Media Format Reference

This article lists all file, streaming, and playlist formats JW Player 8+ officially supports. For JW7, see the JW7 Media Format Reference.

Table Of Contents


JW Player 8 officially supports the following media formats:

  • 2 video file types: MP4 and WebM.
  • 3 audio file types: AAC, MP3 and Vorbis.
  • 2 streaming protocols: HLS and DASH.
  • RSS feeds, using enclosures or the Media or JWPlayer extension.
  • JSON feeds, formatted the same way as our embedded playlists.
Please note that RTMP and YouTube are not supported in JW8.

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. The newest codec, H.265, can be uploaded to JW Platform, but it will be converted to H.264, until further browser support for this codec is available.
  • 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 webm
Extension(s) mp41 webm
Mimetype video/mp4 video/webm
Internet Explorer 11+ html5, flash 2 -
Chrome html5 html5
Firefox html53 html5
Safari html5 -
iOS html5 -
Android html5 html5 4

1 Additional extension support depends on individual browser
2 Flash playback will be used in Internet Explorer 11 with Windows 7
3 MP4 playback in HTML5 is not supported in Windows XP
4 WebM support as of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)

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

4K Video

JW Player is fully capable of handling 4K video in HTML5 mode. However, please be aware that the ability to play content is highly dependent on hardware and connection speed. We suggest minimum specs similar to the following:

  • 2013 or later multicore Intel or AMD processor
  • A video card capable of outputting 4K signal. Check your manufacturer’s website to confirm that your video card can output 4K. We suggest cards similar to the following:
    • Nvidia GeForce 650 Ti
    • AMD Radeon 7XXX
    • Intel 4000+ Series Graphics
  • An internet connection capable of consistent 25Mb download

4K video can be very taxing on a system and its internet connection. Quality of playback may therefore vary from system to system.

60FPS Content

Much like 4K content, JW Player is also capable of handling video in 60FPS, though it is more taxing on hardware and bandwidth. Both of these requirements are effectively doubled, compared to 30FPS variants, since there are twice as many frames being rendered in the same time period. As with 4K, please keep this in mind when targeting your media's audience.

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 11+ html5, flash 1 html5, flash 1 -
Chrome html5 html5 html5
Firefox html53 html5 html5
Safari html5 html5 -
iOS html5 html5 -
Android html5 html5 html5 2

1 Audio playback in Internet Explorer 11 with Windows 7 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.

Streaming Protocols

JW Player 8 supports two 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. As of JW8, HLS is provided at all JW Player subscription levels. To learn more about creating HLS outside of JW Platform, please see Using Apple HLS Streaming.
  • Adobe's RTMP protocol is not supported in JW Player.

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

  HLS (Direct/Manifest) DASH (Direct/Manifest)
Extension(s) M3U8 MPD
Mimetype application/ application/dash+xml
Internet Explorer HTML5 1, Flash 2 HTML5 1
Chrome for Mac/Win HTML5  HTML5
Firefox for Mac/Win HTML5  HTML5 
Safari for Mac HTML5 -
Microsoft Edge HTML5 HTML5
Safari for iOS HTML5 -
Chrome for Android HTML5 1 HTML5

1 Internet Explorer 11+ (Windows 8.1 & 10) only
2 Flash is still required and will be used for playback in IE11 Windows 7


Playlist Feeds

JW Player support playlist feeds in both RSS/XML format, and JSON format.

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.

A JSON feed formatted in the same way as our embedded playlists and can be loaded as external files.

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