LongTail Video is now JW Player - New Name, Same Passion For Video


JW Player Support Documentation

Browser & Device Support

JW Player 6 is designed to support its full-featured set on all popular browsers and devices. This page clearly enumerates which browsers and devices are supported, including any existing limitations and differences between desktop and mobile.

Under the hood, JW Player is essentially two players (one in HTML5 and one in Flash) with a small wrapper that selects which to use - on the backend. The selection process is described below.

Desktop Browsers

This table lists which desktop browsers are fully supported by JW Player 6, using HTML5 and/or Flash:

Chrome 1yesyes
Firefox 1yesyes
Internet Explorer 8-yes
Internet Explorer 9yesyes
Opera 1yesyes
Safari 1yesyes
  1. New versions are frequently released. We always test the most widely used one.

All JW Player 6 features are supported on these browsers, with the exception of media playback. In a nutshell, not all browsers support WebM video and Vorbis audio. See Supported Media Formats for details.

One additional limitation is HTML5 Fullscreen support. Internet Explorer 9 does not (yet) support true fullscreen in HTML5. Instead, the FullScreen button in JW Player will enable full-browser-screen playback of the video.

Mobile Devices

This table lists which mobile devices are officially supported by JW Player, using HTML5:

iOS 1 (iPhone & iPad)yes-
Android 2.3 (Honeycomb)yes-
Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)yes-
Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean)yes-
  1. iOS devices are easily upgraded. We test on the most widely used iOS version.

For many devices not on this list (e.g. Android 2.2 or BlackBerry 7), JW Player 6 will still provide users with an option to play the embedded audio or video file. Instead of a full-fledged player, a nicely formatted link to the file is then displayed. See Download Fallback for more info.

There's a few differences in the JW Player's approach to mobile devices compared to desktop browsers:

  • JW Player 6 does not support Flash on mobile. Although Android devices may have Flash installed, the user experience is suboptimal. Therefore, we focus 100% on HTML5.
  • JW Player supports Airplay on iOS by default.
  • On iPhone and iPod, video is only played in fullscreen mode. On tablets and Android phones, video can be played either windowed or in fullscreen.
  • Changing the mute state and volume is not possible.
  • Auto-starting a video on page load is not possible.
  • Playing multiple videos at the same time is not possible.

As with desktop browsers, playback support for the various media formats varies. In a nutshell, MP4 video and AAC/MP3 audio are safe formats for mobile. See Supported Media Formats for more details.

Mode Selection

JW Player 6 has two so-called rendering modes; two underlying browser technologies it can use to play a media format:

  • The HTML5 <video> element. Available on most browsers and most devices.
  • The Adobe Flash plugin. Available on practically all browsers, but not on devices.

All features of JW Player (playlists, skinning, scripting, etc.) are available in both rendering modes. Whether JW Player renders itself in Flash or HTML5 is therefore totally dependent upon the media format(s) that is/are embedded. See Supported Media Formats for details. Here's a quick overview:

  • MP4, AAC, MP3 and HLS can be played in both HTML5 and Flash.
  • WebM and Vorbis can only be played in HTML5 in certain browsers.
  • FLV, RTMP and YouTube can only be played in Flash.

At large, the market is moving away from Flash towards HTML5. Therefore, JW Player 6 prefers to use HTML5 over Flash if a piece of content can be played in both modes on a certain browser. This behavior can be changed however, by setting the configuration option primary to flash. See Embedding the Player for more info.

Multiple Sources

If an embed contains multiple media sources, JW Player 6 will walk through all sources to select the first one that can be played in the primary mode. If none of the sources can be played, JW Player falls back to the secondary mode. A few examples:

  • With a setup containing MP4 + WebM sources and HTML5 primary, JW Player plays MP4 in HTML5 on Chrome, WebM in HTML5 on Firefox and MP4 in Flash on Internet Explorer 8.
  • With a setup containing RTMP + MP4 sources and HTML5 primary, JW Player plays MP4 in HTML5 on Chrome and RTMP in Flash on Firefox and Internet Explorer 8.
  • With a setup containing RTMP + MP4 sources and Flash primary, JW Player plays RTMP in Flash on Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer 8.

See Working with Playlists to learn how to setup multiple sources.

If a playlist contains multiple items, JW Player will base its mode selection upon the first item. Any subsequent items that cannot play in that mode (e.g. FLV videos while the player selected HTML5) will get filtered from the playlist. Again, see Working with Playlists for more info.

Download Fallback

In certain cases, neither Flash nor HTML5 mode can be used. For example, a visitor might use an older BlackBerry phone. In such cases, JW Player can render a so-called fallback. Which fallback is rendered is defined by the embedded media format:

  • For MP4, AAC or MP3 files, a nicely formatted download link is rendered. The link consists of the poster image with a play button on top of it. When a visitor clicks the link, the device's built-in mediaplayer will play the file.
  • For YouTube streams, the plain YouTube <embed> code is inserted. This triggers a special-case embed of the YouTube player on iOS and Android devices. Videos will simply play inline, but the JW Player interface and API are not available.
  • For FLV, WebM and Vorbis files and RTMP or HLS streams, an Unsupported Media Format error message is displayed. This is because these formats are likely not supported by built-in mediaplayers.

The fallback option can also be disabled by setting the configuration option fallback to false. In that case, the original HTML is not touched by JW Player. This is useful for setting your own fallback message (e.g. a notification to install Flash). See Embedding the Player for more info.

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