Media Format Reference

This article lists all file, streaming, and playlist formats JW Player officially supports.

Table Of Contents

Overview

JW Player 7 officially supports 11 distinct media formats:

  • 3 video file types: MP4, WebM and FLV.
  • 3 audio file types: AAC, MP3 and Vorbis.
  • 3 streaming protocols: HLS, RTMP, and DASH.
  • YouTube videos, using the official iFrame API.
  • RSS feeds, using enclosures or the Media or JWPlayer extension.

Under certain circumstances, JW Player may play additional formats (like Ogg videos or ShoutCast streams), but only the above are cross-browser tested and officially supported. JW Player does not decode audio or video itself, but instead relies upon two underlying browser technologies: the HTML5 <video> element and the Adobe Flash plugin. Details are listed below.

The JW Player tries to recognize a file format by its extension (e.g. .mp4 for MP4 videos). If the extension of your files is not recognized, the player will display an error. However, if you know your file is in a supported format, you can use the type configuration option to force the player to recognize the file as being of that format. See the Configuration Options Reference for more info.

Supported Video Files

  • MP4 videos using the H.264 video codec and the AAC audio codec. MP4 is of high quality and can be played in all browsers and devices. It is today's video format of choice.
  • FLV videos using the H.263 video codec and the MP3 audio codec. FLV is of lower quality than MP4 and only supported in browsers that run Flash. We highly suggest re-encoding content to MP4 to allow for HTML5 compatibility.
  • WebM videos using the VP8 video codec and the Vorbis audio codec. WebM is royalty free and of comparable quality to MP4. It has limited browser and device support.
  mp4 flv webm
Extension(s) mp4, m4v, f4v, mov flv webm
Mimetype video/mp4 video/flv video/webm
Internet Explorer 9+ html5, flash 1 flash -
Chrome html5, flash flash html5
Firefox html5, flash 3 flash html5
Safari html5, flash flash -
iOS html5 - -
Android html5 - html5 2

1 Flash playback will be used in Internet Explorer 9
2 WebM support as of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
3 MP4 playback in HTML5 is not supported in Windows XP

For information regarding video file embeds, see our dedicated video embedding page.

Supported Audio Files

  • AAC: AAC is of high quality and supported by all browsers and devices.
  • MP3: Though not as good in quality as AAC, MP3 is very widely used. Many existing audio libraries are encoded in MP3.
  • Vorbis: Vorbis is royalty-free, but has limited browser and device support.
  aac mp3 vorbis
Extension(s) aac, m4a, f4a mp3 ogg, oga
Mimetype audio/mp4 audio/mpeg audio/ogg
Internet Explorer 9+ html5, flash 1 html5, flash 1 -
Chrome html5, flash html5, flash html5
Firefox html5, flash 3 html5, flash html5
Safari html5, flash html5, flash -
iOS html5 html5 -
Android html5 html5 html5 2

1 Audio playback in Internet Explorer 9 will only work via Flash
2 Vorbis support as of Android 4.0+ (Ice Cream Sandwich).
3 AAC playback in HTML5 only supported on Windows.

For information regarding audio file embeds, see our dedicated audio embedding page.

YouTube Videos

In addition to self-hosted audio and video files, JW Player includes native support for playing YouTube videos. This is possible through built-in support for the iFrame API for HTML5 playback.

More information about embedding with Youtube can be found on our Youtube Video Embed article.

Streaming Protocols

JW Player supports three types of streaming protocols:

  • MPEG's DASH protocol, using XML manifests and split media files. Like HLS, DASH utilizes standard HTTP, making it both easy to deploy, and firewall-resilient. JW7 supports DASH on mobile and desktop browsers, but only for Premium licenses or higher. See About DASH Streaming for more info.
  • Apple's HLS protocol, using M3U8 manifest files and TS media files. HLS builds upon standard HTTP, making it easy to deploy and firewall resilient. All JW Player editions support HLS on mobile devices, but only the Premium and higher support HLS on desktop browsers. See Using Apple HLS Streaming for more info.
  • Adobe's RTMP protocol, using either a single media file or a SMIL manifest. RTMP requires dedicated server software and is often blocked by firewalls. See Using RTMP Streaming for more info.

Here is an overview of the recognized file extensions and mimetypes for these protocols, plus their browser playback support:

  RTMP (Direct) RTMP (Manifest) HLS (Direct/Manifest) DASH (Direct/Manifest)4
Extension(s) - SMIL M3U8 MPD
Mimetype application/x-fcs application/smil application/vnd.apple.mpegurl application/dash+xml
Internet Explorer Flash Flash Flash 1 HTML53
Chrome Desktop Flash Flash Flash 1 HTML5
Firefox Desktop Flash Flash Flash 1 -
Safari Desktop Flash Flash HTML5, Flash 1 HTML5
Safari iOS - - HTML5 -
Android Browser - - HTML5 2 -
Android Chrome - - HTML5 2 HTML5

1 HLS in Flash is only supported by JW Premium or higher licenses
2 Can only be enabled on by setting the option "androidhls: true" within your JW Player embed. HLS will only work on Android 4.1+.
3 Internet Explorer 11+ only
4 DASH is only supported by JW Premium or higher licenses

RSS Feeds

An RSS feed is a basic XML file, used to load a playlist with one or more media items into JW Player. For each entry, JW Player can read metadata, poster image, media sources and text tracks from the feed. Loading of RSS feeds differs slightly from other formats, since they use the playlist option instead of file. More information can be found on our RSS feed article.

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