Best HTML5 Video Players for 2022

October 21, 2022 by

With Adobe Flash Player now officially laid to rest, HTML5 video players are the new industry standard. For that reason, it’s high time to consider your options for streaming video in 2022. In this article, we’ll summarize how HTML5 players work and feature our top recommendations when streaming live and video-on-demand (VOD) content.


What Is an HTML5 Video Player? 


HTML, as you know, stands for Hypertext Markup Language, the language that composes every page on the internet. HTML5, however, refers to the most recent version of HTML that supports audio and video tags (you’ll recognize <audio> and <video>). Web developers for browsers like Safari, Firefox, and Google Chrome have added video playback functionality, allowing other programmers to incorporate videos into web pages the same way they can with images.  

Unfortunately, these tags don’t support streaming — only embedded videos. The built-in video elements only provide limited control over how browsers load and play video assets, often resulting in stalling and buffering. Preventing mishaps like these to ensure an optimized viewing experience (for both on-demand and live streaming) requires a separate player component: namely, an HTML5 video player.  

Essentially, HTML5 players are JavaScript packages that use the Media Source Extensions API (MSE). This API, alongside Encrypted Media Extensions (EME, which offers enhanced security features and DRM) and VTTCue (for subtitles) enables developers to use JavaScript to override how browsers typically handle video tags and improve streaming video delivery.  


How Do HTML5 Video Players Work?

When HTML5 introduced Media Source Extensions (MSE), it enhanced the capability of its <video> and <audio> elements, making it possible to stream content directly in a webpage or application without the use of any additional plugins. Built on a JavaScript library, the new spec enabled you to generate a stream using video and audio chunks and laid the groundwork for additional features to be built on top of the basic HTML, such as adaptive bitrate streaming and the playback of protected content with Encrypted Media Extensions (EME).

HTML5 players are supported in all modern browsers and are a simple way to embed your video content for playback on nearly all devices.

There are several HTML5 video players available in 2022, but you’ll need to choose between open-source and paid, commercial options. The main difference between the two is that open-source players are free for you to download and customize, whereas paid, commercial options offer significant features and integrations already built in. Another difference to consider is that although open-source players tend to offer quick bug fixes due to the ongoing contributions of their developer community, paid players require you to contact the company for any potential bugs. That said, commercial options can offer an extensive list of features and integrations, which save you time on development, so your choice may come down to what your budget and development needs are.

Whether you choose open-source or commercial, both HTML5 player types are supported by Wowza and offer the same underlying architecture:

  • An HTML5 <video> or <audio> element
  • The desired height and width dimensions
  • A defined media source URL
  • Customizable controls

HTML5 video players can be very easily embedded into your HTML. If you’d like to test the playback of a video file, the sample code below is an example of what you would insert into an HTML5 webpage. Simply configure a test stream in either Wowza Streaming Engine or Wowza Video and copy the HLS playback URL that is provided as your source. You can then paste that playback URL in the code as your source (src).

       <title>HTML5 Live Streaming Test</title>
       <video width="640" height="400" controls="controls" src="http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/[myStream]/playlist.m3u8"></video>

Keep in mind that with Flash gone, media servers like Wowza can still ingest an RTMP source and repackage it for delivery over HLS in an HTML5 player. Although it is official that Adobe Flash is dead, that doesn’t mean RTMP streaming is as well.

Now that you understand how HTML5 video players work, let’s take a look at Wowza’s top six recommendations for 2022. Our list contains both open-source and paid options — appearing in no particular order. Keep in mind there are many more player options available outside of this list.


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Top 11 HTML5 Video Players


1. Flowplayer

Flowplayer HTML5 player with highly visual image of a blue, white, and red flower blooming.
Source: Flowplayer

Flowplayer has an industry reputation for being one of the fastest-loading HTML5 players available. They offer a free trial and a variety of payment options from as low as $25 a month. Some interesting integrations through Flowplayer include real-time analytics, header bidding, and various monetization opportunities through subscriptions and pay-per-view solutions. Flowplayer also supports adaptive bitrate streaming for streaming profiles up to 1440p (4K) and enables advanced customization for both desktop and mobile applications, making it one of the most dynamic and reliable players out there.  

