JW Media Player

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Jeroen Wijering's Media Player (affectionately known as the JW Media Player; also branded as Longtail Video player or Longtail Video solutions) is an excellent free, open source Flash-based Media Player system. The player is fully featured, including the ability to embed external controls[1], the support for a variety of playlist formats [2] and an incredibly large number of other supported Flash variables such as a Recommendations post-roll, video size, resolution, watermarks, Ad overlays (commercial LongTail Ads version only), among others.[3]

JW Media Player is released under the Creative Commons License [4], which permits the author to decide how their work can and can not be used. Though it is free and open source for non-commercial projects, for commercial or enterprise projects a license must be purchased.




Presents a list of videos (as clickable thumbnails) after the video is finished playing.

The Grid

Presents a 3D-looking interactive wall of videos (as clickable thumbnails) as a menu for choosing which video to play. By default this turns autoplay off and requires a user to select a video before any content will play.

Tip Jar

Allows people to donate to a site/person/cause.

Longtail Ads




JW Player v9.x

JW Player v8.x

JW Player v7.x

Preferred version: 2017-present (supported until 2020)

[15] [16]

JW Player v6.x

Preferred version: 2015-2016 (support ended 2017)

This version was short-lived and development on v7.x started quickly (the only major change it brought about was fully supporting playlists interchangeably in both HTML5 & Flash modes, via JSON & RSS playlist formats). BC$ MobileTV did not do any consulting work with this version whatsoever, only some minor experimentation with the new JSON playlists.

  • JW player v6.x: ???

JW Player v5.x

Preferred version: 2012-2014 (support ended 2015)

This version made waves as the first to officially set "HTML5 video" as the default video player format, and "HTML5 audio" as the default audio player format; likewise a simple <img> tag was used to display images, with JavaScript used to enable Image-based playlists (i.e. gallery effect). It did a good job of convincing previous abandoners that JW Player was "back and better than ever", with its new "mobile-first, support every format, playback in HTML5 if possible, fallback to Flash where necessary" approach. This is the direction the industry had been heading in anyway, but the JW team did a great job at providing a simple, clear and reliable formula for reaching the broadest possible combination of devices, OS's, browsers, and versions.

It introduced:

  1. Bits-On-The-Run Cloud-based delivery option

JavaScript API Reference: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/jw-player/jw-player-for-flash-v5/12540/javascript-api-reference

JW Player v4.x

Preferred version: 2009-2011 (support ended 2013)

This version was the first to be released after JW Player was amalgamated with other properties and projects by Jeroen Wijering and the broader Online Video community, thereby making JW Player a Business entity rather than just the web's most beloved media player and hobby project. As such, its contributions were almost entirely monetarily focused, bringing about an entirely new plugin mechanism along with a "paid plugin" and "paid skin/theme" marketplace which baffled and frustrated many long-time advocates, supporters, and developers who contributed to JW Player along its meteoric growth. While pitched as a way for developers to "finally start making money from their contributions" to JW Player, which has always enjoyed a vibrant community, the revenue-sharing model left much to be desired, with developers only taking a percentage of their plugin's sales. During this time, many developers and consultants switched to the largest rival player OSS community media player, FlowPlayer (BC$ MobileTV did not switch outright but all new projects weighed the options and usually selected FlowPlayer).

It introduced:

  1. Longtail Video - a cloud-based Advertising platform
  2. Ad Model - Support for VAST
  3. Ad Model - Support for VPAID
  4. player plugin/extension framework
  5. skinning/themes
  6. marketplace for skins/themes & plugins/extensions

JW Player v3.x

Preferred version: 2006-2008 (support ended 2010)

This was perhaps the most widely used and thus longest supported version of the JW Player. Back then, about 75% of all Online Video destination sites, from the major providers down to independent/viral video hosting services all used JW Player, and this is the version they went with. It was also one of the most innovative at the time.

It introduced:

  1. SWFobject alternative JavaScript embed method (which was becoming the industry preferred manner for deploying Flash safely/consistently across browsers/versions)
  2. Playlists (via XSPF spec support, a later version added mRSS, Atom/RSS & iTunes/RSS and even Microsoft's ASX)
  3. Recommendations (via OpenRecommender spec support, would only display after video plays completely and limited but some DIY styling options)
  4. Pre-roll Ads (by being able to prevent player from playing via code, unless an ad was viewed, but very DIY via JS)
  5. Mid-roll Ad mechanism (only a proof-of-concept at this point, very DIY but workable with only a little lag/jitter)
  6. Post-roll Ad mechanism (full platform with integration to Google AdSense, potentially other Banner/Display Ad Networks if done DIY)
  7. Close Captions synchronization mechanism (via SMIL spec support)
  8. Subtitles synchronization mechanism (via TimedText spec support)
  • JW Player v3.x -- Legacy Docs:

JW Player v2.x

Preferred version: 2004-2005 (support ended 2006)

It introduced:

  1. Support for also playing MPEG-encoded MP4 files via Flash player object
  2. New method for embedding via JavaScript (rather than just static <OBJECT> <EMBED> tags pointing to the SWF)
  • JW Player v2.x:

