Survey of Web-based Flash Video Players

Web Server Tests

SWF on 3 Hosting Services

View SWF videos from three hosting services:

Conclusion: WebHost4Life does not stream the video file fast enough to keep up with playback. Tested on a 2800 mbps connection (2nd tier DSL).

Note: Clear your browser cache before repeating a test of the same video from the same server.

FLV Players in Action

View a Flash video using selected FLV players (in alphabetical order), all displaying the same 56-second Beantown video:

See the individual application and player summaries for additional players and videos.

Player Generators

Selected desktop applications can generate Flash videos in SWF format with embedded player controls.

Adobe Flash

  • Adobe Flash CS4 Professional application
  • Converts various video formats to SWF, with optional player controls – demo video.
  • disadvantages:
    • can't position playback position
    • complexity/overkill – video production is just a tiny aspect of full Flash development.
    • Must create a separate player FLA and SWF for each video.
    • Downloads video before viewer clicks play – bad for page with multiple videos.
    • expensive – $699 retail
  • bug:
    • Fullscreen playback does nothing in OmniWeb 5.8 (at least) on Mac OS X.

Vertical Moon Video2SWF

  • Video2SWF 2 application
  • Converts various video formats to SWF, with optional player controls (demo video).
  • advantage:
    • can position playback position
  • disadvantages:
    • Player tuning requires video conversion + upload.
    • no response to bug report (re: fullscreen playback) submitted on 18 Dec 08
    • annoying "demo" watermark
    • currently Mac-only
  • bug:
    • Fullscreen playback does nothing in OmniWeb 5.8, Firefox 3.0.4 and Safari 3.2.1 on Mac OS X.

Player Plug-ins

Flash videos in FLV format can be played in a Web browser using a FLV player plug-in that's automatically downloaded along with the video. An FLV player typically provides more flexibility and control than a SWF embedded player.

Adobe Flash Player

Dash Media Player | TMT Digital

  • Dash Media Player (demo)
  • Built for Drupal; works with handcrafted HTML.
  • $160 commercial license

Flowplayer

  • Flowplayer 3.0.2 (demo)
  • Open Souce GPL license allow commercial use w/ Flowplayer branding.
  • $95 / domain for unbranded license.

FLV Player

FPlayer

Hitasoft Ripe Free Web FLV Player

  • Ripe Web FLV Player 1.2 (demo)
  • Hitasoft blog
  • advantages:
    • playlist
    • related videos (after play)
    • pre/post/mid rolls
    • send email
    • ad plug-ins (licensed edition)
  • disadvantages:
    • can't position playback position
    • no stop button
    • stretches poster image to player display (i.e., distorts aspect ratio)
    • no user forum
    • non-native English
  • license
    • Free player has Hitasoft logo in full screen mode.
    • $28 / domain via email + PayPal

Jeroen Wijering's FLV Player

  • JW FLV Media Player 4.5 (short demo)
  • Player Options at mac-dev.net
  • numerous AddOns (e.g., control skins)
  • advantages:
    • scales poster image
    • Viral Edition - encourages embedding in other sites
    • user forum (bare bones, e.g., no email notification)
  • disadvantages:
    • can't position playback position
    • minimal documentation
  • licenses:
    • non-commercial sites – free
    • commercial sites – €30 / domain, €200 / 50 domains
    • premium (paid) support is available

Rich Media Project Players

  • Javascript FLV Player v2.0.0
  • advantages:
    • adaptive buffering (i.e., adjusts pre-buffering) to download speed
    • extensive array of options
  • disadvantages:
    • adaptive buffering notice is kinda ugly
    • mediocre rating (3 of 5 stars) at Adobe Flash Exchange
    • expense
  • licenses:
    • basic license (4 domains) – €100
    • basic + chapters – €140
    • basic + media list – €140

Sonettic Cinema Video Player Widget

  • Sonettic suite of Cinema HD Players 5.0
  • advantage:
    • supports FLV, H.264 (MP4, MOV etc.), RTMP, http-stream and RTMP live stream
    • mouse-over controls (FS demo)
  • disadvantages:
    • can't position playback position
    • large buttons (may be configurable)
    • mouse-over controls persist in full-screen mode
    • crops poster image (instead of scaling to fit)
    • located in Kylv, Ukraine – 1st tech support response was incomprehensible English.
    • no user forum
  • review: SonetticCinema HD Player (Adobe Flash Exchange)
  • licenses:
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