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How to broadcast live video in HTML 5?

Do you remember recalling the days when the only way to view video content was through a television or a computer? The days when you had to keep your computer or TV plugged in with a bunch of wires for power? Back then, video technology required you to sit in one place to dedicatedly watch something. Even with a laptop, it can be inconvenient to carry it around just to tune in to your favourite show. Thanks to HTML5 players, such days are now behind us! Emerging technological advancements denote that you can broadcast video in HTML5 on a variety of portable and access devices.

You may have already heard of or even used HTML5–perhaps without being in the awareness of it. According to BitMovin’s 2017 Video Developer Report, HTML5 is the most popular and preferred platform for all video playback. Today, you are utilizing HTML5 while broadcasting live video streams on your mobile phones. This is how accessible and spread-out it is, whether or not you know its technicalities.

HTML5 equips organizations to leverage open standards and stream videos without having to depend on a third-party player or plug-in. An MPEG/H.264, Ogg/Theora, or WebM/VP8 video can be played in the standard web browser, whether it is a PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, or an Android device. This gives businesses the opportunity to have a media strategy that targets popular platforms and devices rather than having to engender a separate model for each. HTML5 presents this opportunity, with its pros and cons, for businesses to monetize on and to reach out to their viewers across multiple formats as well as multiple platforms.

Technically, HTML5 defines a simple way of doing this utilizing the video element. However, the support for this element is not omnipresent, and it can be fairly daunting at times to understand its benefits alongside its implementation. Unlike Flash, which now seems to be a dying technology, HTML5 is compatible with both Android and iOS-based devices. The cross-platform functionality of HTML5 avails to engender a high-quality visual experience for people streaming across multiple devices. Such compatible devices include computers, smartphones, and tablets, all on different operating systems.

HTML5 is a more incipient and current web programming language. As such, it has the capacity to reach a larger demographic than ever before. You might have observed that many video streaming platforms, such as Dacast, are also now shifting to HTML5. If you are habituated with HTML4, then getting up to speed with HTML5 will be a piece of cake.

However, HTML5 video comes with its pros and cons. Until its adoption is global, there will be no single browser that supports all codecs. Unless the target device only runs iOS, videos should be encoded in differing formats in order to maximize the reach.

The three formats that can be covered in most browsers and devices are WebM, Ogg, and MP4 for on-demand streaming. For live streaming, WebM, Ogg, FLV, and MPEG TS (transport stream) is capable of providing the indispensable reach to all contrivances and browsers.

Live to stream in HTML5 is possible via the utilization of Media Source Extensions (MSE) – the relatively incipient W3C standard. MSE is an extension of HTML5 <video> tag; the javascript on a webpage can catch audio/video segments from the server and direct them to MSE for further playback. The fetching mechanism can be done through HTTP requests (MPEG-DASH) or via WebSockets. As of September 2016, all the major browsers on contrivances support MSE. iOS remains the only exception.

For high latency (5+ seconds) HTML5 live video streaming, one can consider MPEG-DASH implementations by video.js or Wowza streaming engine. For low latency, near authentic-time HTML5 live video streaming, you can take a look at EvoStream media server, Unreal media server as well as WebRTC.

HTML5 video streaming is possible through two primary methods.

The first one sanctions you to directly link a video to HTML by integrating a <video> tag and including a .mp4 video source in order to make your video playable. You can choose an HTML5 video player in which you can choose to preload the JavaScript of the player alongside customizing controls over the default video tag element. It is additionally possible for you to define your required dimensions (width and height).

The second method to stream HTML5  is by placing a <iframe> tag in order to embed and load your video from an external source, such as YouTube. You can have any video uploaded on a platform with features such as closed captions, annotations, etc as opposed to the <video> tag option, in the <iframe> method, and these can make their way with your video wherever it is embedded.

Before going over all the multiple HTML5 Video Player options, it is important to note that most of these are solely standalone HTML5 video player solutions. Opting for these require you to find a video solution that sanctions you to host your videos, transcode, package and stream them securely, and then distribute them globally as well as manage other different aspects linked with your videos. Hence, choose one of these standalone video players only if you have a solution deciphered for the rest of these missing capabilities. If you are looking for prospects of a standalone HTML5 video player, here is a list of comparisons of some of the top HTML5 video players to help you make the right choice for yourself –

  1. Video.js

Video.js is a completely free open-source HTML5 video player that utilizes JavaScript and CSS. It was developed in the year 2010 and is a very well-known video player utilized by multiple top organizations such as Amazon and LinkedIn. The video player uses MP4 and WebM files alongside allows to live stream too. It also extends support to adaptive bitrate streaming for protocols such as HLS and MPEG-DASH. Various other plug-ins are additionally available to implement additional capabilities like brand logo insertion, analytics, creating playlists, Chromecast, etc. It is possible for you to integrate a Video.js player with Vimeo and YouTube as well.