Best of all, Flowplayer is now a part of Wowza. If you hope to take advantage of Wowza’s robust streaming solution (with features like live transcoding, a built-in CDN, live recording, and much more), you can soon expect Flowplayer’s lightweight but powerful HTML5 video player to be included. You’ll always need both a player and streaming platform to create a fully-functional video solution, so having them in one provider saves you a great deal of time, effort, and money.  

Key Features:

  • Award-winning monetization options
  • Real-time analytics and diagnostics
  • Advanced ad-scheduling
  • Playlists, Chromecast, ABR


  • Ability to display ads only included in medium-tier plan and higher. 

2. Video.js

Video.js, with the new Live UI, playing a live stream.
Video.js, with the new Live UI, playing a live stream. Source: Video.js.

An open-source player, Video.js uses basic Javascript and CSS, but can be easily customized and is used today on over 400,00 websites. It offers playback support for live streams as well as MP4 and WebM files, with adaptive bitrate streaming (ABR)  over both HLS and MPEG-DASH. Video.js also offers a popular plugin that allows you to track Google Analytics right from the player.

Key Features:

  • Vimeo and YouTube integrations
  • Over 100 plugins for advanced functionality
  • Analytics, advertising, brand logo insertion
  • Playlists, Chromecast, ABR


  • Standalone player, so you’d need to connect to the rest of your tech stack 
  • No CDN or analytics included 
  • No native monetization integrations 

3. THEOPlayer

TheoPlayer screenshot
Source: THEOPlayer

THEOPlayer is a commercial HTML5-based video player offering pre-integration across a wide video ecosystem. Web, mobile web, mobile, set-top boxes, casting devices, and smart TVs are all supported by THEO, offering an impressive reach for viewership. One of their most popular features is an SDK that supports Apple’s Low-Latency HLS streaming, making them among the first vendors on the market to do so.

Key Features:


  • Least expensive plan starts at $413 a month, which may not fit small creators’ budgets 
  • Based on our testing, THEOPlayer had the largest default CSS and JavaScript file sizes compared to others on this list 

4. hls.js


Free, open source, and built on a JavaScript library, hls.js works directly on top of the HTML5 <video> element by implementing an HLS client. Two top features for hls.js include its support for HLS and fragmented MP4 (fMP4) as well as its ability to transmux (or repackage) MPEG-2 and AAC/MP3 streams to fragmented MP4. Offering an extensive API library, you can fine-tune parameters such as buffer size, segment length, and bitrate. The ability to stream HLS with hls.js is nearly universal in modern browsers, but it does require the support of Media Source Extensions (MSE) in HTML5.

Key Features:

  • Fragmented MP4 support
  • VOD and live playlists with ABR
  • Alternative audio for VOD and live playlists
  • Subtitles, captions, analytics, timed metadata
  • Resilient to errors/built-in retry mechanisms


  • No encoding or hosting options 
  • Requires more advanced technical knowledge and resources to implement than some others 
  • No dedicated customer support 

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5. Clappr

Clappr HTML5 video player with landscape scene.
Source: Clappr

Known as one of the first open-source HTML5 players to be created by a community on GitHub, Clappr is built on .js and also uses the default <video> element in HTML5. The Clappr player is highly customizable in the CSS, boasts rave reviews for being user-friendly, and offers easy access to its API library. You can expect seamless video content delivery across smartphones, tablets, desktops, and TVs. Clappr users will likely be impressed with the long list of specialty plugins for customization.

Key Features:

  • HLS and DASH Playback
  • Picture-in-picture support
  • Support for 360 videos
  • Plugin for playback statuses
  • DVR, Google analytics, closed captions

6. dash.js


The dash.js player provides MPEG-DASH playback in any browser supporting Media Source Extensions (MSE) and is built on JavaScript. With DASH being an adaptive bitrate streaming protocol, the dash.js player offers one of the best adaptive streaming algorithms. Since it’s the official reference player for the DASH Industry Forum, you can expect high quality and reliability in a production environment. It’s both codec– and browser-agnostic and supports cross-browser DRM. Finally, dash.js does offer support for the newer low-latency DASH protocol.