JW Player v1.x

Preferred version: 2002-2003 (support ended 2004)

It introduced:

  1. Support for playing FLV videos via Flash player object
  2. Use of then popular Flash plugin[19][20] prevented need to directly stick video sources into page and depend on less stable/performant/consistent 3rd-party plugins (i.e. RealMedia, WindowMedia Player, AppleQuicktime)
  • Original version of JW Player:


External Links


  1. JavaScript API controls: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=Javascript_interaction
  2. JW Media Player Supported Playlist formats available here: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=Supported_Playlists
  3. JW Media Player's Supported Flashvars: http://www.jeroenwijering.com/?item=Supported_Flashvars
  4. wikipedia:Creative Commons License
  5. JW Player QA Team's Backup of Lars' Demos: http://qa.longtailvideo.com/demos/ethan/apitec/mediaplayer/
  6. BACKUP OF -- Lars Nyboe Andersen's JW Media Player mashups/demos (this guy is crazy talented): http://home5.inet.tele.dk/nyboe/flash/
  7. Playlist that works on iPhone/iPad:
  8. JW Player Conference 2014 - Casting Videos to the Big Screen (from everyone's favorite online video media player): http://content.jwplatform.com/previews/7KhxvNsS-S2xWVQ9r?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWkRFeU1UQTNZVE0wTmpaaCIsInQiOiJ1M2ZHUjFUdlVUN2ZsNG9oUUhhVUlCZHc5czYwdTM1ZXZhaWQ3dlJJQm1UQWhoN3hoMU0rT0ozUm0yN2owRkVWdkNmVEFXQmNTRFVHdG9kVWJ5Y1dqQzBxcm8rUjNteUxRTXNXRzIwdk1Kdz0ifQ%3D%3D
  9. Stackoverflow -- questions tagged JW Player: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/jwplayer
  10. JW Platform Management API reference: https://developer.jwplayer.com/jw-platform/reference/v1/methods/channels/index.html
  11. v8 Javascript API reference: https://developer.jwplayer.com/jw-player/docs/javascript-api-reference/
  12. JW Player -- Analytics: https://developer.jwplayer.com/jw-platform/docs/developer-guide/analytics-api/
  13. JW Embedder Reference Guide: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/jw-player/jw-player-for-flash-v5/15995/jw-embedder-reference-guide
  14. Introduction to the JW Player Javascript API: https://developer.jwplayer.com/jw-player/docs/developer-guide/api/javascript_api_introduction/
  15. ChromeCasting & AirPlay Updates in JW 7.9: https://www.jwplayer.com/blog/casting-airplay-jw7-9/
  16. JW Recommendations – Powerful Content Discovery: http://www.jwplayer.com/blog/recommendations-powerful-content-discovery/
  17. JW Player v5.x -- Recommendations – Powerful Content Discovery: http://www.jwplayer.com/blog/recommendations-powerful-content-discovery/
  18. JW Recommendations (WEBINAR): http://go.toutapp.com/405f5d876b05ab1de0
  19. Flash's peak market share:
  20. Historical Flash "website usage" market share (GRAPH): https://w3techs.com/technologies/history_overview/client_side_language/all/y
  21. window.resize event help (fire jwplayer.resize): http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/forums/jw-player/setup-issues-and-embedding/26064/windowresize-event-help
  22. Auto rescale of playlist player to adjust to browser dimensions?: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/forums/jw-player/using-playlists/22892/auto-rescale-of-playlist-player-to-adjust-to-browser-dimensions
  23. iPhone video player Using CSS to adjust JWP width: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/forums/jw-player/setup-issues-and-embedding/22885/iphone-using-css-to-adjust-jwp-width
  24. Video Player resize without re-instantiating: http://www.longtailvideo.com/support/forums/jw-player/feature-suggestions/1019/video-player-resize-without-re-instantiating
  25. JW API resize player EXAMPLE: http://developer.longtailvideo.com/contributors/nyboe/JW_API_xmpl_2-1-2-0.html
  26. Using FitVids.js with WordPress for responsive videos: http://kevindees.cc/2011/09/using-fitvids-js-with-wordpress-for-responsive-videos/
  27. 2010 Interview with JW Player founder Jeroen Wijering - History of JW & LongTail/BoTR: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDtrjrJ2oQw
  28. Jeroen Wijering "JW Player" - The Latest in Video Technology @ ReelSummit 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaivL_GGLsI
  29. How JW Player became the largest video player behind YouTube and Facebook: http://www.thedrum.com/news/2015/08/07/how-jw-player-became-largest-video-player-behind-youtube-and-facebook
  30. JW Player -- who is behind it? Who is Jeroen Wijering?: http://www.miracletutorials.com/jw-player-whois-jeroen-wijering/
  31. WHOISJW -- Free To Watch Documentary: https://www.jwplayer.com/blog/whoisjw-free-to-watch-documentary/
  32. WHO IS JW? A DOCUMENTARY OF AN ONLINE VIDEO SUPERHERO: http://tubularinsights.com/who-is-jw/
  33. Who is JW? - Facebook promo page: https://www.facebook.com/whoisjw/

See Also

Media Player | Advertising | Recommendations | OpenRecommender