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 vimeo.com.

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,
Brad

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