Key Features:

  • High-quality MPEG-DASH Playback
  • Support for low-latency DASH
  • Advanced ABR algorithms
  • Cross-browser DRM, captions
  • Live playback catchup


  • No dedicated customer support 
  • No built-in analytics and monetization options 
  • Requires more advanced technical knowledge and labor for implementation 

7. JW Player 

Source: JW Player

As JW Player says, every millisecond counts, which means loading speed and ultra-low latency are of the utmost importance. JW Player’s HTML5 player is designed to play video with DASH and HLS as well as display video galleries with a Showcase option. Optimized for advertising and highly customizable with CSS and API access, JW Player also offers accessible customer support and audience engagement features.  

Key features: 

  • Ability to schedule events 
  • Multiple camera feeds 
  • In-depth analytics  
  • Easy to use 
  • Best-in-class ad integrations  



8. jPlayer 


jPlayer is an entirely free HTML5 video player because it’s an open-source media library built in JavaScript. You can use it to implement cross platform video and audio and leverage its flexible API for customization and webpage implementation. Because it’s free and open source, no licensing is required, and a community of contributors are continually working to improve it. Plus, it’s only 14KB, so it’s a lightweight player that won’t overwhelm your code or bog down your page load speed. 

Key features: 

  • Pick from many free plugins 
  • Supports multiple codecs, browsers, and other platforms 
  • Thorough documentation if you need help 
  • Both customizable and skinnable (also with CSS) 
  • Easy to use if you need a quick solution  


  • No dedicated customer support 
  • Requires your own CDN and encode videos separately  
  • No closed captions  

9. Kaltura Player  

Kaltura Player screenshot
Source: Kaltura

Kaltura is an out-of-the-box streaming solution that specializes in conferences and educational videos. Ideal for virtual classrooms and meetings, Kaltura also offers its own player, so anyone invited will enjoy a high-quality user experience. Kaltura’s open-source nature means a community of developers are consistently making improvements. Plus, the player was designed with accessibility in mind, so students and event attendees can take advantage of screen reader support, easy-to-use controls, captions editing, high contrast mode, and more.  

Key features:  

  • Extensible framework for plugin integrations 
  • Last mile optimization for reduced join times 
  • DRM support 
  • Interactivity support for VR, dual streams, quizzes, interactive pathways, etc.  
  • Brandable and customizable 


  • No platform construction or integration consulting services 
  • Several integrations cost extra 
  • Pricing varies per product or use case, no tiered plans 

10. Cloudinary 

Source: Cloudinary

Cloudinary’s HTML5  video player comes with a variety of customization and integration options, as well as monetization opportunities. It’s possible to use Cloudinary’s player on any screen size or device. You can implement multiple players on a single webpage, take advantage of built-in support for controls, create playlists, and even leverage shoppable video if you’re using your video strategy to sell physical products.  

Key features:  

  • Monetize through VPAID, VAST, and VMAP advertising standards 
  • In-depth analytics (including duration percentage) 
  • Supports ABR with HLS and MPEG-DASH 
  • Display video recommendations when another ends 
  • Floating player for when site visitors scroll away  


  • Interactive video functionality is in beta 
  • A more advanced and, therefore, more complex platform to use if video isn’t a core competency for businesses  

11. Mediaelement.js  


Mediaelement.js’s HTML5 player is another free and open-source option. It exists entirely in CSS and HTML, so you’ll need some programming experience to make it work because it’s not a proprietary player, but with the right knowledge you can ensure cross-browser consistency and include it in your webpage or mobile app. It also provides in-depth documentation on GitHub.  

Key features:  

  • Supports Mp4, MP3, FLV, HLS, DASH, and RTMP 
  • Completely free 
  • Ambilight support for a unique viewing experience 
  • Integrates with Drupal, WordPress, jQuery, and more 
  • Embeddable into Twitch, DailyMotion, SoundCloud, and other popular platforms  


  • Limited customization and branding options 
  • No dedicated customer support 



There are certainly many HTML5 players to choose from in 2022, but the key to identifying the right one for you is to find a player that meets your video playback needs. It’s preferable if said player is part of a more robust streaming solution, like Wowza, which is integrating Flowplayer into our offering after our recent acquisition. Having a streaming platform and HTML5 web player in one provider helps ensure you have the best video delivery process possible, from encoding to playback. You’ll have full visibility, more thorough control, and your audience will have a better viewing experience for it.  

Learn more about how you can integrate streaming video into your business-critical applications with Wowza Video and Flowplayer.  


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