If you’ve watched video on many websites, chances are you’ve used JW Player. Unlike a YouTube video, JW Player is integrated into a website which gives the owner more control over how it looks and what it plays. They reportedly have over a billion unique streams a month making them the most popular private video player online.
Why a private player
With so many public video platforms offering free services, why would someone want to use a private player? Chris Mahl, President of JW Player answered that question in an article on TechCrunch. He calls it “a very big shift” for online publishing. The main objective of content owners is to drive traffic to their websites, rather than to YouTube or even Facebook. “That’s where you as the publisher have complete and total control over how your audience engages with your content that you’re spending so much time and money on,” says Dave Otten, CEO of JW Player.
To help publishers and content creators deliver the best video experiences for website videos, JW Player has always been on a mission to support the latest technologies and platforms. They’ve recently added two new features to continue that trend.
One of the newest and hottest trends is virtual reality, and it’s “almost as good” cousin 360 degree video. Most of the major video streaming providers or hosts are offering video in this new format. Many of the videos require the use of a device in order to view the video by looking around while holding the device. I talk in more detail about how that works in this blog about streaming virtual reality.
But what JW Player has done is brought the ability for anyone to include 360° video on their website. To provide the functionality they’ve teamed up with Surround Definition who’ve developed SHD as “a standardized solution for the playback of 360° video”. Currently it only supports a Flash version of the player, but the JW website says they are planning to release a HTML and mobile version as well.
In an industry somewhat saturated with video streaming devices, Apple introduced their product Apple TV. It came with high expectations that every Apple device does these days. But it really wasn’t until the fourth generation came out that people began snatching them up. According to an estimated earnings report from the company, the first quarter of 2016 saw more sales of the device than ever before.
Like other streaming devices such as the Roku, Chromecast, and Amazon Fire Stick, Apple TV works with apps. One of the big promises of Apple’s version is the opportunity of all the apps in their apps store to work with the TV too. But it isn’t quite that simple.
Apple requires all developers to use their tvOS to build apps for their TV, so apps made for iPad or iPhones won’t necessarily translate well. But tvOS is now open to any developer to use (a change in Apple policy) so TV specific apps can now be made too.
JW Player is taking advantage of the new developer options by building their own software developer kit (SDK) that integrates their player with Apple TV. The company also decided to keep the SDK free so that anyone can create an app to the TV service. According to a blog on their website, “We’re very excited about the new Apple TV. It’s more open development model will allow us to create a solution that enables our JW Platform customers to get their content on Apple TV quickly and affordably, with little to no app coding required.”
It’s all very exciting actually. Do you use JW Player? If not, what’s your favourite player?