Brightcove Player 6 Alpha

Last year saw a number of coincidental events. Microsoft ended support for older versions of its Internet Explorer browser. We saw multiple updates to Google Chrome restricting its allowance of Flash embeds. And the team responsible for maintaining Video.js was busy designing some new features that would improve the accessibility of the Video.js base player, make plugins more powerful, and enhance our ability to control the player timeline and the way media sources are handled by playback technologies.

All these events coalesced in a series of discussions on the future of the Brightcove Player. The determination was made that we would need a new major version (per our adherence to semantic versioning) of both Video.js and the Brightcove Player. We are still putting the finishing touches on these releases, but we wanted to give our customers and integrators a chance to try them out for themselves.

So, we are making the first alpha pre-release of the Brightcove Player 6 available now!

Changes in Brightcove Player 6

Internet Explorer 8

In early 2016, we dropped official support for IE8 for the Brightcove Player. However, we did not intentionally break players that were currently functioning in that browser. Since then, we've been in a limbo state where we weren't actively targeting IE8, but, if something broke the player entirely, we'd fix it.

The Brightcove Player 6 will not support IE8 at all.

We are removing the ES5 shim layer and various compatibility measures we had introduced. This will mean a smaller, faster player for everyone at the expense of a browser that accounts for a miniscule portion of our traffic. We've seen the size in terms of bytes of our default player configuration reduced by around 7% as a direct result.

Video.js is a slightly different story. It is entering a similar limbo state as the Brightcove Player was in during 2016. We will continue testing Video.js in IE8 via automation, but new features will not be actively developed for IE8 and will likely be explicitly turned off. For example, as of Video.js 6, time tooltips are disabled in IE8.

Flash

Video.js 6 is removing its Flash tech by default and will deliver an HTML5-only experience out of the box. However, that wouldn't work for the Brightcove Player, which still needs to support advanced formats (particularly live streaming); so, the Brightcove Player will continue supporting Flash out of the box.

Video.js 6

Video.js 6 features a number of exciting improvements that are relevant to Brightcove customers and integrators, including:

We'll be cross-posting feature spotlight posts from the Video.js blog here in the coming weeks with more detail on these features!

How to Upgrade

Current 6 alpha pre-release: 6.0.0-1

You can upgrade a player to the latest alpha using the Player Management API at any time. A sample curl command would look like this:

curl \
--header "Content-Type: application/json" \
--user $EMAIL \
--request PATCH \
--data '{
  "player": {
    "template": {
      "version": "6.0.0-1"
    }
  }
}' \
https://players.api.brightcove.com/v1/accounts/$ACCOUNT_ID/players/$PLAYER_ID/configuration

This upgrade is not currently available in the Studio, but may become available in the future. We'll keep this post updated to reflect the latest information about the Brightcove Player 6 alpha pre-release.

As always, feedback is greatly appreciated via our Google Group.

Limitations

Many plugins are not yet compatible or haven't been tested with Video.js 6. Specifically, advertising, DVR, DRM, Once, and social. These plugins will be updated in the coming weeks and there should be no incompatibilities upon release.

The Graphite skin is currently disabled. Any players using the Graphite skin that are upgraded to the latest alpha pre-release will get the default Luna skin instead. We are working on a re-vamped Graphite skin for the Brightcove Player 6 and it will be ready when the final release occurs.

Deprecation warnings are likely to be visible in the browser console. We'll be working to eliminate these, but they don't indicate a breakage or incompatibility of any kind.