Update 1 August 2022
Flash is no longer activated in browsers. As this implies a serious impact for website owners using RTMP and HLS adaptive streaming videos and audios, we show you the possible options to ensure you can keep delivering video and audio to your audience.
But first, to make clear what is going on, here is an excerpt from what Google says about the subject:
Adobe Flash Player played a pivotal role in the adoption of video, gaming and animation on the web. Today, sites typically use technologies like HTML5, giving you improved security, reduced power consumption and faster page load times. Going forward, Chrome will de-emphasize Flash in favor of HTML5.
Full article: https://blog.google/products/chrome/flash-and-chrome/
With de-emphasize they actually meant killing it, which they gradually did.
Below an overview of the impact this may have depending on your situation:
What happens to Progressive download?
Not much, actually. If you use this method, it remains working as long as the player or embedding code has either a fallback method to HTML5 or is already HTLM5 compliant. But videos in FLV format need to be converted to mp4, since FLV is Flash native.
What happens to RTMP streaming?
RTMP streaming is dead. So far, most players based on Flash have an HTML5 fallback, so in most cases, the worst that can happen is that the player switches to progressive download, on the conditions that you provided an html5 fallback link.
However, if you use RTMP streaming to protect your videos and audios from downloading (which is too easy with progressive download) you may want to switch HLS adaptive streaming.
What happens to HLS adaptive streaming?
Although HLS adaptive streaming uses Flash also, there are video players that found a way to play it via html5, where-under JW Player, FlowPlayer and VideoJS. This means that HLS adaptive streaming is a good replacement for RTMP streaming, although we can’t look further than 5 years ahead (which is like an age in IT-country).
Technically, HLS adaptive streaming is more complex than RTMP streaming, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) makes it a little easier for you.
Have a look at the following tutorial to get an idea what this involves:
HLS adaptive streaming tutorials with CloudFront and JW Player
If you don’t want to fiddle with the technical details of HLS, you can always rent a video service like Wowza, Brightcove and others but the cost will go up considerably, compared with AWS. In fact, many video services use AWS and charge from 20% up to 30% on top of the bandwidth fees.
Which players support HLS adaptive streaming in HTML5 mode?
There are various players that can show HLS adaptive streaming in HTML5 mode, the most prominent are:
- JW Player
JW Player supports HLS adaptive streaming with HTML5 and it is to my mind still the best industry standard around, but the premium license fee to use HLS is quite high, at this time of writing $299 per year.
FlowPlayer is good as well and it has a one-time fee of $99 at this time of writing.
Video.js supports HLS adaptive streaming with HTML5 but you have to install a plugin, which involves installing many files and setup isn’t that easy. But it performes really well and it is totally free.
All three have a plugin for WordPress to make publishing a little easier.
What is the impact for current JW Player users?
If you use JW Player for RTMP streaming and you want to switch to HLS adaptive streaming, you need to buy the premium license. It is not possible to use this protocol with the free player. In fact, most industry standard players will require a paid license, including FlowPlayer.
Secondly, you should update to the latest version because HLS adaptive streaming can also play in HTLM5 mode from version 7.4 and higher. JW Player 6 will become obsolete with regard to HLS adaptive streaming as it still requires Flash. You may also have to change ‘primary‘ to ‘html5‘ if it was set to: ‘primary’:’flash’;
In June 2017, the primary setting will be deprecated and the player will default to html5.
See also this blog article by JW Player for more information on required changes: https://www.jwplayer.com/blog/deprecation-flash/