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RTMP and HTML5 Video Players – What Broadcasters Need to Know in 2021

By Max Wilbert

15 Min Read

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Max Wilbert

Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

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      Times have changed in the world of online video. Flash, which dominated online video for decades, is practically dead and has been replaced by the HTML5 video player options and formats continue to expand. 

      Access to HTML5 video players has improved online video in many aspects, including compatibility, general speed, and security.

      In this article, we will review some key developments around HTML5 video player formats in recent years and discuss how you can embed an HTML5 video player with Dacast and other streaming platforms.

      Let’s begin by taking a closer look at the rise of HTML5 video player formats.

      Table of Contents

      • Out with Flash, In with HTML5
      • The Transition to HTML5 for Online Video
      • Initial Issues with HTML5 Player Compatibility
      • Benefits of Using an HTML5 Video Player
      • What to Know About Dacast’s HTML5 Video Player
      • How to Embed an HTML 5 Video Player
      • Sharing Your HTML5 Video Player on Social Media
      • How Does RTMP Work with an HTML5 Video Player?
      • Conclusion

      Out with Flash, In with HTML5

      html5 rtmp player
      The transition to HTML5 was a bit difficult at first, but now this video player is the preferred video player for most broadcasters.

      Flash has been around for over 20 years. For the majority of that time, Flash was the dominant platform for video and most other multimedia on the internet. However, Flash technology has encountered some ongoing issues, particularly in recent years. Most notably, security and speed have posed issues for Flash.

      Let’s backtrack a bit to the beginning of the end when Apple released the first generation iPhone on June 29, 2007. That iPhone intentionally didn’t support Flash, making Apple a trendsetter. In 2012, Android followed suit by dropping support for Flash channels completely.

      Eventually, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Apple’s Safari, and Google Chrome slowly limited Flash support and jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon. In addition to the browsers, many content delivery networks have not supported flash since 2017.

      As of December 2020, Chrome eliminated support of the Flash Player altogether. All other major browsers plan to follow suit. With no browser support and limited support on popular devices, Flash Player will have no place in online video streaming.

      The Transition to HTML5 for Online Video

      rtmp html5
      HTML5 has totally replaced Flash Player in recent years.

      Luckily, the HTML5 video player has developed to perfectly suit the needs of the online streaming industry. As of January 2021, most online streaming relies on this technology.

      The rise of HTML5 technology can be credited to the browsers, mobile device developers, and streaming CDNs that have turned a cold shoulder to Flash Player in favor of this new and improved video player. 

      Almost any video you watch today on your laptop, computer, smartphone, or smart TV uses an HTML5 video player. At first, there were concerns and challenges in terms of compatibility, but today, this technology is a standard in the world of video streaming.

      Initial Issues with HTML5 Player Compatibility

      In the beginning, the decline of Flash posed a challenge. Compatibility with the HTML5 video player posed an issue for a short amount of time.

      Luckily, many strategies were set in place to make the transition easier. Among these options, one ideal method was using an embedded video player software for deployment to websites under your control. Many of these video players supported the RTMP (Real-time messaging protocol) technology to work with flash-enabled players, HTML5 video, or both.

      Another popular option was MediaElement.js. This video player alternative mimics HTML5 even when playing video using Flash or Silverlight in older browsers.

      Today, HTML5 video player compatibility is not an issue at all. In fact, this player’s compatibility is among its many strengths. The HTML5 video player is often referred to as an “all-device video player” because it is truly just that. Reaching all devices means reaching a larger audience. 

      HLS, another streaming protocol that was created by Apple, is now used for delivery to the HTML5 video player in place of RTMP.

      In just a few years, this video player has gone from limited compatibility to the most compatible option. If that doesn’t speak volumes of the rapid development of technology, then we don’t know what does.

      How Does RTMP Work with an HTML5 Video Player?

      Before we move on, it is important to acknowledge that RTMP still plays an active role with HTML5 video players. 

