The second player we'll be reviewing in our series is the versatile, open source, JW Player. JW Player has been around a long time and now has support for HTML5 video playback, is fully customizable and boasts large number of features from analytics to accessibility.
- Usability: Out of the box, JW Player is definitely not the best looking HTML5 player on the market. It comes with basic controls, as well as a volume slider and fullscreen toggle and is easily themeable with over 100 prebuilt themes available from the LongTail video community.
- Size: JW player is relatively small, weighing in at just over 500kb, and has a fairly simple installation procedure. You can read the entire procedure at their quickstart guide.
- Features: JW Player really excels in this category offering a huge amount of features through its various add-ons, ranging from advertising tie-ins to closed captioning and social networking tools. The player is highly customizable and fully themeable and has an integrated API. It also has plugins for the most popular CMSes, making integration a breeze. JW Player is also natively supported in MediaCore.
- Price: JW Player is open source and available for free for non-commercial uses. Users that wish to use the it for commercial purpose must purchase a license for it - starting with the onetime fee of $89 per site. LongTail offers additional add-ons for the player, such as themes and plugins for purchase as well. Learn more about the pricing, including multi-use discounts, on their purchase page.
- Compatibility: JW player worked perfectly on every device and browser we tested it on. Most of the add-ons worked as well, but it should be noted that some plugins aren't in the HTML5 version of the player. JW Player is also compatible with various content delivery networks such as Amazon CloudFront and Akamai as well as with support for an assortment of protocols including RTMP and Flash Media Servers (FMS). It is fully compatible (HTML5 & Flash) with the following file types:H.264, MP4, VP8, WebM, Ogg Theora.
JW Player is a versatile and customizable player that provides a great solution for those who know what they want in a HTML5 Player and are willing to get their hands dirty. Though not as sleek or user friendly as some competitors, JW player offers a vast array of features and a competitive pricing model, making it a great choice for all your online video needs.
This is the second player we've reviewed in our series: Battle of the HTML5 Players.