The Commercial Video Player Overview
The culmination of a series of blogs about different commercial video players. In this grand master overview, you’ll find a complete overview of the topics we’ve covered in this 6-part series about the commercial video player. We’ll be putting the numbers in a handy overview, where all players and their respective features, platforms and others will be listed along-side each other.
Everything I write is on personal title and not affiliated with my role at my current employer.
A little refresher before we kick off with the overviews. Over the past weeks you’ve had the opportunity to follow a weekly release of an article about one of six commercial video players. In this series we’ve mainly focused on the following topics: Supported Platforms, Feature Set, Third Party Integrations, Ease of Use and Pricing. We’ll be going through those same topics in the same order as before.
Now, it’ll be fairly difficult to make an objective comparison about some of these topics. In that case I’ll either simply be listing the available options and leave you, my dear reader, to make up your own opinion; or I’ll share my subjective opinion if that’s the only option. In the end that’s the goal of this blog (and has been for the whole series). For you to be able to get a quick idea of what you can expect when using one of the six commercial players we’ve covered.
Speaking of, let’s take a quick moment to list the commercial video players you’ll find in this blog. If you’re interested in diving a bit deeper into one (or more) of them, clicking on either of them in the list below will take you to the respective blog of said player. All of the contents from the 6-part blog series are summed up here, but for a clearer picture on a single player I definitely recommend reading the dedicated blog posts. Anyways, before we get started, here is our list of players:
A note before we continue; the results from this blog may be out of date by the time you’re reading this. I’ll do my best to keep updating the contents (and would appreciate help from the players involved!), but might miss a new player release or simply might not have the time to update the contents of the blog. For that reason I’ll always advise you to do further research and reach out to your respective player of choice if you have any questions or doubts.
One of the most important decisions for the use of any player will always be the supported platforms. After all, reach is incredibly important in this very fragmented market. In the series of images below, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison of the supported devices by each respective player. To already spoil the contents of them a bit: I’d say we have a three-way tie between Bitmovin, NexPlayer and THEOplayer.
Now that you’ve seen the results, I just want to clarify why I think that there’s a three-way tie for most supported platforms between Bitmovin, NexPlayer and THEOplayer; while omitting JW Player. The reason for that is in the way JW Player is offering their ‘player’ for a lot of the devices. While the other three players have standalone SDKs available for all of these platforms, JW Player only offers complete OTT Apps. So while this means they can and do have a player available for almost every platform, they don’t seem to offer them for use by anyone that wants to integrate the players into their own app.
I’ll be honest, this might be a bit of a subjective listing. As you know, a video player can have many different features that’ll make up one amazing user experience. But what kind of feature you may find important, can definitely differ from what I personally think is important. I’ve done my best to keep things as objective and clear as possible, but with the amount of available features I’ve definitely had to drop some in order to keep the contents of this blog somewhat to the point.
One of the other things noteworthy here is that not all features might be available on all platforms. Depending on the situation, that might actually make a lot of sense. Download2Go is mainly a feature for mobile and tablets, you wouldn’t find that on the big screen for example. Since I’m not able to list all of these exceptions in a single blog, if you have any questions feel free to reach out!
Third Party Integrations
While having many features readily available is a big necessity, there is a reason the OTT ecosystem is full of many companies working together to create the best possibly experience. Some features or implementations are better left over to the experts and specialists. You can think of things like recommendations, analytics or advertisement stitching. All things you’d often rather not want to have to think about, but still very much need in order to make your apps behave as great as possible.
There are many different types of third party integrations you can think of. For the sake of keeping this overview clear, we’ll use a subset of all the integrations out there. As many companies have their own subset of preferred partners, I’ve tried to do my best to use a representative subset of the more commonly used third party integrations in the industry.
Ease of Use and Pricing
We’ve made it to our last two topics, Ease of Use and Pricing. While these topics have been covered in the individual blogs, I find it rather difficult to make any good comparisons. Both of these topics are rather subjective to the types of features available, platforms to support, and a range of other things like usage of the players. Adding to that, the Ease of Use topic is rather up to personal preference, too. While one person may find a configurational approach easier, the other may find a functional approach the best.
For the above reasons I’ve decided to omit both of these topics from this comparison. There are too many different topics to at play, that it would be comparing apples with oranges rather than giving an objective view. If you do have an interest in these topics I would advise you to read the individual blogs, where I did highlight details about both pricing and the Ease of Use.
The goal of this blog has been to give you an objective view into the comparisons of the six players we’ve covered in this blog series. I hope that by putting all the feature lists, platforms and third party integrations together in a single overview, you’ve gotten a pretty clear idea of what to expect when working with any of these players. There are always going to be more features, platforms and integrations to cover so always make sure to do some further research, or reach out to any of the respective players if you have any questions — all of them are very keen to help you further!
In the end, I do hope this blog has given you a starting point in your journey towards finding the best suitable video player for your use case.
PS. If you come across any factual inaccuracies in this blog, please reach out to allow me to address them. Thank you!