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Should I upgrade to JW Player Pro 6 or Premium?

By Rudolf Boogerman | Share this with your favorite social network
11 comments... Click to Contribute.

Update 24 September 2014: A question that pops up regularly these days is: “Should I upgrade to JW Player 6?”  This depends on which features of JW Player you are using currently. JW Player 6 has a new set of advanced features which are surely worthwhile to investigate, but keep in mind there are quite a few changes in the embedding code and some plugins become obsolete.


If you have already a load of videos or audios on your site and embedded the code by hand, you will have to change the embedding code for each instance.
Customized skins needs to be adapted as well and the old Related videos plugin and other third party plugins are obsolete.  Here is a full overview of changes:

Support for HTML5 fallback has improved considerably and the behavior of the Flash player changed quite a lot as well, being now more or less in line with YouTube. This has the advantage that visitors who frequent YouTube often will be more at home with JW Player then ever.

Some observations while I’m studying JW Player 6:
Updated on 24 September 2014 – testing JW player 6.10

As I go along, I will add items to this list, so you may want to check from time to time.

Example video using JW player 6.10:

I wish I could show an example directly in this site, but  Miracle Tutorials is using S3Media Stream™ with JW player 5.10, so there is a conflict there. But you can have a look at this test page where I tinker around with JW player 6.5 in preparation for the new version of S3Media Stream™: Notice how the responsiveness of the player works and the multilingual subtitles, although I still have a problem with the French subtitles file at this time of writing.
Be aware that this may not work on tablets or non-flash browsers currently. It also changes regularly as I add new features.

License policy changes

Another consideration is the yearly renewal plan which adds to the cost considerably. So far, you paid once for your player, but from version 6.0 onward, a yearly renewal is required. Also, if you have a multi-site license, it will become obsolete as well. Currently, you can buy either a 1 site license or a 10 site license. It is possible to get a license for more than 10 sites.  You can contact Longtailvideo about this here:

JW Player Pro vs JW Player Premium

JW Player Pro is comparable with JW Player 5.10, except that internally a couple of things have improved, while other features are dropped (see also observations above). The new version has better HTML5 handling and supports more HTML5 browsers.
Flash support for Android has been dropped as Android changes gear quite often, so Longtailvideo deemed it wiser to fallback on HTML5 for all Android devices.
The Pro version can only be used on 1 site.

JW Player Premium allows you to place it on up to 10 websites. It has a couple of very interesting features you do not find on JW Player Pro:

A full overview of features can be found here:

We will keep the older tutorials on the site for those of you who wish to remain using JW Player 5.10, but it is possible that some features will be dropped. Like AdSolutions will no longer work. Longtailvideo created a new system that is subscription based. See the right column in

We are in the process of upgrading S3Media Stream™ to the new JW Player version. When finished, we will create a new tutorial on how to embed videos and audios with JW Player 6.0. Note also that Longtailvideo has to upgrade their plugins for Joomla, WordPress and Drupal. If you use one of those plugins, you need to wait until they are released.


Back to the question: “Should I upgrade or not?”
If you are happy with the features of JW Player 5.10, and your audience is happy with the way you serve your video or audios, there is actually no reason to upgrade.
But keep in mind that the rich media industry evolves all the time and the new player is adapted to the new situation in a sense that it allows for better HTML5 support.
On top of that, the market share of tablets not supporting Flash is growing exponentially so you may find at some point that your audience has problems viewing your content.
Also, Longtailvideo may decide to disable some features native to version 5.10 and lower. therefore you might want to keep using 5.10 JW player confirmed in hte meantime that no features will be dropped in the foreseeable future since there are still many sites with older versions of JW player. That said, I advice you to download the free version of JW Player 6.10 to get acquainted with it, so that you can migrate when the need is there.

Topics: Software reviews, Working with JW player | Site search | Write comment
This article has 11 comments.


