Hey everybody, we have several great updates for you today!
Since we rolled out the HTML5 player in January people have been clamoring for an embeddable version, especially for iPhones and iPads. Today we're taking a big leap forward for compatibility and updating our embed code. We call it the Universal Player.
The Universal Player is as easy to use as the old embed code, just a lot more compatible. Instead of being a direct link to a Flash player the new Universal Player can automatically detect what kind of device is viewing the video and choose the optimum player based on the device's capabilities. For example, it will serve mobile video to iPhones and Androids and HD to iPads and Desktops. On other mobile devices it can use the native player of the device or an optimized mobile Flash player with bigger controls. It also allows us to introduce new players as technology changes, potentially allowing us to do things like serve HTML5 to IE9 and WEBM video to Firefox.
The goal is to make the Vimeo player experience as seamless as possible. No matter what device or website Vimeo embed code appears on your video will load, with the same level of privacy, customization and quality you've all come to expect.
We've also improved performance: the new player loads faster and should be less stuttery for desktop users.
Pretty great right? Before we move on, let's clarify a few things:
Q: How do I use the new Universal Player?
A: Starting today it is the new default embed code and is available via the embed button on any Vimeo video. Just copy and paste like any other embed code. This new embed code is available for any video, new or old.
Q: What about all the old embed code out there? Do I have to manually replace it with the new Universal Player embed code?
Q: Can I still use the old embed code? Will it stop working?
A: You can still use the old embed code and no, it will never stop working. You can switch to the old embed code in the embed popup.
Q: Will all my videos work on my mobile phone now?
A: Mobile versions of all your videos is still a Plus-only feature. So while now on an iPhone your videos won't appear as a blue box, it might not be playable unless you are Plus. If you are Plus, here is how you turn on mobile videos.
Q: Is the Universal Player HTML5?
A: The Universal Player is actually many players. Depending on the capabilities of the browser, it may use Flash, a native player, or HTML5. Starting today the Universal Player will work on HTML5 devices like the iPad and iPhone. Soon it will also serve the HTML5 player to desktop users.
Q: What took so long?!?!
A: Video players are like a little garden: easier to build in your back yard than the middle of a highway. While it was relatively easy to build an HTML5 player that worked on Vimeo.com, making an experience that could live and work anywhere is actually a big undertaking. For example, we had to write several new video players to replace what used to be just one: behind the scenes there is a new Flash player, new Flash mobile player, new iPad player, new iPhone player, and new HTML5 player. And we expect to add more. It used to be you could rely on Flash to perform the same way everywhere, but now HTML5 and embed code act very differently from browser to browser and device to device. We've spent the past few months evaluating different options and testing quite a lot.
Q: This is using an iframe, aren't there sites that don't let you use iframes?
A: Yes, certain CMSs and social sites don't allow iframes. Facebook, MySpace and Wordpress are the most notable. However we are not discontinuing the old embed code and as long as you use the sharing buttons in the Share box or the auto-share, sharing to these sites will work. If you're using WordPress, we recommend the Embed Iframe plugin.
But that's not all! We're rolling out a second improvement to the player today called Watch Later.
How many times have you come across a video at work or school that looks interesting but you didn't have time to watch just then? Watch Later to the rescue!
Starting today, every Vimeo video will by default have a new "Watch Later" button right next to the Like button. Think of it like the Netflix Instant Queue: just click it and the video gets sent to a special album for easy access later when you have some free time. We'll also be adding the Watch Later album to the mobile site soon, perfect for the commute!
(Of course, Vimeo Plus users can turn this button off in their embed settings. We've defaulted it to off for all existing videos with customization. This button will not appear unless you want it to.)
One more thing.
Today is also the first step for Vimeo in to a brave new world: your living room. We've teamed up with Roku to bring you Vimeo on your HDTV.
Vimeo on Roku is just awesome! Setup and linking your account is easy and you'll be stunned at the quality, especially if you're uploading in HD. You can easily access your videos, likes, subscription inbox, and Watch Later queue. We've also added the HD Channel, Staff Picks and the ability to play an entire set of videos with one click. It's truly a unique and affordable way to experience Vimeo from the comfort of your couch. Check out Roku to learn more. If you're already a Roku user, the Vimeo channel should be in the Roku store later today (it's free).
That's all for now. We've been working hard to bring you these three new innovations and sincerely hope they make Vimeo a better experience. Remember that most of this is just the first step, expect to see Vimeo support spread far and wide as we steadily improve support for new and exciting platforms.
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