Web video accessibility is a broad term that refers to making videos usable for all types of viewers. Traditionally, it refers to those with impairments, but more recently the definition has broadened. At LongTail Video, we feel strongly about creating the means of equal access to online video content. By building products that support features such as multi-language video captions, we aim to increase viewer accessibility. Though there are many pieces to making a video fully accessible, in this post we focus the discussion on closed captions.
As we continue to bring HTML5 support in the JW Player closer to parity with Flash mode, we've focused the 5.9 release on a variety of HTML5 stability and user experience updates:
HTML5 is now the default playback mode on Android Devices
In early November, Adobe announced it would stop developing its Flash Player for Android devices. As a result we've decided to focus our energies on optimizing HTML5 support on Android rather on a legacy platform.
Today we announced the public launch of our latest resource, The State of HTML5 Video Report. For two years our JW Player team has researched and monitored the evolution of HTML5 video capabilities so that we could effectively support it. Beyond our own products, we believe that the community at large will benefit from this work. We are extremely pleased to share our detailed research with the community.
With 2011 behind us and beginning of 2012 well on its way, I thought that it would be a good time to share some of our progress over the past twelve months.
In short, 2011 was an amazing year for LongTail Video. We experienced incredible customer growth across all of our products (more on that below) and successfully released a number of fantastic new products and features. Here are a few of the highlights:
Consolidation has begun in the mobile video space. In early November, Adobe announced it would stop developing its Flash Player for mobile devices (read: Android). Going forward, HTML5 will be the only method to play back videos on mobile phones and tablets. This is a big win for Apple, the company that most strongly opposed Flash in the last few years
This release of the JW Player 5.8 focuses heavily on stability HTML5 playback and secure plugin loading. The major addition is support for HTML5 video advertising for Google DFP and YuMe users. Read more to find out what's new.
Last year, we declared that HTML5 video was not quite there yet. Well, it's nearly 18 months since that post, so what's happened in the intervening time?
These days, HD quality video is no longer an option - it is essentially a requirement. On the other hand, there are still quite a few viewers out there that are unable to play high quality video, due to connection or device constraints. A simple way to fix this is by offering an HD toggle in your player. Viewers that want the full experience select the high quality option, while viewers that don't have the capabilities (or interest) select the low quality option.
With the Android and iOS platforms growing like weeds, online publishers are scrambling to mobilize their video players and profit from these additional viewers. Since Apple’s iOS doesn't run Flash, most of these publishers turn to the HTML5 <video> tag for delivering their clips to mobile devices.
While this is a critical first step (better to have your videos play than not), it is also just the start. The mobile user experience (UX) model is vastly different from that of the desktop computer, which means additional work is needed in areas such as interface, streaming and advertising. These UX differences have several implications for video players.
Touch Versus Mouse
We're excited today to announce the introduction of Bits on the Run Free, a new type of Bits on the Run account which provides a zero cost way for publishers to get started with video. Instead of our previous 30-day Trial Membership, customers can now sign up for Bits on the Run and keep a Free Account... forever.
Bits on the Run Free
Our new Bits on the Run Free Account is recommended for bloggers, individuals and sites just getting started with video. Bits on the Run Free allows users to store and stream their videos at no cost, with full access to the Bits on the Run dashboard - including its player customization options, transcoding system, JW Player plugin support, API and rich video analytics.