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Introducing the New Vimeo Player

Brad Dougherty
January 7, 2014 by Brad Dougherty Alum

It’s been a while since we’ve made any major changes to the Vimeo player and, as a member of the Vimeo Player Team, I’m happy to announce some exciting developments.

First, a little background. A lot has changed since we launched the last all-new version of our player, two and a half years ago:

  • Browser innovation has brought new HTML5 capabilities (full-screen viewing is now available on every major desktop browser).
    • Smartphones have gotten more powerful (and in many cases, bigger), and the variety of smartphones has increased tremendously (three years ago, when we debuted the HTML player, there were only a handful in existence.)
    • Firefox added support for H.264 on mobile, Windows, and Linux (with OS X support on the horizon).
    • The introduction of devices that support multiple kinds of inputs (e.g., touch, mouse, and pen) at the same time.

With all these advancements, it was clear that we needed a more flexible and accommodating base for our player. So we did the only thing that made sense: we rebuilt the whole thing from scratch.

The player may look (mostly) the same on the surface, but behind the scenes we rethought everything from the ground up. Our re-engineered back end means that videos load twice as fast, and we simplified the front end to make it compatible with way more devices.

Here’s a quick(ish) rundown of some of the coolest new features:

Lightning Fast Playback
We spent a lot of time optimizing playback, and now videos start way faster. In many cases, videos start in under a second!

In-Player Purchasing
Now anyone can quickly rent or buy a Vimeo On Demand work directly from the embedded trailer, wherever it appears on the Internet.

Redesigned Share Screen
Share to Facebook, Twitter, or by email much more quickly. We also moved the embed code to the share screen to match the behavior on

Integrated Login
Want to like a video or add it to your Watch Later queue when you’re logged out? No problem! Just click the Like or Watch Later button and we’ll pop up a handy login form.

Fully Accessible
We doubled down on accessibility, with full keyboard navigation and WCAG2AA support, and better support for screen readers. (We have another awesome surprise for you along these lines. Keep reading!).

I’m about to get a little bit more technical now. Stick with me…

HTML5 by Default
No more toggling into the HTML player — now everyone who has an HTML5-capable browser gets the HTML player. And when you’re in a modern browser, even if we can’t fully use HTML5, there’s a good chance you’ll get HTML controls. We crunched the numbers and about 65% of you will get the HTML player (we’re pretty sure that we’re now serving more HTML5 video than anyone else).

Preference Sync
Through the magic of HTML5, any preferences that you change in the player (HD, volume, scaling) will change in all players that you have open in your browser. We’ll even automatically pause the currently-playing video if you play another one.

More Responsive Than Ever
Go ahead — resize the player however you want. It’ll look good, no matter the size.

And there’s one other new thing that I’m incredibly happy to announce:

Closed captions & subtitles support!
Just go to your video’s settings page, upload your caption file, and it will be available in the player. They’re supported in all desktop players, Mobile Safari on iOS 7, Chrome on Android tablets, and Kindle Fire, for now. We’re working hard to bring them to other platforms and devices as soon as we can. Read more about captions and subtitles.

We’re really proud of these updates. So proud that we made a spiffy new page to showcase all the reasons why we have the best video player in the galaxy. But seriously, though...

This isn’t the end of the awesome. There are even more epic things in the pipeline that we can’t wait to show you.

Until we meet again,

P.S. Hard to believe it’s been four years since the HTML5 player was first released!


WOW Video Production PRO

I'd second 4K support. Youtube does.

Oh, and please can you add a bulk delete feature.
Last time I checked the forums, users were promised it being worked on 3 years ago.

Julien Deka

Yes, Vimeo really needs 4K. It's about time. Hopefully sooner than later.
Happy to see that the subtitles and caption have been implemented. Good work!


Question: Why the need to put 4k online? Isn't 1920x1080 more than good enough for viewing?


