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HLS Player – HTML5/JS HLS Playback and Improved VR Support

The new Bitmovin adaptive streaming player release v4.3 enables HTML5/JS based HLS playback without the need for plugins like Flash or Silverlight

An HLS Player without Plugins

Within our brand new version 4.3 player release, we have added the support for native HTML5/JS based HLS playback and enabled the usage of persistent poster images, making the Bitmovin Adaptive Streaming Player the perfect choice for your HLS Player. The images can now also be changed during runtime and are not only handy for pure audio streams – but more on that later on. Furthermore, various enhancements and updates for our VAST advertising support and the VR adaptive video streaming plugin have been made.

HTML5 and JavaScript based HLS playout

HTML5 based HLS
We are happy to announce the support for HTML5 based HLS playout within v4.3. Since the first version of our adaptive streaming player, we have focused on HTML5 and JavaScript based playout, without the need for plugins, like Flash or Silverlight. Read more about the importance of native HTML5 playout and how to replace Flash in online video streaming scenarios, in a recent article from our CEO Stefan Lederer.
Although we are still missing full parity between the new HLS player and its MPEG-DASH counterpart, playback of VoD and Live streams is already covered. You can either give it a try on our HLS demo page, or get yourself the latest player version from our backend application.

Persistent Poster Images for Audio Only Streams

Poster Image for Audio Only Streams - HLS PlayerFor audio only streams, or scenarios which include breaks within a stream, it is handy to have a poster image in place. No matter if used for advertising, additional information of the stream, or a simple teaser poster. Our new player release provides the possibility to set a poster image which is displayed during the entire playback, or till it is changed/removed via a simple API call. The persistentPoster attribute can be set within the source/options part of the player configuration, as shown in the code snippet below.

source: {
  dash:           'https://path/to/your/manifest.mpd',
  hls:            'https://path/to/your/playlist.m3u8',
  poster:         'https://path/to/your/poster.png',
  options: {
    persistentPoster: true
  }
}

The shown image can be changed and/or removed during runtime, using the setPosterImage API call, as recoded in our online documentation.

Enhancements for VAST and VR

VAST - HLS Player
Based on the feedback from our customers and video streaming enthusiasts, we do our best to enhance and update our given features set. This concept and our passion to constantly improve our services, result in one of the most comprehensive adaptive streaming players on the market. Within our 4.3 release, we have added useful features to our existing VAST advertising support, like VAST conform error codes and in-time VAST tag requests. A tutorial on how to setup our player solution in combination with VAST and Google DFP, can be found in our tutorial section.
Along with v4.3, we have implemented further enhancements for VR and 360° video playout, our customizable Chromecast receiver and enabled time-shift for live streams with absolute time stamps.

What’s Coming Next?

Bitmovin Adaptive Streaming Player is still the best HLS Player on the market and is getting better all the time. Our customer focused team is constantly working to introduce new handy features, such as subtitles/closed captions, timed-metadata and DVR to the HTML5 based HLS player. Beside that, we will add new statistic metrics to our backend application within version 4.4 – stay tuned!
All the best,
Reinhard & the Bitmovin Team!

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Author

Reinhard Grandl is Director of Product Management at Bitmovin. Reinhard received his Master degree from the Alpen-Adria Universität Klagenfurt, specializing on Networked and Embedded Systems, in 2014 and joined Bitmovin in 2013 as part of the player department. Reinhard’s experience includes positions in international research and development companies.

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