Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chosing the right FLV Media Player - Flowplayer vs JW FLV Media Player

Now that you've created a video in a format that over 97% of all computer users can view, it's time to make the player for that video. When you use a program like ON2 Flix or Sorenson Squeeze, that program creates a file in a .flv format. See my previous post for more information about chosing a video format.

In order for computers to play this on the web, you need to get a wrapper for that .flv file called a .swf (shockwave flash)

I need to prefice this entry by telling you that I am by no means an expert at html, web design or even graphic design. There are people out there that do this for a living and know way more then I do, however like the true independent filmmaker, I try to do as much myself as I can.

I have limited knowledge of dreamweaver and html. Javascript scares me and I know when to call an expert. My journey of creating these files for our film lead me to three places.

The first was with the .swf players that came with dreamweaver. I was able to figure out relatively easily how to embed a movie and load all the proper files on to our web server. There are two problems with the players that come with dreamweaver.

To see the original video click here.

The first as you can see is the volume control. It's default is in the middle so depending on the computer, the volume is too low. Initially I had to crank up the volume in the original video which seems to be a backwards way of doing this.

The second problem is that you can't view the video on full screen.

I've seen players on the web with volume controls that are defaulted in the high position as well as players that allow for full screen access so I looked for these.

The two that I have had some experience with is flowplayer

& JW FLV Media Player

Summing up the differences, Flowplayer allows you to do a lot more things that are useful including things like adding google analytics, have the option to embed your video with the code generated for others to post you video to their site, e-mail to a friend, etc.

JW FLV Player is super easy to set up and with the setup wizard that they have on their site, almost anyone with basic html skills can get this player going.JW FLV Media Player Setup Wizard

By simplying filling in a form, the code is automatically generated for you and you can just copy that code into the appropriate part of you web site and you are done. Setting up this player took only a matter of minutes and you are set with a player that is slick, allows fullscreen and is relatively inexpensive.

Both players are free to try but if you are going to make money from it (which is our goal right), they require a commercial license, flowplayer is $75 for one website, JW FLV Media Player is 20 Euros (about $27.86 at the time of this writing).

I chose JW FLV Player for Slow Down and Fast because it was the easiest and cheapest to set up. I wanted to get our video up for fullscreen watching and I wanted the player to disappear once the video started playing for a couple of seconds. JW FLV Media Player does both of these.

I'm sure Flowplayer is a great player but he extra money that is needed to buy a commercial license didn't seem worth all the extra work and time for this particular project.

Until then,

Happy Promotion
Blind Lyle Films

See the film I'm promoting now for only $3.99 and support my journey. The more success I have, the more I can share!


madnomad films said...

Man... I don't even bother with players. I use BLIP.TV, it uses no bandwidth on my website, allows to customize the player to put my name (Madnomad Films) and it works great... have statistics and all. You can even add ADS and get paid if people watch your movie!!

... and youtube

Adam said...

I've tried both and there's NO CONTEST.

Flowplayer SUCKS compared to the JW Player. Plus JW is written in AS3 (way of the future!) while Flow is in AS2 (sooooo last year).

Seriously, though, JW has better features, a ton of skins and an AdSolution built in (you can get it by going to

JW rocks!

JeroenW said...

Thanks for the kudos! As to, they use the JW Player as well ;).

Blind Lyle Films said...

I'd be curious to know if filmmakers are able to make enough on sites like to support the budget of their independent films, or is this more of a way to make some cash on fun films that might go viral.

Part of the reason why I decided to sell and host our film was to see if it was possible to make a profit and see what was involved.

After a lot of learning, I've found that it is possible and more importantly, even exciting.

In the coming months, I'll probably utilize some of the existing formats out there and compare which ones bring in the biggest audience however I won't be able to have the film shown for free on one site and have it offered for a fee on another.

api said...

It looks to me that a lot of people are gravitating away from JW to Flowplayer.

rg said...

I've used both players (JW first) and I've just switched to V3 of Flowplayer. The player "out of the box" is simple easy to add to your site (like JW Player) but the scripting and API is fantastic for customizations, plugins and skins. And the community and the team behind Flowplayer are super responsive.

One key difference between JW and FP from a business model is in the "commercial license." if you are non-profit or have no plans to use ads to monetize your video, the standard license for the JW Player is very inexpensive. if you plan to have your own ads within or around the player, you need a commercial license - which is VERY expensive ($1,000 + euros per year).

You can do what you want (in terms of ads) with the flowplayer (because it's open source and/or creative commons licensing) and do not need to pay additional money or need an additional commercial license if you want your own ads. And already the ad plugin from LiveRail catapults the ad technology beyond the current capability of JW/ Longtail for large or growing sites.

Adam's comment on Flowplayer, without further reason is unfair and don't believe it...

Tero said...

Flowplayer 3.0 was released at the end of 2008 an it basically changed everything. Easy setup for beginners, A new JavaScript based configuration, Scripting API for geeks and plugin architecture just to mention a few.

The focus is clearly on the video player and not on anything else. I'm pretty sure we have a winner here. said...

FLV has become the most popular media for online videos. You have to choose the perfect one to get the best quality video.

mp4 players

under1t said...

There's a third and simpler alternative that allows you to configure the skin, insert ads, and more in a few clicks. Plus, it's free.

rg said...

Love all the vendors chiming in on their player. The Bitgravity player is not free. Well maybe it is if you are using the Bitgravity CDN, which I've used and I would not recommend it.

Flowplayer is still the strongest solution. And I have no interest in any of the solutions and have used JW, Flowplayer and at one point Bitgravity.

john said...

i recommend hdwebplayer... awesome Flv Player..!