I have to agree here. Isn't 4K at the moment just Bragging Rights ?? If people aren't happy with 1080p then something is terribly wrong.
Analogue to Digital was a huge step, VHS to DVD was a Big step, DVD to Blu Ray was a little step, Blu Ray to 4k isn't even a step . . . . Yeah there is a difference, but honestly when will people stop wanting . . . ?? Never and thats human nature. Im happy with 1080p and so is my ISP 1hr 4K = 25GB lol

Jacques Russo

Right. 4k is a gimmick to sell more gear that is all. It is just a bragging thing. Not really needed. When you see the Hobbit in a theatres it is 2K (I know, it was shot at 6K in high frame rate with the "dragon" sensor blah, blah, blah, I've heard it all, but what you look at at the end result in 2K at 24P) and I have not heard anyone claiming it looks bad. Same for ALL films in theatres (no matter how big) and television. The high end standard for digital PRO cameras for TV Drama/Film is de facto the Arri Alexa (80% of all rentals for what I am told) not RED, and it shoots an amazingly beautifull 2K at 4:4:4:4. So if 2K works for a theatre screen, I think we should be ok for a while on our home screens and phones. Give us more colour depth and latitude if you can, smooth download and keep up the excellent work VIMEO is doing in democratizing video distribution to the mass. Much more important then 4K. Thanks so much Vimeo.

Urban XL

No, in a nutshell the main reason for enabling 4K content now is FUTUREPROOFING. Once (assuming they do) 4K televisions and/or monitors become more prevalent amongst consumers, there will be a great need for content. By Vimeo becoming a place that offers plenty of professionally shot 4K content it places them at the forefront of 4K delivery platforms. Particularly in regards to internet enabled smart tvs which by default it is safe to assume all 4K tv's are/will be.

In regards to bandwidth, many (most?) markets outside the US have ISPs that offer true unlimited/uncapped internet. And with increasing superfast fibre speeds being rolled out, the streaming size is mot much of a factor either.

Girly Films

I agree @Urban XL, 4K is far from a gimmick, 3D Steroscopic is a Gimmick in it's current form, rather than expanding the sort of no need for spec's technology in the 3DS. I've come from working professionally with HD years before it became consumer, in fact resolutions above 4K (Starting out what was Softimage DS & XSI, now Avid and AutoDesk, along with Flame, etc) when your source was scanned Film, equally so because you need as much as resolution as you can get to master to get a more polished result. Admittedly Resolution is nothing without depth. The better the data before you squish it down into any streaming format, the better the result.

Look at is this way my home DSLR shoots stills at 16MP = 4920 x 3264, it's only a Panasonic Lumix GH2, so still very easily a consumer camera, just look at Smartphone stills resolutions now, and how many of us Print Stills now a-days. Where are just getting more and more used to more refined high resolutions, It's natural progression...!

Girly Films

That equally starts with the optics (the Glass) and the senor/s... on the quality before you do anything with it.

Graham Pearson

Thanks to recent court decisions ISP's can now pick and chose what thery provide and you can bet your bottom dollar 4k sites won't be popular with them.

josef novak

If you dont like 4K just dont watch it! Omg nobody os forcing you to do it. If you dont like BMW dont drive it! Btw you immediaetly recognize diference between 2K a 4K footage on 4K display. :) And Hobbit in 2K wasnt enough. Especially space in Gravity in 2K 24fps on huge IMAX screen was stuttering disaster!!! If you dont like 4K you probably must hate theaters with old good analog film projections because 35mm can reach similar resolution to 4K :D And you were probably totally disgusted on IMAX projections with their almost 11K resolution :))))))) Just LOL.

josef novak

Btw better color and dynamic depth is problem of diplay manufacturers not of Vimeo services. You can hardly enjoy it on your lousy 6bit laptop a mobile device screen. Get me out of this 6 or 8bit world.


Good old analog film may be similar in resolution to 4K or even more, but that's only when we are talking about the original low speed camera negative. Unless you are working in a lab you never get to see that. (And even than you won't enjoy, because it's... well, a negative!) Positive prints shown in theatres generally are the copy of a copy of a copy of that original negative. And you will end up with something between 1K and 2K on screen. As for production needs, that's a different story. Here you can find some great info:

Remyyy Plus

Awesome ! And so nice to see Sox and Brad in that video.

Mark Easton

Great job!
Are we going to be seeing a 4k player at any stage soon?


What about Vimeo app for Android? Please update :(

Matt Schwarz Staff

Sorry, but let's try to keep this thread relevant to the player release. Updates regarding apps will have their own posts.


OK sorry, back to thread :) Can I stop buffering video somehow? New player is great, but this option is still missing, especially on Vimeo Welcome page, where you viewing a lot of videos..

Matt Schwarz Staff

Buffering occurs in the background up to a certain point after you pause the video, but you cannot prevent that from happening once you've started to play it. For further help please contact our support team:


_ e x c e l l e n t _ thank you _

Aaron Hosé PRO

Wow. You finally did it. This will really help folks like me who are producing content for universities; where frame-accurate closed captions are very important. This is exciting. ;-)


Thanks so much for Subtitles!! There's any way to customize how subs appear? I've mine in yellow but when uploaded to the movie I just see them in white with a grey band overlay...

