New Secure Video Player

This might just be our most exciting platform release yet. We are officially rolling out our new video player, with support for Ultra-HD video formats, variable playback speed, social sharing and downloading through the player, true adaptive bitrate streaming, thumbnail images displayed when seeking, and more.

This is a major change across our entire platform, and marks a huge step away from the Flash player it’s replacing. Keep reading to get the full scoop on our new player!

Packed With Features

When designing our new player, knowing it would impact all current and future customers, we wanted to create a smoother, sharper, more social, and secure solution for online video. The result is our new video player, and we couldn’t be more proud of how it turned out.

The player itself is HTML5 first, with a Flash fallback for older browsers that don’t support HTML5, so you can be confident your videos will stream smoothly no matter which browser or device your viewers are using.

Added Security

With our new video streaming protocol, all videos are delivered over HTTPS, and are encrypted using industry standard AES-128 encryption. When streaming to your viewers, all video assets are delivered using signed, expiring, URLs to prevent downloading, hotlinking, or misappropriation of your video files.

Ultra-HD Video Playback

Our new player supports Ultra-HD video formats, including 1080p, 2K, 4K and 8K for video playback, meaning your videos will look better than ever on the SproutVideo platform. You can leave the new player set to Auto during playback, allowing it to automatically deliver the best version of your video that your internet connection can support, or, you can select between the different versions of your video available, from 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, 2K, 4K, or 8K.

For current account holders, we will be backporting your existing video library to this new video delivery method, and converting your videos for you. If you elected to retain your source video, then we will use that version of your video to transcode to the new format. If you didn’t, we will use the highest encoded resolution of your video available when transcoding it.

You don’t need to re-upload any content. All new videos are now encoded for for our new video delivery method. This process will be done on a rolling basis until every video on our platform is optimized for the best viewer experience possible with our new player.

Not only will your videos look sharper, but will also stream at up to 60 frames per second for ultra smooth playback.

As an added benefit, your videos will look better before viewers even click play. We made changes to how the default poster frame is generated and selected for your videos after uploading them to our platform, so you’re less likely to wind up with a blank image.

True Adaptive Bitrate Streaming

For something that sounds really technical, true adaptive bitrate streaming is actually a very simple concept. When you upload a video to our platform, we will automatically encode multiple versions of that file to optimize delivery to your viewers at different internet connection speeds, and on different devices.

Our player automatically detects your viewers’ connection speeds, and will stream the best version of your video that their connection can support. With true adaptive bitrate streaming, playback will adjust throughout their viewing session to ensure they are always receiving the best version possible, while minimizing the chance of any buffering.

Variable Playback Speeds

Now, you can choose to view your videos slowed dramatically down, or sped way up! We support video playback at 0.25x, 0.5x, 1x, 1.5x and 2x normal playback speeds. Want to breeze through that lecture, or review that sports play in detailed slow motion? We’ve got you covered.

Social Sharing

Video isn’t just about security, it’s also about sharing entertaining content, and what easier way to do that than through the player? With social sharing options enabled, viewers can now quickly access a menu of choices for passing your video on to their friends and followers, helping you reach new audiences with your video. By default, social sharing is not enabled for your videos.

Where possible, your video will playback automatically in the timeline, and will display your selected poster frame for your video. For platforms where this isn’t possible, your video poster frame will appear and will link back to your embedded video URL or video landing page, helping you drive traffic from social media to your website of choice.

Embed Code Sharing

Say you want to allow clients or other connections to embed your video on their website. With embed code sharing options enabled for our new player, viewers can easily copy and paste your video embed code and help promote your content on their websites. This can benefit you by extending your reach to new audiences and raising brand awareness. By default, embed code sharing is not enabled for your videos.

Downloading Options

Although downloading is not enabled by default for videos on the SproutVideo platform, you can enable it if you’d like, with new options to allow viewers to download your content directly through the player. Especially for embedded videos, this will simplify the downloading process dramatically. The options for downloading include different SD and HD versions of your video, as well as the source video file (if you enabled the option to retain it within your account).

Images for Faster Seeking

To help viewers quickly locate the section of your video they want to watch or rewatch, we now generate and display thumbnails along the seekbar. Especially helpful for longer videos, this new feature will improve the viewer experience by enabling faster, more accurate seeking within your video.

Sleeker Look

In response to user feedback, we reduced the size of the tool bar for our video player, even though we packed it with new features, ensuring all attention is on your content. We also revamped the screens for email address collection, password protected and login protected videos to better coordinate with our new player, especially when custom colors are being used. Those screens are also now responsive, so they will automatically adjust to any size screen your viewer might use when watching your videos.

Keyboard Shortcuts

For keyboard shortcuts, you can now use the spacebar to start and stop playback, the left and right arrow keys jump 5 seconds backwards and forwards, the period key “.” and the comma key “,” go frame-by-frame, the up and down arrow will adjust the volume up and down in 5% increments, and the F key can be used to go fullscreen.

The Features You Know and Love

While we added a ton of features when building our new player, we didn’t throw any out, either. You can still use subtitles (closed captions) or completely customize our player to your hearts content in the same ways as before (changing colors, showing or hiding controls, looping, autoplay, etc). Also, all of our embed code types, including the lightbox, responsive, and inline options, all work exactly as before with our new player.

We really, truly, hope you love our new player! We worked very hard on it and are extremely proud of the end result. If you have any feedback or questions about the new player, please contact our support team. If you want to try it out for yourself, open a free trial account and upload a video today!

Written by Courtney Purchon

Courtney is the Head of Marketing at SproutVideo. Follow her on Twitter.

Posted July 14, 2016

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