      As we mentioned RTMP was used for delivery with the Flash video player. In fact, the protocol was created by Macromedia (which is now Adobe) to be used specifically with this video player. It transported the video from the CDN servers to the user-facing video player.

      Now, RTMP is used for video ingestion. That means that it takes video content from the software encoder to the switcher, video player, or server. 

      HLS can also be used to ingest, but an RTMP player for HTML5 is still the most compatible option among affordable and reliable live stream encoders. Another advantage of using RTMP ingest as opposed to HLS is that it is capable of streaming with much lower latency.

      Video streaming technology is constantly evolving, so it difficult to determines how long it will be until something new comes around and makes each of these protocols obsolete. However, for now, the HLS delivery/RTMP ingest combination is what works the best with the HTML5 video player.

      Benefits of Using an HTML5 Video Player

      html5 video player
      HTML5 video players utilize the HLS streaming protocol and cannot be used with RTMP.

      The transition to HTML5 was largely due to developers and browsers killing off Flash Player, but HTML5 is loaded with attractive qualities that made it the preferred video player even when Flash was still hanging on.

      Let’s take a look at a few of the amazing qualities of this player that have gotten professional broadcasters hooked.

      It’s Customizable

      The HTML5 video player is customizable which makes on-brand streaming totally manageable. This creates a more professional look and an enhanced viewer experience, which is why so many professional broadcasters are happy with this video player.

      Enhanced Compatibility

      Since the most popular smartphone creators intentionally made it impossible to stream with Flash Player, the highly compatible HTML5 video player is definitely the winner in terms of accessibility and compatibility.

      Compatibility is huge for professional broadcasters because the more devices the video player works on, the greater the pool of people who could become viewers. 

      Maximum compatibility means maximum reach. This is music to the ears of broadcasters who want to reach large audiences for the sake of maximizing revenue or brand exposure.

      Advanced Security

      The HTML5 video player is much more secure than its predecessor. Threats of piracy or infiltration from an unauthorized user are limited with this video player.

      This is phenomenal news for enterprise broadcasters and companies that use HLS streaming software solutions as a service business model.

      Faster than Flash

      Since “Flash” is in the name, you’d think Adobe’s video player would be the fastest in the game, and at one point it was. However, the HTML5 video player puts flash to shame.

      An RTMP player for HTML5 is compatible with the fastest, most reliable encoders. This is possible by RTMP ingest, meaning the delivery of content from an RTMP encoder to an online video host This is a live streaming dream. This cuts latency drastically, which means that near-real-time latency is a possibility. 

      Video speed is very important to many viewers, so this just enhances the viewers’ experience even more.

      What to Know About Dacast’s HTML5 Video Player

      html5 player
      Dacast’s HTML5 video player is one of our platform’s most attractive features.

      One of the easiest ways to broadcast via an HTML5 video player is with the help of your online video platform. At one point, varying live streaming platforms provided different video player options, but right now, HTML5 is the standard. 

      Here at Dacast, our video player is based on video.js. This means that our player is an HTML5 video player and equipped for HTTPS delivery. Our HTML5 video player uses HLS for delivery and either HLS or RTMP for ingest.

      Our platform uses HTML5 video natively and has not supported Flash as a fallback option since 2017. Viewers can stream any video hosted or streamed via the Dacast platform on any device that supports HTML5 video. This is an ideal situation for both viewers and broadcasters. 

      Thanks to our adaptive bitrate streaming capabilities, viewers automatically receive the best quality content over their HTML5-compatible playback device. This makes for a convenient and easy viewing experience.

      This is particularly useful if you’re broadcasting a live video stream to generate revenue from your content. Also, video creators need only to use a single embed code to reach every potential audience, which is an added convenience.

      In terms of live streaming software solutions that Dacast offers, our video players are compatible with every modern web browser, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Safari, Vivaldi, UC Browser, Samsung Internet, and many others.

      Even many old, outdated browsers still support Dacast video, which means that our broadcasters can reach 99.9% of internet users without issue.

