

    • True – we should include that in this list as well, though, from my interactions with people in the industry, I’ve seen more companies gravitate towards Shaka & VideoJS when considering an open-source player. I’ll add it, though, and possibly even hls.js for completeness. Thanks, Stefan. Cheers!

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