Upgrade to Dacast HTML5 Player Framework
When people watch your videos, you don’t want them to think about the video player. You just want it to work. A modern online video player should be fast, feature-rich, and compatible with any device. And that’s just what you get with Dacast’s HTML5 player. In this post, we’re excited to announce our new player framework for our broadcasters. Among other highlights, it makes our HTML5 player even more robust and powerful! You may notice slight changes in terms of design, but not to worry. Everything still functions the same, but you get some significant improvements as well. In this blog post, we’ll first review the three main pillars of the Dacast HTML5 player. Then, we’ll dig into our upgraded player framework in more detail. First, however, take a look at the crucial role of white-label video players for streaming solutions for broadcasters.
A White-Label Video Player: Key for Online Video
The video player is a key element in online video. It’s the bridge and the interface for any user interaction with your content. As such, it’s important that video players meet modern standards, like HTML5 players. In addition, video players should be white label, with customizable branding to match your business. First, a white-label video player doesn’t include any branding by default. Even using a browser console to inspect the element won’t show our business name. The only watermark or logo present is what you choose to include. And a professional video player should be both white label and fully customizable. For example, you can add your own branding, customize colors, and more. White-label service gives the most professional appearance to your content. In short, a modern, compatible, white-label video player that you can embed on your website is essential. It’s easy to embed a modern video player on any website. These players deliver the best quality viewing experience for users. In fact, thanks in part to modern video players, streaming quality seems to be increasing. Video start failures are down 33 percent year-over-year, and buffering is down 41 percent. Furthermore, the picture quality is up 25 percent.
HTML5 Player and All-Device Compatibility
A few years ago, the online video industry underwent a major shift. In the past, the Flash plugin was required to watch any online video. However, Flash was ultimately buggy, resource-hungry, and full of security issues.
Nowadays, all modern video players are based on HTML5. This means that they can function on any modern web browser. In other words, no plugin is required. Today, HTML5 video playback is faster and more secure than Flash ever was. Plus, an HTML5 player supports both live streaming and video-on-demand content. HTML5 players are also more widely compatible. In 2018, 2.38 billion people watched streaming or downloaded video across all devices. Also of note, more than three-quarters of these viewers used a mobile device. An HTML5 video player ensures that your content can be viewed on any screen. Smartphone, computer, tablet, gaming console, smart TV—all of these are supported. Therefore, it’s no surprise that HTML5 is now by far the preferred method for video playback.
THEOplayer: The Foundation of Dacast’s HTML5 Player
The Dacast HTML5 player is based on THEOplayer. THEOplayer is a leading video player software known for fast startup time and high performance. Based on the latest HTML5 technology, THEOplayer offers regular updates for speed and new functionality. In addition, THEOplayer comes with a wide range of features. These include personalized branding, picture-in-picture, subtitles, frame-accurate-seeking, and many others. As a result, you can build a customized video experience that your unique viewers will enjoy. One of the highlights of THEOplayer is CMAF support. CMAF stands for Common Media Application Format. Overall, CMAF is an emerging streaming media format for HTTP-based streaming. A new and widely compatible format, it incorporates the best of HLS and fMP4 streaming technologies. CMAF can deliver the HLS video format. In fact, it may eventually replace HLS as the dominant delivery format to stream live video. Even better, the Dacast HTML5 player supports CMAF by default. Other THEOplayer features include:
- 30-Minute Live DVR
- Closed Caption Support
- Chapter Markers
- Video monetization via advertising. This feature supports inserting pre-, mid- or post-roll ads within your video. Broadcasts can do so via the Dacast interface or the player API.
- Paywall supports pay per view and subscriptions.
The Upgraded Dacast HTML5 Player Framework
Earlier this year, Dacast acquired the video hosting platform vzaar. Since then, our engineering team has been working overtime to merge features from the two platforms.
