Choosing the Best HTML5 Video Player in 2024

Blog 1 min read | Jun 16, 2023 | JW Player


Adobe Flash Player had a long run, but it’s now the era of the HTML5 video player. HTML5 players have become the industry standard for streaming live and on-demand video content—and for good reasons. These modern-day players provide enhanced performance, control, features, and security.

While HTML5 has become the go-to option for professional streaming, you have more options than ever when it comes to finding the right solution for your business. Look around the internet, and you’ll find dozens of different HTML5 video players with varying functionality and price points.

Let’s break down everything you need to know to choose an HTML5 video player.

What Is an HTML5 Video Player?

HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the language that composes all the pages of the internet. HTML5 is the most up-to-date version of the HTML5 language, and it supports video tags and audio tags. This functionality enables web developers to incorporate video playback directly into web pages.

However, this natively doesn’t support streaming—only embedded videos. And that’s where HTML5 video players come in handy. These tools were built to handle streaming live and video-on-demand (VOD) content with top-notch delivery, performance, and features.

Providers packaged up HTML5 video players to offer users the features they most need, whether that’s automatic captions, autoplay, built-in forms, or clickable links. This is what makes each tool HTML5 video player different. You can find plenty of free open-source and paid video player options, but you have to narrow down the features and functionality you most need and what you’re willing to pay for.

The HTML5 video player uses the <video> tag, offering native compatibility across sophisticated browsers. The controls attribute provides basic playback functionality for users, including buttons for play, pause, volume, and seeking.

To ensure video playback compatibility, you need to specify the video file format and its corresponding codec using the <source> tag within the video element.

Advantages of Streaming With an HTML5 Video Player

HTML5 video players have become a go-to solution for online video streaming, with many advantages for content creators and viewers. Take a closer look at the key benefits:

Universal Compatibility

Video streaming used to rely on plugins like Flash. Back then, users had to download and install the appropriate plugin for their browsers, often coming across compatibility issues. However, HTML5 solves this issue completely.

No additional downloads are required, as HTML5 is built into modern web browsers. Therefore, you can play your videos on any device supporting a web browser and reach your audience without technical barriers.

Furthermore, the HTML5 video player has cross-platform format support, including video file formats like MP4, WebM, and Ogg.

Smoother User Experience

As opposed to plugin-based solutions, HTML5 offers a significant improvement in UX.

With no external plugins to download and wait for, a quicker video playback is guaranteed. Plus, features like the play/pause button, volume control, or full-screen mode create a more enjoyable viewing experience for all viewers.

Higher Efficiency

HTML5 videos use the built-in capabilities of web browsers and require fewer system resources compared to Flash video players, for example. Even users with older devices or machines with limited processing power can enjoy smooth playback.

Moreover, the adaptive bitrate functionality adjusts the video content as it streams depending on the user’s bandwidth and device capacity.

Advanced Features

Beyond basic playback controls, HTML5 players offer additional features that improve viewer engagement:

  • Closed captions and subtitles: To accommodate viewers with hearing impairments, HTML5 supports closed captions and subtitles. Additionally, offering your content in multiple languages can significantly expand your audience.
  • Customizable playback: HTML5 players can be customized with HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. Users can control their experience with features like speed control, chapter markers, or jumping to a certain point in the video.
  • Interactive features: Some advanced HTML5 players allow the embedding of interactive elements like polls, quizzes, or CTAs within the video content. This can successfully boost user engagement and interaction with your content.

Improved Search Engine Visibility

As HTML5 videos are embedded directly into your webpage, they are a part of the page’s content. Hence, search engines can easily index the video metadata on your page, along with the text. This is beneficial for SEO purposes, as it increases the likelihood of your web video file coming up in search results for a relevant keyword.


By eliminating the need for plugin development and maintenance, HTML5 players streamline the development process. This allows developers to focus on creating a single video player that works on all browsers. Without the need to maintain multiple plugin versions for different websites, you will save time and resources.

HTML5 Video Player Features

The best HTML5 video players offer industry-leading features and performance—without letting one stifle the other. Some providers may include advanced features in their players, but these can sometimes slow down delivery and hurt execution. The hard work is finding the right balance between features and performance, but the best players ensure you don’t have to compromise.

While you might not need every HTML5 video player feature, it’s good to know your options. Below, we’ll outline the best features of top-ranked HTML5 video players:


HTML5 video players tend to be compatible with most operating systems and web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.), but you might also want to play video in other places. Check your video player provider to see if they offer APIs and SDKs to add video functionality to your mobile apps and OTT apps across devices (iOS, Android, and more).

Player Controls

Every HTML5 video player provides different playback controls for your audience. Here are a few video controls to consider:

  • Playback Speed: Let users speed up or slow down playback to watch content on their timing and with their preferences.
  • Quality: Enable users to use dynamic adaptive streaming or manually choose the playback quality for the best performance.
  • Captions: Let users toggle captions on and off.
  • Time: Empower your users to fast forward or backward 15 seconds with the click of a button.


All the features and integrations don’t mean anything if users have annoying delays, disruptions, and buffering. Find an HTML video player that prioritizes fast streaming delivery above all else so that your content and ads render beautifully and buffer-free on every screen—because every millisecond counts.

