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Three New Features: Universal Player, Watch Later and Roku

Andrew Pile
August 17, 2010 by Andrew Pile Alum

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?
A: Yes, however we've built something to help. We've written a small Javascript snippet that you can add to your site to that will automatically upgrade old embed code. You can learn more in the FAQ. Every time a piece of old embed code is upgraded to new embed code, an angel gets its wings!

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: What about the Moogaloop API?
A: We've written a Javascript library called Froogaloop that allows developers easier access than ever. Flash developers can still use the existing include method.

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.

Enjoy!

268 Comments

Scott Foley

Oh, my - truly a wonderful post. Thank you guys for all your hard work, it's very much appreciated, and certainly does not go unnoticed.

Aclara Promotions

This is fantastic! A truly great upgrade, Vimeo staff! Cheers!

Patrick Ellis

The Vimeo Channel is now live in the Roku Channel Store. Just click to add and enjoy your favorite Vimeo videos in HD on your big screen.

Alberto Perez

Looked in the ROKU channel store both on the device and the website and can't find the Vimeo channel. Where exactly is it? I can't wait to see the videos on the bigger screen.

Patrick Ellis

Not yet on the website. Should be up shortly. You should be able to find it in the on-box Channel Store. It does require v2.6 or later on your Roku player, so make sure you've upgraded; there are a few boxes out there that are still running 2.5

Jonathan F. Sullivan

I love the idea of a "Watch Later" list -- except that, as a free user, it counts as one of my three albums! Can we at least have the option to delete the "Watch Later" album?

Ian Sheddan

Glad I read all the comments before posting my exact same observation. Sweetness.

Joseph Schmitt Staff

It could have used "otomatically" and "boom" a few times. Also, a black turtleneck.

Luma PRO

We have the same problem!! I had to go replace all video and then some STILL didn't come up so I had to use old embeded code..damn! Pls help.

Luma PRO

Oh, it does seem like it is a Google Chrome issue! Any reasons for that? Our website is luma.co.za Click on MINI fmv on Google Chrome

Luma PRO

Wait...it doesn't make a difference...Google Chrome or Mozilla, keep coming up with blank video boxes. Click on Ford Ikon, first video (new code) is fine, second video (with new code) doesn't play. (luma.co.za)

Luma PRO

Last comment...if you load this link #578427/Jungle-Vites" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer">luma.co.za/#578427/Jungle-Vites, plays perfect in Moz, brilliant in IE, NO GO in Google Chrome. Then if you click this link #573993/Ford-Ikon...the" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener noreferrer">luma.co.za/#573993/Ford-Ikon...the last video plays in IE, but no go in Google or Moz...weird!

dip

Cool!

I was so impressed by title that thought that "watch later" will also load all videos in some cache, and then I'll watch all of them without waiting even a second =)

TAR Productions PRO

Awesome, awesome and thank you! Will be updating our entire site asap.
Tim

Brindefalk

Way to go! The best is getting better:-)

H. Paul Moon PRO

Hopefully the Watch Later function will be added to the Boxee app as well, which is really cool.

Andrew Pile Staff

It's in the API and will be public later today. Hopefully whoever maintains that app can get it added quickly.

Caroline Martin

Oh I love the Watch Later button. Way to rock guys!

Remyyy Plus

The watch later button is so well integrated in the player. A shortcut in "My Videos". Not showing in activity page. A clear the album button. It's so 0 mistakes.

mediacode Plus

Sounds good, but I just tested and it didn't work for me... I also made a forum post: vimeo.com/forums/topic:28264

problem: When i browse the site i embedded it on in my iphone safari (all latest software), the play_redirect happens but i get a blank page...

So bottom line: it doesn't play on my iphone...

Andrew Pile Staff

This should be fixed now! We were sending your iPhone the SD, not mobile version.

Jesse Wagstaff

Is the oEmbed API going to be updated to use the new universal player too? I hope so.

Northside Christian Church PRO

Thanks for working on this (sub)feature. It makes it even easier for us to provide a good experience for our viewers!

Joseph Schmitt Staff

oEmbed should now use the new Universal Player iframe embed code by default. There's also a new argument you can pass to turn it off and use the old embed code if you wish. More details in the documentation vimeo.com/api/docs/oembed

De Mannen Zonder Pak PRO

Hoi Hugo, je moet in je profiel wel aangeven dat je Mobile versions wil maken van je videos. Heb je dat gedaan?

Andrew Pile Staff

This should be fixed now! We were sending your iPhone the SD, not mobile version.

Star Mountain Media PRO

I might buy a Roku box just for this, that's a pretty cool deal. I'd love to see my time-lapse work on HDTV.

radley

"Mobile versions of all your videos is still a Plus-only feature."

Huh? Then what was the point?

DRC-AG Plus

Hi Guys!

Thank you for the update! One thing:
My video is not playing on the iPhone or iPod touch. I embedded this video (new code) into my website: vimeo.com/2453296

Error message:
Cannot Play Movie
Movie could not be played.

But I can watch the video on my iPad! What is wrong...?

THX Mani

DRC-AG Plus

Video is working on iPad 3G iOS 3.2.2 (64GB) & iPhone 4 iOS 4.0.2 (32GB)
Video is NOT working on iPod touch iOS 4.0.2 (64GB) (newest iPod touch)
All iOS devices run on the latest firmware.

Andrew Pile Staff

This should be fixed now! We were sending your iPhone the SD, not mobile version.

Joseph Schmitt Staff

The issue seems to be with the embed settings when a video is not allowed on vimeo.com. The reason it's working on your iPad is probably because you're logged in on there. We're looking into it and will post an update when we have a fix. Thanks for your patience.

Joseph Schmitt Staff

Hiding it from vimeo.com. We have a solution internally that we're testing right now. Should be up either late today or early tomorrow.

DRC-AG Plus

Hi Vimeo!

Now my video is not playing on the iPad (64GB) but it is working on my iPhone. (new embedded code)
vimeo.com/2994006

Any ideas?

THX Mani

SoFla360

GREAT news guys!!

Thanks for implementing HTML5 support so quickly. I just redesigned a website to be more mobile friendly. The embedded videos where the only weak spot, but now all the content should be viewable across multiple devices.

Charles Breiner Plus

So pumped... but my iphone is giving me same message about can't be played as DRC-AG... I assume this is a temporary issue... doesn't seem to matter if it's HD or SD video...

Andrew Pile Staff

This should be fixed now! We were sending your iPhone the SD, not mobile version.

Charles Breiner Plus

I figured it was something to that effect! Thanks so much! Works perfect now!

dotdean

maybe it fixes the ps3 problem too? ;)

cheers from germany

dotdean

will give it a try :) would be awesome! thank you mark

Neue Public

wow, Vimeo on HDTV, simply another milestone :)

Ravi Vora Plus

FANTASTIC updates! Great job guys. But, did you take away statistics on non PLUS user videos? Even the basic view counts?

Mark Staff

Hey Ravi! Stats are currently down. They'll be back shortly!

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