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11 Responses to “Should I upgrade to JW Player Pro 6 or Premium?”

  1. Peter
    Peter Says:
    February 12th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    This is really a time saver for me. Thank you very much for this overview. I’m excited about the google analytics tool. How does it work?

  2. Jeroen Wijering
    Jeroen Wijering Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 4:56 am

    One of my colleagues came across your excellent article. Thanks a lot for all this research!

    Upgrading from JW Player 5 to 6 is indeed not straightforward. JW5 is really the last iteration of a “Flash only” player. JW6 is the first iteration of the “HTML5 first” player. Hence the many changes in both config and UX. Note we’re still looking into adding a controlbar=bottom feature and subtitles on mobile.

    The overall star of the 6.0 release (and the Premium) player has been support for Apple HLS in Flash. This targets a more specific audience (publishers with live streams or long-form content), but is nontheless a huge time+money saver over traditional HLS+RTMP solutions.

    As to the yearly subscription piece: we went there really fast without yet having all the features to justify the recurring part. However, over the next few month you will see from us a set of JW Player services that are part of the subscription: Video Analytics (by video, device, referrer, geo), a CDN Hosted player (easy install, reliably delivery, auto upgrade) and more.

  3. Rudolf Boogerman
    Rudolf Boogerman Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Thanks for the additional information, Jeroen. Is there a possibility to look into re-implementing dock buttons or is that out of the question with the new setup?

  4. Rudolf Boogerman
    Rudolf Boogerman Says:
    February 13th, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    We will investigate that later on, Peter. We did not get that far yet ;-)

  5. Marco Valsecchi
    Marco Valsecchi Says:
    April 12th, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Hi, about the “Skins” point I can suggest this online tool that I made to speed up the packaging process:

    Yes the final xml file is bigger (the same size of all the source files) but the browser do a single request for it and it can cache it (you can finally put the skin on a CDN).

  6. Regular Streamer
    Regular Streamer Says:
    July 27th, 2013 at 1:33 am

    One thing you didn’t mention, was the CPU/GPU usage for Flash.

    I have found, comparing JW5 to latest JW 6.5, significant improvement in that area.
    MacBook 13″ from 80 to 30-35% full screen on 2Mbit live Flash stream.

    I believe it has to do with ‘StageVideo’. Try it yourself and let us know :)

  7. Rudolf Boogerman
    Rudolf Boogerman Says:
    July 27th, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    There are certainly improvements with the new JW player. I’ll check Stagevideo out. thanks for the suggestion!

  8. Alex
    Alex Says:
    July 12th, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Our company has used JW5 for a couple of years now on a VOD website. After firsthand experience with the player, both 5 and 6, more importantly their technical support. I would never recommend them or the player to anyone. They change their code too frequently and dismiss their paying client interests.

    I’m not going to go into great detail here but we have decided to go with a more consistent OSM player.

    Simply put. If you’re running a production site, stay away from Longtail.

  9. Rudolf Boogerman
    Rudolf Boogerman Says:
    July 14th, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Hi Alex,
    Sorry to hear you had problems with support. I experienced no problems with them myself. They generally respond the same day.
    It is a fact that JWplayer 6 is rewritten from scratch, therefore the embedding code is different indeed. But version 5.x has been stable for over 5 years and it is from time to time necessary to sweep the slate clean to keep up with today’s requirements. After all, the video industry is going through lots of changes rapidly. Therefore, I do not agree with your assessment that JWplayer is not fit for production sites.

  10. Denver Morgan
    Denver Morgan Says:
    October 2nd, 2014 at 10:55 am

    we have been using JW player for a while now we are a small church but if we have to start paying every year i think we will just find another player to use its already expensive enough to stream live content and this just makes it even more so..

  11. Rudolf Boogerman
    Rudolf Boogerman Says:
    October 5th, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Hi Denver,
    You have a point there. However, You can still use JWplayer 5.10. or use FlowPlayer:


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