JW Player 8 FAQ

Coming October 2017

Changes in JW8
What are the major updates in JW8?

Major advances in JW8 can be categorized in three areas: Speed, Customization, and Industry Leading Support.

Speed:

  • Intelligent asset bundling: Based on a combination of the media type contained in playlists and the viewer’s browser, we’ve optimized the player to make fewer network requests for the most common use cases of video playback, reducing latency costs associated with setup times.
  • Decreased Setup Time: We’ve fine-tuned our core library with the goal of decreasing setup time. By reducing the size of jwplayer.js, the player sets up faster and more quickly determines which additional assets are needed to begin media playback.
  • Smarter Content Preloading: JW8 significantly improves upon our existing preloading feature by being smarter about when preloading occurs and how much is preloaded. We’ve also taken steps to reduce bandwidth consumption for publishers that load multiple video players on a single page by only preloading players that are more than 50% viewable. In JW8, players are set to preload: metadata  by default so that playback starts immediately for click-to-play video players once a user initiates playback.

Customization:

  • Refreshed Player Builder with greater customization: JW8 comes with 11 skin configuration options out of the box, compared to just three in JW7, giving customers more granular control over their brand identity in the player. With such granular control, it’s easier than ever to customize the player with little to no engineering effort. In addition to Hex values, RGBa, and color names are now supported.
  • Collapsible Menus in Control Bar: JW8 introduces a new global menu, which is accessible via the gear icon in the control bar. It reduces clutter in the control bar, especially at smaller player sizes on touch devices where we limit the number of icons based on UX best practices for touch targets. The following icons that previously had their own tooltip menus are now part of the global menu: quality, audio, captions, and playback rates. Captions still has a dedicated icon in the control bar due for accessibility.
  • Redesigned Icons: JW8 introduces an all new set of controls which boast highly optimized SVGs that not only look and perform better, but make it easier for our publishers to customize our controls to suit their branding needs. The majority of the icons have been redesigned for JW8.
  • Adding logos in control bar: You now have the ability to add a logo to the control bar by using the “control-bar” logo position.
  • Ability to brand right click text and links with the new player builder in the JW Player Dashboard.

Industry Leading Support:

  • Support for the VAST4 advertising standard. JW8 specifically supports the following:
    • UniversalAdID is a unique identifier for ad creatives. Simply, it allows publishers to pinpoint which ads are performing the worst, so they can be removed, and conversely, publisher can identify which ads are most effective so they can be leveraged against more content.
    • Ad Categories groups ad creatives by genre (category metadata). With the new ability to match ad and content categories together publishers can maximize ad performance.
    • ConditionalAd allows publishers to opt out of VPAID ads which enhances ad load times.
    • MediaFiles detection which analyzes an ad tag for multiple media files and provide a notification if the tag is not compliant, thus providing publishers an opportunity to improve viewing experiences.
  • Support for Facebook Browser (Mobile Webview) for Android & iOS.
  • Flash Deprecation:
    • JW Player will prioritize playback in HTML5. The primary configuration has been deprecated so that players cannot be forced to render in Flash.
    • Flash will only be enabled when HTML5 playback is not possible.
    • There will be performance gains from not loading Flash scripts and code, unless required for playback.

What are the preloading changes? How does it work? What are the benefits?

When players have preloading on, preloading will always happen on the first video in the DOM structure of a webpage. Subsequent players will begin preloading when they are 50% viewable.

Benefits:

  • A page with lots of video players will load faster and use less bandwidth
  • Players start up faster and provide a better user experience
  • All modern video players preload metadata by default

“Preload” has three settings that depend on streaming media versus progressive

  • Progressive (standard mp4)
    • metadata (default) – will download metadata about the file
    • auto – will download the entire file (depends on the browser)
    • none – no content will pre-fetched from the video
  • Streaming (HLS and DASH)
    • metadata (default) – will download at most the first segment of the media
    • auto – for streaming media sources will buffer 30-60 seconds of content across all browsers
    • none – no content will pre-fetched from the video

Compatibility, Updating, and Implementation

How do I get access to JW8 during the beta?

  • ‘Create a new player’ in the JW Player Dashboard under the ‘Players’ section. Note, you cannot update a 7 player to an 8 player while JW8 is in beta. The dashboard will only permit the creation of new players.
  • Download a Self-hosting Zip by accessing ‘Downloads’ on the top right section of the homepage of your JW Player Dashboard.

What browsers does JW8 support?

  • Chrome
    • Desktop 58+
    • Android 59+
  • Safari
    • Desktop 10+
    • iOS 10+
  • Firefox 52+
  • IE11+
  • Edge 14+
  • Facebook Webview

Will my existing player embeds change when I move over to JW Player 8?

