by Roel Meurders on 2012-11-19 10:20
We recently released brand new versions of our Bits on the Run Android app and Bits on the Run iPhone app to bring you mobile analytics, Facebook and Twitter sharing, and some important system updates. The apps are labeled version 2.0 because we rewrote a lot of our code and included several great new features.
We began our design process by looking at how people use their mobile phones, comparing that to the way our regular dashboard works. Most people use their phones for staying on top of things and for fast sharing of new experiences. For most non-urgent, work-related tasks, however, people turn back to their desktop or laptop computers.
We took this idea and analyzed each of the features in our regular Bits on the Run dashboard to see if it made sense to include in a mobile application. Currently the regular dashboard has 7 sections: Home, Videos, Players, Playlists, Analytics, Settings and Billing.
We decided that 3 of these sections include functionality useful on a mobile phone: Home, Videos and Analytics. The others are less suitable for a phone since they deal with customizing our system to your preferences - not your everyday task.
Let’s take a detailed look at the sections we did choose to include in the new apps.
The dashboard home section is the point of entry into our system. It keeps you up to date about your streaming and storage usage and about important updates to our system. This is information you won’t want to miss when you are on the go, so in our new apps we gave you the ability to view your balance and receive system alerts, just like from your regular dashboard Home.
Some of our serious Bits on the Run users are constantly monitoring their video views. With our new mobile apps, you can easily track your total views as well as monitor your top videos. You can pick a timeframe and check how your videos are doing while you are on the road. The graph can be inspected in more detail if you rotate the screen to landscape mode
The third and last element we built into the new apps pertains to your videos. The new apps keep most of the functionality of the original versions, but add some new stuff as well. For example, you can still list and edit all the videos in your account and watch and stream via airplay (iPhone app only).
The sharing options in the new apps have been expanded significantly. Besides copy-pasting the embed code or preview link to another site, you can now share directly from inside the app to all the sharing options your phone offers. On iOS these are Twitter and Facebook and on Android it’s everything in your sharing screen (including Facebook and Twitter).
The best way to get to know our apps is to start using them. You can find them by searching for Bits on the Run in Google Play or the App Store, or by clicking these links:
There is a lot of great stuff in the new apps, but we’re already looking to the future. Right now we’re investigating push notifications for low usage balance or important system updates. We are also planning to include more elaborate analytics, because they allow you to stay on top of things, and are really fun to watch. Last, a solution to replicating the Airplay functionality on Android is high on our wish-list.
Any ideas, comments or suggestions? We would love to hear from you about what you’d like to see in the next update of our apps!
by Jeroen Wijering on 2012-11-15 12:28
Today, we are proud to announce the public release of JW Player 6! JW6 is JW Player’s biggest update yet, containing tons of new or enhanced functionality. This blog post highlights the most important ones, including a redesigned interface, move to HTML5 first and support for Apple's HTTP Live Streaming in Flash.
The most noticeable update in JW6 is, without a doubt, a completely redesigned interface. JW6 features a much more modern looking skin than its predecessor. This is a big change, given that the JW Player default skin has looked essentially the same since its first iteration in 2005. In JW6, the player controls are now black instead of grey, and slightly larger to make them easier to use. And of course, it is still easy to customize JW6 with your own skin design.
In addition to changing how the default skin looks, we worked on making the player's user interface more consistent, defining which components show - and when. For example, JW6 more elegantly manages advanced scenarios, such as when the controlbar, dock buttons, closed captions, overlay ads and logo are displayed.
Each interface component received its own update as well. For example, the button in the middle of the player can now display a video title (or error message) and the various sliders (time, volume, playlist) now contain rounded edges and progress animations. The video controlbar itself has not changed much, but when hovering over the buttons a new tooltip appears. This tooltip displays the time for the timeslider, the volume for the mute button and a Quality or Captions menu for the (built-in!) HD and CC buttons.
