HTML5 by Default – The Deprecation of Flash in Major Browsers

Update:

With HTML5 favored by default, the latest version of JW Player will ensure optimal viewing experience! JW Player has been working hard to understand the trend of HTML5 and optimize our product for HTML5, understanding that flash-based video was not in-line with future industry standards.

Our HTML5-first video player consistently helps publishers distribute high quality on demand and live videos on every desktop and mobile browser.

Check it out here to see which JW Player edition best supports your video goals. Also read this HTML5 report to learn more about the state of the technology.

 

spooky-flash-v3

Flash is once again in the spotlight as Google follows through on their multi-year plan to phase out plugin support in Chrome and favor HTML5 by default.

What is Happening with Flash in Chrome?

On December 6th, Google will release Chrome 55, giving more power to visitors of your site, allowing them to make a choice if they want to enable Flash or not by clicking the Flash object in the page. Previously, Flash became click-to-play when it was below a size threshold; in Chrome 55, Flash objects will not load if the user dismisses them. Chrome tracks the user’s decision per domain. Chrome is also adding three settings that will make it even easier for users to disable Flash:

  1. [Default] Ask before allowing sites to run Flash
  2. Allow sites to run Flash without prompting
  3. HTML5 by Default – Block sites from running Flash without prompting

There are similar settings available in Apple’s Safari 10 for Mac OS, with their default being HTML5.

JW Player Always Uses HTML5 First

JW Player is an HTML5-first video player and has been since 2012. There is, however, a setting that has been used by developers to force Flash over HTML5. Setting “primary”:”flash” in your Player setup would put the preference to load a Flash media player instead of letting the player decide which rendering mode would be the most optimal. The likely reason for this is the massive amount of Flash-based advertising still in use on the web. For example, in the month of September, 53% of ads played in JW Player still used Flash. This actually indicates an increase in HTML5 JavaScript creatives and regular linear MP4 videos, but still not enough for ad supported sites to be unaffected by the release Chrome 55.

What to do

The best thing to do — strongly recommended! — is to update to the latest version of JW Player before December 6th. We will launch a player prior to the 6th that will behave in the following way:

  1. Renders HLS streams in HTML5 by default. It currently requires an opt-in.
  2. If you still have “primary”:”flash” and a viewer accepts Flash on your site, player will render Flash correctly.
  3. If you still have “primary”:”flash” and the user declines Flash, the Player will attempt to reload with an HTML5 media renderer.

If you are unable to update to the latest stable version of JW Player before December 6th, here are some simple steps you can take to ensure optimal viewer experience based on the version you are currently running:

JW Player 6.12 and earlier

The only thing you can do in this version is set your primary to html5. It is highly encouraged that you update, especially since JW6 does not support VPAID 2.0 ads and HLS in HTML5.

JW Player 7.0 through 7.3.6

Set primary to html5. Note that there is no support for HLS in HTML5 in these versions and the player will resort to MP4 playback if that is provided.

JW Player 7.4 through 7.7

Set primary to html5 and hlshtml to true.

Note that in all versions prior to 7.8 (targeted late November), if Flash is allowed and used, there is still an interaction and user experience degradation. When a viewer tries to click play on the Player after Flash is allowed, the click does not pass into the player to start playback. It will also take longer to start the player with Flash which is we recommend moving to HTML5.

What’s Next for JW Player and Flash

To reduce confusion and create a more seamless experience, we are planning to deprecate the “primary” setting in JW Player. This is tentatively scheduled for June 2017. If Flash is able to be used in older browsers, it will load there and provide optimal video viewing. In late 2017 we will remove Flash from the JW Player codebase, completely removing any reliance on the outdated plugin.