Darnell Witt Staff

You're welcome! :D You can't customize the caption appearance currently, but this is just the beginning.

The Gate Church Plus

Does this resolve the issue with the player not playing when embedded in an webview on Android? Just curious. Looks great guys.

Darnell Witt Staff

Yes, as long as there's nothing wonky about the app itself, the new player should work just fine within a web view!


It'd be great to enable the customization of the background color of the play bar. It's a dark muted blue by default.

Espaço Ética PRO

Amazing! I uploaded a file and the player already reads it! Just some minor bugs, though. I uploaded a SCC file in Portuguese, encoded with UTF-8, and, whenever a sentence starts with an accent (i.e. "é", "ás") the player displays {break}, and then continues with the next caption. But it looks gorgeous! Thank you for this great improvement!

Benny Arts

Would be great if you could get rid of that black pixel stroke on left side of the player ;)

Chris G

Can I also upload html5 content now, or am I still limited to single-file video formats like mp4 and mov?

Matt Schwarz Staff

Our player is built using HTML5, but we only support the playback of video files within it.

Seaward Marine Services, LLC PRO

Subtitle import seems to be a bit glitchy right now, but since it just was added I'm sure it will get sorted out. Tried srt and vtt exported from youtube, it will just randomly omit a subtitle or two. Checked the files and they look all there in a text editor and nothing different about the line or lines the Vimeo importer choose to drop.

Also, it doesn't support any symbols it looks like. I had a file with the ® in it and the import fails altogether.

Andrew Takano Plus

Has there been any improvement to reduce the aliasing artifacts when 1920x1080 content is played in a smaller embedded player? I mostly see this on high contrast edges, like the edges of text.

Cass Sapir

Awesome job Vimeo! So slick! We'll try it out with HapYak Interactive Video to see how it works with annotations.


i'm using google chrome on windows. i can't change the volume with my mouse, i have to use the keyboard up and down arrows. :(



Peter J. DeCrescenzo Plus

The new player (still) doesn't seem to work in Firefox v.26 on my Mac. I don't have Flash installed, and I'm running Mac OSX 10.8.5. Plays fine in Safari 6.1.1 on the same machine. Am I doing it wrong? :-)

Darnell Witt Staff

Firefox doesn't support the HTML5 player on OSX yet (but hopefully they will soon!). For now, you'll either need to install Flash or watch videos in Safari or Chrome.

Mala Praxis

Crashes firefox as soon as I load Win 7 x64, Firefox 26. Just submitted the crashlog to them too.


Vimeo On Demand is very cool. When u guys thinking making vimeo more multilanguage ? So we can use this feature in our countries ?

Like social networks (twitter, facebook) Leave us translate we will make hard work you guys just give feature we will fill it up for vimeo.


I know I said because when you want to sell a product to customer. They will want to read own language like Turkish, Japanese. You can not say customer "go learn English and buy this thing" Right ? So for that option in future I'm pretty sure vimeo will need more language.


If I watch the video on this page it shows "CC", If I click on the "Check it out" there is no "CC" icon.

I do actually prefer the old icons with the type, share, later and like.

And while I'm at it, who and why on earth did you choose the word like?

How you've missed a branding opportunity, which you use every where else, including the icon, all this time I really don't know, remember, all you need is "Love" - not like :)

Matt Schwarz Staff

Are you using a compatible browser? Try Chrome – we're aware of some issues with Firefox right now.

Sorry you don't like the new design, but we think it's a big improvement. Also, we've used the term "Like" since our inception, so I'm afraid we don't plan on changing that :)


I know you used Like from the start, just like so many others have done too... Branding - it's an unforgiving mistress - she lives on Madison Ave. :))

Chrome for the CC you mean? Why this page displays them, but not the other? Same browser, Firefox. Good luck in resolving the issues soonest. Hope that helps for your testing.

ps. it not the "whole thing" Matt - its just the icons, the cc's are welcome as well as html5 :)

Matt Schwarz Staff

Actually, we were the first to use "Like" to our knowledge.

Not sure what issue you're seeing, but we're working on some bug fixes now that may help :)

Glad you're enjoying CC!

Jason Kiss

Congratulations on adding support for captions. That's great. Support for VoiceOver in Safari is also quite good. The experience for sighted keyboard users is still lacking, though, but would be much improved simply by adding some clearly visible indication of keyboard focus to the player controls, and ensuring that all player controls are Tab key focusable in the normal Tab key order (ie remove the tabindex). I'm not sure you can really claim full keyboard accessibility and WCAG2.0 AA support without it.