  • For customers using the cloud-hosted library. Existing embeds that used JW Player cloud-hosted JavaScript Library will not change. However, we are not auto-updating the existing JW7 library to JW8. If you would like to update your existing pages with JW8, you will need to replace it with a new player library from the new dashboard. Once you update the player library on your pages, your embeds will be using JW8 and the players might need to be adjusted due to the updates made in JW8.
  • For customers using the self-hosted players. Existing embeds that use a self-hosted JavaScript library will not change at all. To update these to use JW8, download the player zips from your account dashboard, update the license key on your pages, and replace the url to JW Player with the new location where you are hosting JW8. Once you update the player library on your pages, your embeds will be using JW8 and the players might need to be adjusted due to the updates made in JW8.

Will updating affect my API integration?

  • Yes. Though the JW8 API is mostly compatible with JW7, we encourage you to look over the changes and update where needed. Mainly new methods have been introduced to make development easier and faster. A few uncommon methods have been removed, while others have been deprecated but can still be used.

Will SDKs also be updating to JW8?

  • SDKs are not being updated to JW8 at this time.

Is there documentation on updating to JW8?

  • Documentation will be available on our Support site.

Are the license keys the same between JW7 and JW8?

  • No. JW Player 8 requires a new license key. Your JW7 license key will still work with your JW7 player embeds, but it will not work with JW8. Every account will provide both JW8 and JW7 versions of the license key.

Are analytics impacted by updating to JW8?

  • Analytics will be the same, there are no changes to analytics in JW8.

Will JW Player still support the same ad servers and IAB standards (VAST, VPAID, VMAP) in JW8?

  • JW Player 8 retains the same level of ad support as it did in JW7.

How do I update to JW8 once the beta period is over?

  • Self-hosted players: Please accept our new Terms of Service in order to receive access to JW8. Once you have accepted the Terms of Service, you can access the self-hosted zips from the downloads section. You will need to replace the old zips with the new one. Since the embed structure is the same, the players on your pages should behave correctly.
  • Cloud-hosted single-line embed and libraries. You simply need to update your players to JW8 through the JW Player Dashboard.

 

Other Questions:

What is being deprecated in JW8?

  • YouTube and RTMP support.
  • All JW7 preset skins: five, six, seven, bekle, beelden, glow, stormtrooper, roundster.
  • timeSliderAbove configuration option.
  • API calls that were deprecated in JW7 (onEvent events) have been removed from JW8. These can be used for as short time with the backward compatibility script.

What’s backward compatibility and how does it work?

  • Backward compatibility is a script that retains API functionality that was available in core JW7 but has been removed from JW8. This script will slow down the player so all customers are advised to update to the latest JW8 practices. Most of these practices were already standard in JW7 but this is an extra layer of precaution for developers who had not moved moved.
  • While we strongly encourage updating your code to take advantage of the supported API calls, we’ve done the work to reduce the friction of upgrading from JW7 to JW8 so that you can do so at your own pace. Simply include jwplayer.compatibility.js below the player library on a self-hosted player.

Why are you deprecating Flash?

  • The support of Flash in modern web browsers has come to an end. Supporting Flash in a modern web player will cause issues for your viewers as 60% of all plays are coming from the latest 3 versions of Chrome, all of which do not support Flash. In order to provide your viewers with the best possible video experience and ensure that they return to watch video on your site, Flash had to be removed. If Flash were still available in JW Player, the viewer’s experience would range from not seeing a video player render at all, to exposing them security flaws, just because they have Flash installed.

What do you mean by deprecation of JW7 skins?

  • The preset skins introduced in JW7: five, six, seven, bekle, beelden, glow, stormtrooper, roundster will not work with JW8 and are no longer in download zips or part of the player builder. The JW-hosted CSS files cannot be called simply by making skin.name equal to bekle, for example.
  • Custom skins can still be loaded through the same mechanism as in JW7 (via skin.file and skin.name). The DOM structure of JW8 has changed significantly enough that any external CSS file will have to be modified in order for it to look correct with the player. The developer docs will be updated with the new CSS selector reference so devs can migrate their skins to the new structure.

Why are you removing support for YouTube?

  • YouTube updates their API and it affects the JW Player user experience. Even today there are issues that are not standard with other media formats in JW Player.  Specifically how you pass interactions through the API to our UI does not work the same on all devices.

What will happen if you try to play an RTMP or YouTube file in JW8 player?

  • The player will error out with setup error that says no playable source found.