Video Gallery

Create video galleries to match your website or mobile app’s branding and showcase your videos in a branded environment. Video galleries work great when featuring a collection of videos or playlists that are relevant to each other and encourage viewers to watch another piece of content.


HTML5 video players can collect insights about your audience behavior to inform your content strategy. Learn which videos viewers watch the most, when they tend to pause, where they share videos, and when they might drop off. This data can help you create better content moving forward to satisfy consumer demand.


Certain HMTL5 video players specialize in advertising integrations, allowing you to collect more ad revenue and higher CPMs with header bidding built directly into your player. Test out this functionality for ease of use and see how it affects buffering and latency.


You want your video player to be a seamless extension of your brand, whether it lives on a website, mobile device, or smart TV application. Some players let you customize the colors, logos, and thumbnails to ensure an on-brand experience wherever viewers interact with your video content.


Create automatic and manual-entry transcriptions for better accessibility and readability with your content. Some players are more accurate and timely than others, so do your research and test the products to see which performs the best.

Live Streaming

Not every player can handle livestreaming video content. Even if livestreaming isn’t on your current agenda, consider your future conditions to find a video player that’ll satisfy all your content needs.


Find a secure HTML5 video player that protects your content from theft and illegal distribution. This has more to do with the platform behind your video player, but it’s typically an additional consideration when considering the best video solution for your business.


How to Choose the Right HTML5 Video Player for Your Business

Not every HTML5 video player will be the right fit for your business. Depending on your needs and use case, you might need a complete video platform with robust features and functionality to execute a video content strategy. Developers might be comfortable with more open-source solutions, while non-technical users will likely need turnkey products with out-of-the-box features.

Here are a few of the key criteria to consider when narrowing down your options and choosing an HTML5 video player:


Find an HTML5 media player with all the features you need for a top-notch user experience. Features include:

  • Encoding in different video formats
  • Adaptive bitrate streaming
  • Multiple playback speeds
  • Automatic transcriptions
  • Auto-play
  • Clickable links
  • Fullscreen playback
  • Built-in forms

Ideally, you want a solution that has these features built into the product. However, you can accomplish this via integrations and plugins, too.


Choose an HTML5 video player that integrates with the rest of your tech stack. It should be able to connect to things like your analytics software and customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Check what the video platform supports and determine if it’s an easy-to-implement integration or if you’ll need developer resources to link everything smoothly.


The best features and integrations don’t mean much if performance suffers. You need an HTML5 video player that’s feature-rich but lightweight enough to deliver content seamlessly without impacting page loading times. Your HTML5 video player needs to provide buffer-free streaming and dependable uptimes.

If you’re streaming live or video-on-demand content to a global audience at scale, you’ll likely need a multi-CDN solution to reliably distribute your videos. These types of networks have points or presence (POPs) around the world to better handle load management and fallback during single server errors.

Ease of Use

Your HTML5 video player should be simple to set up and implement on the backend, and your users should have an easy time navigating the settings and buttons to perform basic actions like pausing, rewinding, switching stream quality, and enabling subtitles.


Choose the HTML5 video player that supports your monetization strategy. Advertising is a go-to way to monetize your videos, but you might want to expand into subscription or transactional models. Ensure your video platform has the functionality or integrations to support the monetization methods you use now or plan to use in the future.


Not everything goes according to plan when building digital solutions and experiences, especially if you’re trying to create for a global audience. When things get messy, you need a customer support team you can rely on to troubleshoot and patch problems. Open-source HTML5 video players don’t have dedicated support teams, but they often have engaged developer communities. Determine if you can trust these communities to help you out or if you’d be safer with committed customer support.


While you can find plenty of free, open-source HTML5 video players on the market, they sometimes require more costs in terms of time and energy to set up, integrate, maintain, and troubleshoot. Find a solution that strikes a balance between price and performance. Remember that your HTML5 video player and video platform aren’t expenses—they’re investments.

Open-Source vs. Custom HTML5 Video Players

You’ve probably realized by now that HTML5 video players are the way to go if you want to embed videos on your site. But should you go for an open-source player, or spend a little extra for a paid one?

Open-source players: If budget is a major concern and you already have the technical skills, free HTML5 players like Video.js have excellent customization potential. Still, although you can tailor the player to your exact needs, they may require more development effort for advanced features.

Paid players: Custom HTML5 players like JW Player or Flowplayer are ideal for those looking for in-depth analytics, content security, and a more streamlined workflow. With premium out-of-the-box features and dedicated support, investing in paid players will save you time and deliver a more polished video experience.

Invest in the Fastest HTML5 Video Player on the Web

Don’t want to compromise when it comes to delivery and performance? Enjoy the world’s fastest HTML5 video player when you choose JWP for all your video content needs. Our player delivers a buffer-free experience using HLS and MPEG-DASH adaptive streaming, meaning every viewer (regardless of their device or internet bandwidth) gets top-notch performance.

We built our HTML5 player to optimize advertising. We provide best-in-class ad integrations, innovative products, and broad standards support to help you maximize your ad revenue.

Want to see the product in action for yourself? Contact our video experts to explore the player and see how it performs.