How to get started with Wowza Player

Wowza Media Systems™ offers new player software called Wowza™ Player, a lightweight HTML5 player that plays Apple HLS streams in any browser, on any device. Wowza Player supports Flash playback on older browsers that don't support HTML5. The player comes with an easy-to-use, web-based Player Builder for fast, simplified Wowza Player setup, customization, and configuration. Use this article to learn how to use Wowza Player and to quickly and easily generate embed code in Wowza Player Builder.

Note: Wowza Streaming Engine™ media server software version 4.5.0 (or later) works best with Wowza Player.


Getting Wowza Player
Introducing the Wowza Player user interface
Using Wowza Player keyboard shortcuts
Playing streams from Wowza Streaming Engine media server software
Playing streams from the Wowza Streaming Cloud live-streaming service
Creating a custom Wowza Player with Wowza Player Builder Viewing stream analytics
Getting help with Wowza Player
More resources

Getting Wowza Player

If you have a Wowza account, go to the Wowza Player webpage and sign in. If you're signing in to Wowza Player for the first time, click the check box to acknowledge that you've read and agreed to the Wowza EULA and the Wowza Media Systems Privacy Policy documents, and then click Sign In.

If your Wowza account has a pre-existing license for Wowza Streaming Engine media server software or the Wowza Streaming Cloud™ live streaming service, you'll be directed to the Wowza Player Builder webpage where you can access the player and generate embed code to set up Wowza Player with a custom configuration in your own webpages.

If you don't have a Wowza account, go to the Get Wowza Player webpage to create a new account. Complete the new Wowza account form, and then click Sign Up to be directed to the Wowza Player Builder webpage.
  • If you request a Wowza Streaming Cloud trial or purchase a Wowza Streaming Cloud plan, you'll also get license keys for Wowza Player automatically. To access the player, sign in to the Wowza Player Builder webpage using your Wowza account for Wowza Streaming Cloud.
  • If you have more than one license key for the Wowza Player software, they'll be listed in a Choose your license key box in Wowza Player Builder, where you can select the license key that you want to use.

Introducing the Wowza Player user interface

The Wowza Player interface consists of an Action bar at the top of the player with a watermark, title, and description. At the bottom of the player, a Seek bar shows the elapsed play time of the stream, and a Control bar allows your viewers to manipulate playback options. You can display a title card and messages about the stream in the player interface.

Control bar function Icon Description
Play/Pause Start and pause the video or audio stream.
Quick Rewind Rewind video or audio playback by the number of seconds set in the player embed code. The default value is 30 seconds.
Volume/Mute Hover to change the volume level or click to mute.
Full Screen Toggle full screen view.
Bitrate Selector Select the bitrate for viewing the stream.
Seek to LIVE Return video or audio playback to real time.

Using Wowza Player keyboard shortcuts

If your browser's focus is the player object in the webpage, you can use the following keyboard shortcuts to control video or audio playback.
To Press the following key(s)
Play/Pause Space/Enter
Increase/Decrease volume by 10 percent Up/Down Arrow
Rewind/Fast-Forward 15 seconds Left/Right Arrow
Mute/Enable audio M
Enable/Disable full screen F
Seek to corresponding percentage of time through video playback.
For example, press 4 to skip to the 40-second mark in a
100-second video.
Numbers (0-9)
  • Using arrow keys or number keys to seek or rewind/fast-forward video playback is only available in video on demand or DVR content.
  • Keyboard controls are only available in the HTML5 Wowza Player. They aren't available to your viewers if their browser chooses to display the Flash Wowza Player as a fallback.

Playing streams from Wowza Streaming Engine media server software

To stream to Wowza Player from Wowza Streaming Engine media server software, you must use Wowza Streaming Engine Manager to create a streaming application with Apple HLS playback enabled. You can use Streaming Engine Manager with the latest versions of most web browsers that support HTML5 and Cascading Style Sheets level 3 (CSS 3). We recommend the Google Chrome browser. To learn more about how to use the manager, see How to find your way around Wowza Streaming Engine Manager.

1. Configure an application in Wowza Streaming Engine Manager

First, create an application in Wowza Streaming Engine to ingest your stream from the source. Then, configure the application as needed, such as for low-latency Apple HLS streaming.
  1. In Wowza Streaming Engine Manager, click the Applications tab at the top of the page, and then click Add Application in the contents panel.
  2. On the Add Application page, click Live (for live streams) or VOD (for on-demand streams).
  3. In the New Application dialog box, enter a name for your application, and then click Add.
  4. With its default settings, your application can deliver a stream to Wowza Player. Note that under Playback Types, the Apple HLS playback type is selected by default. This is required and you shouldn't change this setting.

    To avoid potential issues, we recommend that you leave the Cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) (for HTTP-based streams) option selected as well.
    Note: Instead of creating new streaming applications, you can use the default live application (named live) or the default on-demand application (named vod), which are included in default Wowza Streaming Engine software installations.
  5. (If desired) for lower-latency Apple HLS streaming, configure the application to handle smaller chunk sizes. See How to improve playback of lower-latency Apple HLS streams

2. Set up a media source for your streaming application

To set up source video from a camera or encoder for your live streaming application, follow the instructions in How to connect a live source to Wowza Streaming Engine to connect your live video to your application.

To set up source video for your on-demand (VOD) streaming application, copy your encoded video files to your VOD application's content directory. If you didn't change any of the application's default values, upload the files to the content folder in the Wowza Streaming Engine installation ([install-dir]/content). If you changed the application's Content Directory setting to an application-specific directory (${com.wowza.wms.context.VHostConfigHome}/content/[application-name]) or to a fully customized location on the media server, upload the files to these alternate locations.
Important: To work with Wowza Player, your encoded live streams and files must use H.264 video and HE-AAC (v1/2) or LC-AAC (v1/2) audio.