Brad Dougherty Staff

Ah yeah it is a bit hard to see the focus outline in Firefox on Windows. We're using the browser's default outline, but we'll see what we can do about making it stand out more. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

Show Boz

Good deal, but when will you update the Vimeo app for tablets? (Kindle, in particular) It's badly in need of repair!

Chris Diken Staff

Appreciate the feedback — we're always working on the various mobile and tablet experiences. But let's keep the feedback here related to the player. Thanks!

Show Boz

Sure, so the new player won't be available on tablet or mobile devices? Because playback is struggling on those platforms.

Andrey Shushkov

Two issues (which I noticed some time ago):

1. (It appears with HTML5 I guess) - black become dark gray when video compressed by vimeo. I see it on windows. So on mac it look - ok.
2. Mosaic artefact when video playing not in fullscreen (same problem had youtube, but year ago or so they fixed the problem)


It seems like there's a bug affecting captions that consist of more than one line - they simply don't display. In the video featured in this post, for instance, the only lines that appear are "a player that even haters could love" and "Introducing the new Vimeo player."

EDIT: This only affects Firefox (both Windows and Mac) - the missing captions display correctly in Chrome.

Brad Dougherty Staff

We found the issue and the fix should be out tomorrow morning. Sorry about that!


Yes please!

Ka Mer

Maybe? What kind of answer is that?

Michael Ma

You gotta admire Vimeo for really trying to make HTML5 work. Most websites have given up on making a custom steaming video player for HTML5. This goes to show just how terrible HTML5 and javascript is for streaming video and browser compatibility. Most websites won't be spending ~3 years to develop a custom video streaming HTML5 player. Ugly jwplayer it is for the next foreseeable decade on iOS! If Apple decides to ever let Flash player for iOS, it will be an overnight no brainier switch for all mobile and tablet platforms. It will probably be the smartest thing Tim Cook will ever do if he ever does it.

World Press Media Plus

Vimeo really continues to be the video platform of choice for anything worthwhile to watch. I ned to collect a commission check for the number of times I tell people to switch from that other company. I'm always thrilled when I see Vimeo show up as an app on almost every new TV. I have two complaints. Multiple deletes, multiple uploads beyond 5 and the ability to at least purchase more space beyond 5 gigs. 5 gigs is so last year. When oh when oh when?????? OK, I lied 3 things not two!

Pablo Massa

Subtitles! At last :)

In Firefox, Windows 8, full screen video, the bubble with the subtitle options appears in the wrong place. Look
I'm not sure but I think that my FF is using flash and my Chrome HTML5.

Hope can help.


I don't see a reason to make captions and subtitles separate. Also, captions are fully accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people while subtitles are just language translations to hearing people that do not include sound descriptions. It would be best to provide full-accessible captions rather than just subtitles as deaf and hard of hearing people need to know not just dialogues, but also music, song lyrics, and important sounds.

Matt Schwarz Staff

We decided to provide both because, as you mentioned, they are different and want to give users the option to pass on to their viewers.


Matt - do you realize that subtitles are NOT accessible to deaf and hard of hearing? Is it fair for deaf English speakers not to access everything in French movies with English subtitles that dint include sound descriptions, speaker identifications, and same language dialogues in English? Please remove the subtitle option - it is not just inaccessible to deaf, but also makes it more confusing to more people. Thanks!


Also, both captions and subtitles tracks are same which makes it more confusing. Why not offer one track and call it "captions/subtitles"? You also offer a drop down in different languages, so video owners can add as many captions as they want.

Chris Diken Staff

Thanks for the feedback, DU.

The reason we offer both subtitles and captions is because it is the creator's decision what to make available. Captions and subtitles are different, and to people who know the difference, that difference is important in terms of what you choose to see.

We realize that subtitles are not fully accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing, but they are not intended to be — they are intended to be translations of text/dialogue for the hearing-enabled.

A creator with a French-speaking film who wants to make sure deaf/hard-of-hearing, non-French-speaking viewers can understand it has the responsibility to provide multiple files:

1. One captioned in French for French-speaking deaf/hard-of-hearing viewers
2. One or more subtitled in the language(s) of their choice for non-French-speaking, hearing-enabled viewers
3. One or more captioned in the language(s) of their choice for non-French-speaking, deaf/hard-of-hearing viewers

The decision is up to the creator, so we want to give them as many options as possible.

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