      Dacast’s HTML5 video player is configurable in many different ways. You can change the color scheme, choose a watermark (i.e.a logo), change embedded video size, select between iframe and Javascript, embed social sharing buttons, and more. For maximum compatibility, Javascript is usually the best option.

      One crucial advantage of the Dacast platform is its responsiveness. Any video player scales automatically to different screen sizes and device types. It’s also extremely fast to load—about 20 times faster than the previous version. 

      Combined with a fast first-frame time, this guarantees a pleasant experience for users. Dacast also supports plugins for extending the functionality of your video player, as well as popular advertising standards such as VAST2.

      Finally, the Dacast video player has a dedicated video API. This API integrates with Google Analytics, which allows you to connect players to your account to see how individual videos perform. You can also integrate live events into your analytics account, allowing you to track audiences in real-time.

      How to Embed an HTML5 Video Player

      Embed HTML5
      Embedding an HTML5 video player on Dacast is a breeze.

      Embedding an HTML5 video player from Dacast on your website, mobile app or smart TV app is very easy. With most online video platforms, this takes a simple copy and paste of the embed code into the code of your site or app.

      Here’s how to embed live streaming video using your HTML5 video player on your website:

      1. Go to your account dashboard and navigate to the HTML5 live channel or on-demand video content that you wish to embed.
      2. Click “Publish Settings”  in the drop-down menu.
      3. Select the width and height for your embed code. Feel free to simply use the default if you don’t know which to use.
      4. Select whether your embed should use Javascript or iframe code. These options are somewhat advanced. Javascript is the preferred option, as it supports more features, but iframe works on a wider range of services, including drag and drop website builders.
      5. Select all the code in the text box and copy it to your clipboard.
      6. Paste the embed code in the proper location in the HTML editor view of the webpage where your video player will live.
      7. Click “Save.”

      Preview the webpage, and your HTML5 video player should appear. It’s really that easy.

      To learn more about embedding code on the most popular website hosting platform, WordPress, check out this dedicated guide.

      Sharing Your HTML5 Video Player on Social Media

      Sharing Dacast on-demand or live streaming website content on social media is easy, as well. You may have noticed the “Share Link” option within your account. You can copy this link directly and embed it into a Facebook post.

      When you share it, this link will create a video that viewers can play directly on Facebook via the timeline, page, or profile. This function works for both on-demand videos and live streaming videos. Once inserted into a post, broadcasters even have the option to remove the URL. 

      This results in a streamlined, clean social media post with embedded video. This functionality is ideal for maintaining the security and rights associated with a white-label video host, while still accessing the large audiences found on social media platforms.


      embed rtmp stream html5
      Dacast’s HTML5 Video Player with White Label Customization

      Flash is no longer the dominant force it once was, and HTML5 video players are the way to go. This transition has improved online video streaming and has created a better scenario for broadcasters and viewers, alike.

      This transition away from Flash isn’t the only change in the online video industry. Increasingly, HLS is becoming the standard for video delivery, but RTMP is still commonly used for video ingestion. Businesses and service providers have adapted very quickly and now use the HTML5 video player almost exclusively.

      With Chrome maintaining its status as the world’s most popular browser, Google’s decision to label non-HTTPS (“not secure”) content is enormous. Using an online video platform like Dacast means that you are well-equipped to take advantage of all that HTML5 has to offer and will be prepared for the future when the world of online video outgrows HTML5 streaming.

      Interested in using the HTML5 video player for your streaming needs? Try it risk-free for 30 days with Dacast’s free trial. Access all of our professional features and see how the video player works in action.

      All you have to do to get started is create a Dacast account today. No credit card required.


      For regular tips and live streaming benefits, as well as exclusive offers, you can join our Dacast LinkedIn group. For more information, tutorials, and consideration of all things (live) streaming, check out our full collection of blog articles. Finally, don’t forget to share your questions and comments below; we love to hear from our readers!

      Thanks for reading, and good luck with your broadcasts!

      author avatar

      Max Wilbert

      Max Wilbert is a passionate writer, live streaming practitioner, and has strong expertise in the video streaming industry.

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