THEOplayer — The Commercial Video Player Overview, Part 6
We’ve reached the end of this blog series! This is the final part of the commercial video player overview, part 6. In this last part we’ll be looking at THEOplayer. Which platforms do they offer, what features set them apart, and a few more topics will all be covered. For an idea of the format, please read part 1 of this series.
Everything I write is on personal title and not affiliated with my role within 24i.
Being one of the most well-known names in the player ecosystem, THEOplayer has been around since 2012. And that experience definitely shows. Having built all of their players from the ground up, they are true streaming experts. With customers like BT Sport, Swisscom and CNN, the applications using THEOplayer are responsible for millions and millions of video views.
The overview page of supported platforms on the THEOplayer website gives us great insights into the this topic. While most players only list their support for ‘Web’, THEOplayer goes further and specifies that down into which browsers and versions they support. And they’ve managed to even support Internet Explorer (10+), which generally really is a forgotten browser (and front-end developers will know why).
Besides the Web, THEOplayer supports the majority of other platforms out there: Android and iOS mobiles, tvOS, AndroidTV and FireTV, Roku, and a subset of SmartTVs (Samsung Tizen, LG WebOS and Hisense). There is a mention of PlayStation and Xbox in the list as well, but only with a ‘contact us’ line. It suggests that even these platforms are supported, but with some potential caveats (for example only through web-based applications like UWP on Xbox). In the end that boils down to basically being able to support every platform out there, by using THEOplayer (except maybe Nintendo Switch, a very unique platform only supported by NexPlayer).
Given that THEOplayer has been around for so many years, it’s hard to think of features they haven’t implemented. THEOplayer is at the forefront of working with low latency, server side ad insertion; and are even a founding member of the ‘HESP Alliance’. It shows their dedication towards bringing new and improved playback capabilities to as many devices as possible. Besides that they obviously do also support the typical playback features that you’ll expect, like DRM, CSAI, chapter markers and more.
Third Party Integrations
Something that THEOplayer really excells at, is their ability to integrate third parties. They have an impressive list of over 200 integrations that span across multiple fields: Advertising, Analytics, DRM, and streaming solutions in general.
On the analytics side you can easily use the likes of Agama, Conviva, MediaMelon, Mux and more. DRM is also easily used from many of the popular solutions like Irdeto, EZDRM, Axinom and Vualto. I could keep listing others, but for a list please refer to the image below.
Ease of Use
Similar to other players we’ve come across, a lot of the features can be used by updating a configuration object that’s passed to the player reference. Mind you, like we’ve seen with other players in our comparison, it’s a bit easier to configure things on the Web (and SmartTV) side than it is on Android or iOS. This is all due to the nature of the platforms, but THEOplayer has definitely attempted their best at making it as easy as possible. On Web you can simply pass a configuration JSON object, whereas on e.g. Android you’ll have to create new instances of certain types (like a ‘TextTrackDescripion’) in order to be able to specify certain functionality.
What’s great about the ability to use configurations, is that it also applies to the countless of third party integrations. Want Conviva? Easy! Simply use the built-in ConvivaConfiguration object and you’re off to the races. It makes for very easy use of third party integrations, which is something we’ve also seen from the likes of Agnoplay.
THEOplayer has opted for three separate tiers, all designed at a specific type of client. On the one hand there is a ‘Starter Package’, which is really designed for the smaller parties. What’s great about this though, is that all players are supported. Contrary to what we’ve seen at some other players, is that you can really use THEOplayer on all platforms, regardless of the tier you’re in. The only limit you might run into, is the amount of monthly impressions.
Taking all of the above into account, THEOplayer offers a really well-rounded player. It offers a lot of features people know and love, and is at the forefront of using more advanced features, even contributing to improvements on a global scale (through the HESP Alliance). The pricing model allows for even the smallest parties to be able to use their player across all platforms, which makes THEOplayer a good player to use, regardless of the expected amount of player usage.
That’s all for the last part of this series about the commercial video player. Please let me know in a comment if you would be interested in a side-by-side comparison of the players we’ve come across, thanks! Also, if you’ve missed the other parts, you can find the others right here:
Part 1: Agnoplay
Part 2: Bitmovin
Part 3: Flowplayer
Part 4: JW Player
Part 5: NexPlayer
PS. If you come across any factual inaccuracies in this blog, please reach out so I can address them. Thank you!