       2. Jplayer

Developed in 2009, Jplayer is a free and open-source HTML5 video player which utilizes JavaScript. It is famous for having an engaging community that provides support. Alongside, it provides comprehensive documentation that sanctions for better support while you are developing the player. There is a cross-platform, multi-codec and cross-browser support for both video and audio streams through a jQuery plug-in. The media library of Jplayer is extremely extensive, and the video player is highly customizable, both in terms of how you want the player to look and what controls you want to add.

  1. Flowplayer

This one is the only paid HTML5 video player here on the list. Flowplayer was originally developed in the year 2004 as an open-source project. However, it grew into a holistic video streaming solution along with a paid video platform which also provides video hosting, encoding, analytics and on-demand playback. Flowplayer views itself to be lightweight for faster loading to sanction for a better user experience with optimized playback. It is supportive of HLS, MPEG-DASH, mp4 and has a variety of plug-ins, for instance, support for DRM, AirPlay, analytics, etc. It additionally provides CDN support for content distribution.

It is built for rudimental and external video use cases as a video platform. It is most certainly not made for private internal video streaming as it lacks in terms of security and access management capabilities. There is however no flexibility in terms of its deployment method.

  1. JWPlayer

This is another HTML5 video player that eventually transformed into a video platform. This video player is highly customizable along with support for adaptive bitrate streaming, closed captions, and more. The player is customizable as well, in terms of the look you opt for. It alongside has a video platform that provides video transcoding, packaging, and CDN support for content distribution. The video platform for JWPlayer is a very rudimentary platform that accommodates external use cases with no capabilities for private streaming, secure sharing, access management, etc.

  1. Hls.js

Hls.js has been formulated on a JavaScript library and is handled by a community of developers as a free and open-source solution. It is a standalone HTML5 video player which fortifies HLS (m3u8) streams as well as fragments MP4. The player depends on HTML5 video and makes use of the Media Source Extensions (MSE) to avail in video playback. Hls.js fortifies live streaming, on-demand streaming, closed captions, DRM, and much more. The player fortifies adaptive bitrate streaming and has built-in analytics too.

  1. PrestoPlayer

Our final recommendation is a way simpler HTML5 video player solution without the drawback of one losing their video ownership, for example, in the case of YouTube. The one unique thing about this video player is that it recognizes as a WordPress video player, available as a plug-in on WordPress in order to stream an HTML5 video. This player additionally provides YouTube and Vimeo support. You can also integrate closed captions (VTT format) on the video player and brand them to your liking.

The key takeaway is that HTML5 has opened up a lot more avenues for video streaming online and amended the viewing experience via enabling capabilities such as adaptive bitrate streaming. You can either choose a standalone video player, only if you wish to take on the challenge of developing the video distribution and management process from the ground up.

Mogi’s Proprietary Video Tech

Mogi’s Video Tech solutions are available end-to-end (Video Transcoding + Video Player + Mogi Streaming Engine (Multi-CDN delivery) + DRM + Video Analytics) or you can use individual products from the entire suite like just the Video Transcoding. Mogi also provides white-label end-to-end plug n play solutions for OTT and Edtech Platforms, with Web, Android and iOS apps as well as a dedicated CMS for OTT and LMS for EdTech.

One of the best individual products we have is our Transcoding Architecture, which is a unique cluster-based process, does the transcoding within 30% of the content length. The transcoding architecture’s result includes a highly compressed video of up to 50% with no loss in quality, and if you choose quality enhancement, a 40% compression with the enhanced video quality.

The pricing for Transcoding is very competitive as well, and along with it you get a highly compressed output with the same or higher quality. This means not only is your contractual pricing is low due to competitive pricing, but your bandwidth consumption also reduces, and user experiences increase multifold. It’s a win-win for all of us (Users, Clients, Mogi).

Contact us now to make your website load faster, rank Higher on SEO, and reduce bounce rates – susheel.srinivas@mogiio.com

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