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 12 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.
  • JSON feeds, formatted the same way as our embedded playlists.(JW 7.3.0+)

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) mp41 flv webm
Mimetype video/mp4 video/flv video/webm
Internet Explorer 9+ html5, flash 2 flash -
Chrome html5, flash flash html5
Firefox html5, flash 3 flash html5
Safari html5, flash flash -
iOS html5 - -
Android html5 - html5 4

1 Additional extension support depends on individual browser
2 Flash playback will be used in Internet Explorer 9
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 both Flash and HTML5. 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.

Note: Rendering content in Flash with AES enabled may heavily impact 4K performance. We suggest using HTML5 whenever possible.

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 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 HTML5 5Flash 1 HTML5
Firefox Desktop Flash Flash Flash 1 HTML5 6
Safari Desktop Flash Flash HTML5, Flash 1 -
Microsoft Edge 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+ (Windows 8.1 & 10) only
4 DASH is only supported by JW Premium or higher licenses
5 HLS is playable in HTML5 in Chrome using JW Player 7.4.2, or higher, and by either enabling the option in the cloud-hosted player configuration, or by adding "hlshtml: true" to your embed code
6 DASH is playable in Firefox 45, or higher, using JW Player 7.4.2, or higher

Playlist Feeds

JW Player 7.3 and higher 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. As of JW Player 7.3, JSON playlists can be loaded as external files.

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