One key result of this merger is Dacast’s new offering: an advanced video hosting platform. Another is our ability to offering industry-leading China video playback via our advanced video hosting solution. In the coming months, both the live streaming platform and advanced video hosting solution will merge to make the experience of our users even easier. Since the acquisition, all vzaar customers have merged into the Dacast system. However, these users can still access all the features they were accustomed to when using vzaar. In terms of the focus of this post, in particular, we’ve successfully expanded the functionality of the HTML5 player for all Dacast customers. Now, let’s take a look at some of the key features that we’ve added to the Dacast HTML5 player. As of now, Dacast users can activate and set up all of these features via our advanced video hosting platform. Soon, however, these features will be available to all users, as we are working to merge the live and advanced video platforms.
New Feature #1: AES Encryption
First up, Dacast’s upgraded HTML5 player supports AES encrypted video delivery. For context, AES encryption protects against direct interception of your video while in transit. Anyone who can intercept your stream will receive encrypted content. Furthermore, they will require a key to access the decrypted content. Meanwhile, authorized viewers can automatically decrypt the stream without any user interaction required. AES is a seamless layer of security to help keep your valuable content safe.
New Feature #2: Advanced Video Encoding
The new advanced video encoding functionality makes it easy to deliver video to your users. In particular, you can create multiple videos ingest recipes. An ingest recipe is a group of encoding presents at which your videos will be encoded and delivered. This support for ingesting recipes allows users to easily set up a detailed group of encoding settings. Then, you can implement those settings for a given video with a single click.
New Feature #3: Calls-to-Action (CTA)
Another part of the vzaar feature uplift is the addition of calls-to-action to our HTML5 player for your video content. With just a few clicks, you can add a CTA to your video player, right from the Dacast management dashboard. This feature allows broadcasters to capture emails and direct users toward your website, relevant products, and services, other videos you want to watch, or anything else you choose.
New Feature #4: Object-Fit Video Scaling
Just like some images are square and some are rectangular, videos have different aspect ratios. The most common video aspect ratios are 4:3 and 16:9. However, most video players display a fixed aspect ratio. And they display the video inside that frame by adding black edges. This scaling is called “letterboxing.” Now, our HTML5 player automatically scales the video player to fit the video’s native aspect ratio. This eliminates “letterboxing” and creates a sleek, professional look.
New Feature #5: Mail Catcher
The next new feature we’ll highlight here is called mail catcher. This simple yet powerful feature asks for the viewer’s name and email address before allowing them to watch the video content. This information then enters into your database for use in marketing, etc. This tool is ideal for expanding the marketing functionality of your video efforts.
New Feature #6: Frame-Accurate Seeking
The new frame-accurate seeking feature refers to frame-by-frame playback. When watching a video, you can now use the < and > keys to skip forward or back one frame at a time. This is especially useful for sports and any analysis of what happens in fast-moving action. And this feature is available for both live and advanced VOD platforms.
New Feature #7: Remember User Settings
The new HTML5 player uses a cookie to remember user-settings for the video player. This includes custom volume settings and bandwidth. As a result, the player can rapidly select the best quality or rendition level for each user, which speeds up video start time. This is a built-in feature with no configuration required. It’s currently available for Dacast’s live and advanced VOD platforms.
But that’s not all. We also have a number of other features that are available to users of our advanced VOD platform. We are currently working on merging these features (and the entire advanced VOD platform, formerly known as vzaar) into Dacast. These features include:
- iFrame URL parameters: use custom iframe code to micro-manage various video player features and options.
- Player mode no control display: this “kiosk mode” turns off player controls and enables autoplay + looping. The result is turning your video into a gif-like experience.
- Play-button visibility: control if you want the play button to never be visible, always be visible, or only appear when the mouse hovers over it.
- Custom player language: choose a custom language for the video player.
A modern, feature-rich HTML5 player is essential for online VOD and live streaming. That’s why we want to make everyone aware of the great features included in the Dacast video player. If you’d like to test out our online video platform, we offer a full 14-day free trial (no credit card required). We also offer a range of professional services to help you set up custom event websites, build video portals, and more. If you need customized support, just reach out and contact us today.
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