Footprint Player vs S3Media Stream

Footprint Player ships with Video.js, S3Media Stream with JW Player.

Footprint Player can process existing S3Media Stream shortcode in articles. It is a quick way to keep existing shortcode going on your website. This option can be found in the component settings. (Important: Content S3Media Stream plugin, S3Media Stream Component must be disabled to avoid white screen of death).

There are feature changes since both underlying players are quite different. Below you find a list of new and deprecated features.
Deprecated features in S3Media Stream shortcodes are ignored or gracefully transformed. 

Still using RTMP? Like the latest version of S3Media Stream 8.x, just set a web distribution in the Content - Footprint Player plugin (RTMP Fallback) to convert embedding code into progressive download so that your S3Media Stream shortcodes keep working.

Changes for S3Media Stream users

  • No more separate JW PLayer license fee required and the JW Player license key is no longer needed.
  • Video.js is about one third lighter than JW Player (see also Video.js vs JW Player below).
  • Two fallback options for HLS and MPEG-dash.
  • Speed selector added.
  • Wave form generator added for audios.
  • Support for multiple language versions of       subtitles/captions.
  • HD switching, an old method still supported in S3Media Stream version 7 and lower, no longer works. Existing HD switching instances will play only the initial video. Use HLS or MPEG-Dash instead as it is more efficient. 
  • Everything based on Flash is deprecated; eLearning SWF and RTMP features are removed, existing shortcode based on these features no longer work. This is a 100% HTML5 extension now.
  • Signed URLs and Protected download links can be set via CloudFront only, bucket based URLs are deprecated as CloudFront performs better and it is more secure since the Access key or Secret key are not required.
  • Fullscreen option can be set for audios.
  • Title doesn't currently show in the video area but it is useful for SEO, so keep using it. (we work on an option to show/hide the title)
  • Repeatmedia works, except on Dynamic Playlists.
  • Skin model has changed completely. They are based on CSS but JW Player skins no longer work. Any references to such skins are redirected to the standard magmatic skin.
  • Minify option is deprecated since all javascripts are already minified.
  • No sharing button. There are better extensions for social media sharing than what JW Player incorporated.
  • Header JS option is deprecated since it was related to RTMP streaming.
  • S3Media Stream modules won't work with Footprint Player.
  • External playlist options are removed. If you want to use playlists, use the Dynamic playlist wizard in the article editor. 
  • Minify option is deprecated since the javascripts are already minified.
  • Simplified but improved Run analysis tool

Video.js vs JW Player

As said earlier, no extra yearly JW Player license fees anymore. JW Player has a tendency to change license policies frequently, which include pricing changes and restrictions to the amount of videos that are allowed to play. Therefore, their Terms of service is quite restrictive: https://www.jwplayer.com/tos/#licensescope, whereas Video.js is licensed under the Apache license 2.0, in short, more freedom and stability for the years to come (JW Player does not allow code changes in their player, although they use open source libraries).

The HLS quality selector reacts quicker than JW Player’s selector which has to wait for a video segment to end before it can switch. With HLS, a segment is 10 seconds.

Video.js is lighter than JW Player. Where JW Player weights a whopping 2.25Mb, Footprint Player just weights 1.79Mb. Portions of JW Player are still using Flash. A comparison test shows that for the same HLS video, JW Player has to load 8 scripts, together 237.73kb, whereas Video.js via Footprint Player has to load only 2 scripts, together 147.5kb.

JW Player connects to various scripts on its server network without being transparent about it. With the Cloud version, this is even worse. Video.js doesn't connect anywhere other then to the address of the video or audio.

AWS KMS keys encryption is supported via Footprint Player without restriction, whereas with JW Player, this is reserved for their Enterprise account, which doesn’t even have a fixed price, you have to contact their sales team.

JW Player puts restrictions on the way you can advertise on your website, especially with free accounts, developers or trial versions. With Footprint Player there are no restrictions on advertising. 

JW Player claims to be the most popular video player but the reality is a different story: https://www.similartech.com/compare/jw-player-vs-videojs
It doesn’t mean that Video.js is better, a few years back, Video.js was no serious opposition for JW Player. It had many bugs and restrictions. But thanks to the fact that there is a whole community growing around the project, more and more solutions to problems are found, therefore we found it was time to support this project.

Disadvantages vs JW Player

With Video.js, HLS starts slower on IE 11.

JW Player has a built-in traffic analytics feature, which, depending on the license plan, is basic or advanced. With Footprint Player you have to setup Google analytics or consult the AWS logs.

JW Player's playlist feature is much better designed. Video.js playlists have black banding currently and in full screen, Video.js lacks the arrows to move back and forward between various videos. As soon as we find a solution for these problems, we'll implement that.

Browser compatibility

The Video.js player supports only browsers that can handle HTML5 and CSS 3. This means all modern major browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox are supported. Others may show some small differences. As everyone knows by now, Edge and IE do not respect web standards to the fullest; therefore they may produce some small quirks regarding design.

On iOS the native controls will always be used when the video is in full screen. There's no way around that (same goes for JW Player).
Edge does not support HTML5 HLS or MPEG-Dash. You need to provide a mp4 or webm fallback if you want to support that browser (same goes for JW Player) It is probably best to recommend your visitors to use a proper browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Dynamic Playlists with VIdeo.js show a big gap at the bottom in IExplorer 11. 

Footprint Player™ and S3Media Stream™ are trademarks of Footprint Communication, Belgium. Video.js is an open source video player sponsored by BrightCove.

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