It is not just on the surface that things have changed. Under the hood, we rewrote large chunks of code to make JW6 faster and more stable. HTML5 mode especially shows significant improvements, since we were able to leverage many of the recent advancements in HTML5 browsers, including the HTML5 Fullscreen API and CSS3 transitions for subtle interface animations.
With JW6 we also updated & streamlined our supported media formats. JW6 officially plays three video formats (MP4/FLV/WebM), three audio formats (AAC/MP3/Vorbis), two streaming formats (HLS/RTMP) and YouTube videos (using their Chromeless API). We did extensive tests and included clear documentation on which formats work in which desktop browsers and mobile devices. Other media formats (like Ogg video or Shoutcast) may also play in JW6 in certain circumstances (we don't block anything), but we strongly advise publishers to stick with the above.
The coolest new feature on the media side is Apple HTTP Live Streaming in Flash mode. JW6 supports this in the Premium and Ads editions (see below) out of the box. Using HLS and JW6, publishers can now do live and adaptive streaming on desktop browsers and iOS with a single format and a single embed! JW6 supports on-demand and live streams, single and variant playlists, H.264 video and AAC audio and a range of servers and segmenters, including Apple's segmenter tools and Wowza Media Server.
Other notable enhancements around media support are the addition of WebVTT for closed captioning and StageVideo for (much) smoother video playback in Flash mode. On the RTMP side, we added support for canonical rtmp:// URLs (dropping the file/streamer combo) and SMIL manifests (dropping the use of RSS manifests). Last, we added a quality API and HD selection menu, so viewers can manually select which video quality they prefer. This works for all non-audio formats, including HLS, RTMP and YouTube.
Our last major update does not relate to JW Player itself, but to the various skins and plugins we provide in addition to the core player functionality. Instead of continuing to offer these a la carte, we decided to roll the most popular into various player editions of JW6. We believe this change will make it easier for our users to find and implement the best AddOns. The key features are now integrated into JW6, described in the documentation and included in the download. Below is a list, with descriptions, of our JW6 Player Editions:
by Dave Otten, CEO on 2012-11-05 09:53
Dear LongTail Video Community,
I am excited to share some very exciting news – LongTail Video has just completed its first venture financing round! In total, we raised $5 million and have partnered with two fantastic investors, Greycroft Partners and Cue Ball Capital. Needless to say, this is a big milestone for our company and we cannot thank all of you enough for your support.
If you are interested in learning more about the financing, you can find the official press release here.
So now that our financing is complete, the obvious question is ‘how are we going to invest the money to grow LongTail’? Here are a couple of things you can expect to see from us:
- Building better products, faster. Since our founding, our mission has been to provide affordable, easy-to-use services so that developers, designers, marketers and business owners can navigate the complicated world of online video. In order for us to continue our execution of this mission, it is critical that we accelerate our product development efforts to meet the fast-changing online video landscape. Given this, you can expect us to make significant investments in growing our engineering, product and support teams as we strive to better serve the needs of our customers. In fact, our next major release is just weeks away so please stay tuned for the upcoming announcement.
- Expanding awareness of our products. Today, nearly 2 million sites actively use the JW Player and our other video services. Amazingly, we have spent virtually no money on sales and marketing and have instead relied primarily on word-of-mouth to help drive new customer adoption. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have so many supportive customers. However, we also believe that now is the right time to begin investing in the commercial side of the business. The world of online video is still very new to many and we see a big opportunity for us to meet new users who do not already know us. Thus, we will be making investments to build sales, marketing and business development capabilities so that we can grow awareness of both our company and our products. I am sure that we will be reaching out to many of you to explore how we might be able to work more closely together on this front.
We are incredibly optimistic about the next stage of growth at LongTail Video. There are tremendous opportunities in front of us and we are excited to work with all of you as we continue to build what we believe are the best products available in online video.
Thank you again for all of your support. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Dave Otten and the LongTail Video Team