Introducing JW8

Table Of Contents

JW Player 8 is our fastest and easiest-to-use player to date. For this major release, we’re bringing a major skin overhaul, which was designed to give our customers more branding customization options than ever.

For a full list of features that have been added, please see our JW8 release notes.

Getting Onto JW8

You can create a new JW8 player or update an existing JW7 player by logging into your dashboard.

Customers with self-hosting zip access can download zip files as usual. Please note that JW Player 8 will not work with a JW7 license key. You can find your new JW8 license key on your account page.

General Changes

  • JW8 significantly improves upon our existing preloading feature by being smarter about when preloading occurs and how much is preloaded. We’ve also taken steps to reduce bandwidth consumption for publishers that load multiple video players on a single page by only preloading players that are more than 50% viewable. In JW8, players are set to preload: metadata by default so that playback starts immediately for click-to-play video players once a user initiates playback.
  • We’ve fine-tuned our core library with the goal of decreasing setup time. By reducing the size of jwplayer.js, the player sets up faster and more quickly determines which additional assets are needed to begin media playback.
  • JW8 introduces intelligent asset bundling. Based on a combination of the media type contained in playlists and the viewer’s browser, we’ve optimized the player to make fewer network requests for the most common use cases of video playback, thereby reducing latency costs associated with setup times.
  • As JW Player continues to expand its footprint, we’ve realized that our publishers have grown large audiences that consume video directly from Facebook’s app. We’ve expanded our test coverage to include Facebook’s browser on iOS and Android, which JW8 will officially support.
  • In JW8, the new default dimensions of the player are 640x360, compared to 480x270 in JW7.
For more information regarding changes to our core API, visit our Introduction to JavaScript API guide.

Removed Features

Compared to JW7, the following functionality has been removed entirely from JW Player 8:

  • Flash as a primary provider. The primary configuration has been deprecated so that players cannot be forced to render in Flash. All JW8 players will render in HTML5, except in IE11 on Windows 7 devices, where Flash is required for HLS playback. Flash provider is also removed from the open-source jwplayer project.
  • YouTube and RTMP support.
  • All complimentary JW7 skins. JW8 debuts our all-new default skin featuring a transparent control bar, tooltips, and a modern interface, which carry over to ads and audio only modes. 
  • The timeSliderAbove configuration option. In JW8, the time slider will always be displayed above the control bar buttons, except during ads.
  • API calls that were deprecated in JW7 – onEvent events, which should be replaced with on(‘event’) — have been removed from JW8. These can be used for a short time with our backward compatibility script. If you have self-hosted implementation containing custom Javascript that uses any of these methods or events, you will need to include jwplayer.compatibility.js on the page after jwplayer.js

User Interface and Skin Changes

It’s been two years since JW7 was released, and design best practices have come a long way since then. This is why we’re introducing a refreshed, modern default skin that can easily be configured to fit your branding needs. In JW8, quick API customizations will replace the need for custom skins.

​JW8 comes with 11 skin configuration options out of the box, compared to just three in JW7, allowing for more granular control over brand identity in the player. With such granular control, it’s easier than ever to customize the player with little to no engineering effort. In addition to Hex values, RGBa, and color names are now supported. 

Other interface updates include:

  • In JW7, publishers had to modify our font or create their own in order to change the icons used in the player’s controls. This was a huge pain point each time we added new features to the player that required a new control bar icon. JW8 introduces an all new set of controls which boast highly optimized SVGs that not only look and perform better, but make it easier for publishers to customize our controls to suit their branding needs. The majority of the icons have been redesigned for JW8.
  • JW8 introduces a new global menu, which is accessible via the gear icon in the control bar. It reduces clutter in the control bar, especially at smaller player sizes on touch devices where we limit the number of icons based on UX best practices for touch targets. The following icons that previously had their own tooltip menus are now part of the global menu: quality, audio, captions, and playback rates. Captions still has a dedicated icon in the control bar due for accessibility. 
  • Add a logo to the control bar by using logo.position: “control-bar”.
  • The control bar now uses flexbox, which simplifies the DOM structure and CSS. Icons are no longer grouped in left, center, and right divs.
  • Changed all dock icons from being positioned in the upper-right corner to the control bar. The addButton API now adds buttons to the control bar. These buttons will be added to the right of the logo if the logo is present in the control bar.
For more information on skinning, see our Configuration Reference and Skinning Reference.

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