There are several big players on the market when it comes to providing a video player for usage across platforms. In this blog series I’ll take a dive into the various players out there. We will compare them based on several aspects, like supported platforms, available features and ready-to-use partner integrations. This is the first entry of the commercial video player overview.
Everything I write is on personal title and not affiliated with my role within 24i.
Before we dive into the specifics, we first need to list the players that we’ll be talking about in this blog series. Mind you, I’m certain there will be some parties out there that might not have made it into this list. For that I apologise beforehand. If you feel I’ve missed something, by all means reach out!
Our players for this comparison are the following (in alphabetical order):
In this blog series we will look at a subset of aspects that make up our comparison. Certain plays will always have an edge left or right, even ones that they don’t actively advertise. For that purpose we’ll really be looking at the more generic functionality that should cover 99% or more of the general video and audio playback use-cases out there. For that reason, we’ll be focussing on these aspects:
- Support Platforms
Is the player everywhere, or just a subset of devices?
- Feature set
Having a player is nice, but can they do DRM everywhere? Do they have support for more advanced features like SSAI/DAI or Low Latency streaming?
- Third Party Integrations
Doing everything alone might be cool, but you’re nowhere without partners. Which third party integrations does the player have, that make it easy to integrate analytics solutions, recommendations and other aspects?
- Ease of Use
One of the important things for any business, is the ease of which they can start using the video player. Do you need a lot of development before the player works as expected? And importantly too, how do you tweak the player in such a way that it fits your brand?
In the end what will always matter is the price.
A videoplayer not many people might know about yet, is Agnoplay. While it is a relatively new kid on the block, they already have some impressive usage numbers to boast with. With customers like Mediahuis and Startpagina, they have over 100 installs of Agnoplay out in the wild. This all brings in a combined average of 250 million video views on a monthly basis. Not a small number, for the new kid on the block.
The set of supported platforms on Agnoplay is on the conventional side of the spectrum. Agnoplay, at the current date, doesn’t support any of the more exotic platforms like SmartTVs, Set-top-boxes or consoles. They do however have traditional support for major web browsers, and smartphones and tablets running either Android or iOS.
While the amount of supported platforms is on the conventional side, the set of features is far from. Offering both Video and Audio on Demand, next to Live playback, Agnoplay has a list of features that most brands would be happy to have. From adaptive bitrate to DRM, and many UI features like picture in picture, recommendations, and customisable metadata and branding. Everything is ready to use at a moment’s notice. How they do that I’ll explain a but further in the ‘ease of use’ paragraph, as this is one of their key differences that sets Agnoplay apart from its competitors.
They are however still missing some key features that OTT and PayTV companies would benefit from having. Notably features like Download to Go and Server-Side Ad Insertion are, at the time of writing, not supported.
Third Party Integrations
Speaking of ease of use, Agnoplay also comes pre configured with support for quite a few third party integrations. Amongst their partners are the likes of Mux, Youbora and Conviva, in the Quality of Service area. There are however a lot more integrations that are all supported out of the box; Google Ad Manager and SpotX for advertising, VuDRM for, well, DRM. There is support for many CDNs/Streaming Providers like 24i Mod Studio, Mux and NEP; and even support for content management systems Prepr and CUE. There are more integrations available, so for a complete list please refer to their website.
Ease of Use
One of the things Agnoplay has speaking for them is their ease of use. Agnoplay aims to take away most of the pains from integrating a video player (and a lot more) into applications and websites. Through their configuration driven approach, almost every feature and branding element can be tweaked by adjusting the config. This means that almost no development is needed, which makes for very short turnarounds when starting out. It also means that adding new features is relatively easy, since in most cases all it takes is a change to the configuration.
The biggest example I can show of this, is on a website that’s not owned by Agnoplay, but rather from one of their partner integrations: Mux. Taking a look at the integration documentation for using Mux with Agnoplay, there is a strikingly small explanation, especially when compared to some competitors. Here is the gist of it:
Wait for the magic
The Agnoplay support team will add your environment key to the configuration of Agnoplay instance, after which your Mux Data environment will be populated with data within minutes. That’s all to it.
As you can see, a simple configuration setting is all that’s needed for a full Mux Data integration. If only everything in life were that simple!
Figuring out the pricing for any player is rather difficult, as it really depends on the tier and size of the customer. Like other players you’ll see in this blog, in order to get the pricing you’ll have to reach out to Agnoplay. They have a default pricing for several tiers (which I was able to secure, as part the image below), but in the end everything is negotiable, especially when you come into Enterprise-tier territory.
For the new kid on the block that Agnoplay is, they have a lot working for them. Especially the ease of integration is a key factor in why they’ve been able to grow their amount of integrations, and therefore usage numbers, in a relatively short time. While they do have some missing features and platforms compared to some of the other players we’re comparing against, Agnoplay is definitely looking strong.
That’s all for the first entry in this blog series. Tune in next week where we’ll be looking at the second player of the series: the Bitmovin Player!
PS. If you come across any factual inaccuracies in this blog, please reach out so I can address them. Thank you!