3. Play the stream in Wowza Player Builder

After your live stream is running (or your encoded files are uploaded to your VOD application's content directory), send your stream's playback URL to Wowza Player Builder.
Note: This step uses the Wowza Player that's integrated with Wowza Streaming Engine Manager in Wowza Streaming Engine 4.6.0 and later.
  1. In Wowza Streaming Engine manager, click the application name in the contents panel, and then click Wowza Player.

  2. In the Wowza Player page, specify a stream to send to Player Builder. Some pre-emptive mention of the HLS URL and file paths. If you have configured your media server with an SSL certificate, you can select either HTTP or secure HTTP streaming (HTTPS) versions of your published live stream or on-demand playback URLs in the live or VOD Wowza Player page. Wowza provides free 256-bit SSL certificates to users with Perpetual and Subscription licenses via the Wowza StreamLock™ AddOn. If your Wowza Streaming Engine host server address is null, you have to enter the media server's IP address in Stream Source (HLS) in Wowza Player Builder.
    Live applications: Select the playback URL for an incoming stream that's published to this application in Select a playback URL or enter a live stream Apple HLS playback URL in Enter a playback URL. A basic Apple HLS should have the following format:

    If your application is delivering a live stream via the Stream Targets feature to a CDN, and if that CDN provides an Apple HLS playback URL, you can enter that URL in Enter a playback URL. For more information about the Stream Targets feature, see How to use CDNs and services to distribute live streams (push publishing). If your application is delivering a live stream that's transcoded to multiple output renditions, you can enter the Apple HLS URL for the SMIL file or Stream Name Group that describes the adaptive bitrate stream in Enter a playback URL. For more information about adaptive bitrate (ABR) streaming and creating a playback URL for an ABR stream stream, see How to create and play SMIL files with streams created by Wowza Transcoder or Adaptive bitrate streaming with Stream Name Groups.
    Note: You can find your Apple HLS stream URL on the Mobile tab in the Test Players window.
    VOD applications: Select a Host server and enter the details for your video source file asset in File Path. A preview of the URL that will be passed to Player Builder is shown next to Result. The file path for your source file is composed of a media type prefix, the relative file path from [installdir]/content, the file name, and file extension. For more information on media type prefixes, see Supported media file formats. The File Path for your source file varies based on the file location and if you're steaming an adaptive bitrate set of files:
    To stream sample.mp4 from the default content folder, enter sample.mp4 in File Path. If a file path in a playback URL doesn't include a media type prefix, Wowza Streaming Engine adds the mp4: prefix to that file path. You don't have to specify a media type prefix when streaming mp4 files.
    To stream other types of media files from the default content folder, enter the media type prefix and the full file name in File Path.
    To stream an adaptive bitrate set of files in the default content folder using a SMIL file, enter the SMIL file name with the smil: media prefix in File Path.
    To stream sample.flv from [install-dir]/content/myVideos, enter flv:myVideos/sample.flv in File Path. Place the media type prefix before the full file path when the source media file is in a subfolder of the default content folder. If you're streaming a video file from a subfolder in [install-dir]/content, place the media type prefix before the full file path and always keep the application instance name (_definst_ by default) in your playback URL.
  3. Click Launch Player Builder to open the Player Builder webpage. Your stream's playback URL is automatically copied into Stream source (HLS) in the Player Builder settings. Click Update Preview to test stream playback. For more information about creating a customized player, see Creating a custom Wowza Player with Wowza Player Builder.
    Note: If you're using the Google Chrome browser and the Player Builder webpage doesn't launch when you click Launch Player Builder, you may have to allow pop-ups for Wowza Streaming Engine Manager. Click the Pop-ups blocked icon on the right side of the browser window address bar, and then either click the Wowza Player URL or select Always allow popups from http://[wowza-ip-address]:8088, click Done, and then click Launch Player Builder again.

4. Control the Wowza Player connection to Wowza Streaming Engine

You can control the Wowza Player connection to your Streaming Engine applications using the player IP address. By default, connections from ANY IP address are allowed. For more information about configuring the Client Restrictions options that enable you to control which IP addresses players can connect from, see Playback Security.

5. Enable DVR (seek) capability for live streams in Wowza Player

DVR capability enables your viewers to pause/resume playback of live streams and rewind backwards in the live stream/fast-forward to current live playback point. To support this feature in Wowza Player, you must enable and configure nDVR technology in Wowza Streaming Engine media server software. For more information, see How to set up and run Wowza nDVR for live streaming.
Note: Currently, the Wowza Streaming Cloud live-streaming service doesn't provide DVR capability for live streams.

Playing streams from the Wowza Streaming Cloud live-streaming service

In the Wowza Streaming Cloud user interface, do the following to have Wowza Player play your live stream:

1. Add a live stream

Follow the basic instructions in the Wowza Streaming Cloud "Getting Started" guide to add a live stream, paying attention to the following settings:
  1. On the Video Source and Transcoder Settings page, you MUST specify the following options to add a live stream that Wowza Player can play:
    • You must specify the Delivery Protocol option Apple HLS over HTTPS to play the stream in Wowza Player. This enables Wowza Streaming Cloud to generate a proper playback URL for the player.
    • You must set the closed-captions option to None, even if your live stream has captions. Unexpected results may occur if you choose one of the closed-captions options.
  2. On the Playback Settings page, select Wowza Player as the player that you want to use. If you can't select this option, this means that the Delivery Protocol and/or closed-captioning option isn't set correctly on the Video Source and Transcoder Settings page. Click Back to correct these settings if needed.
  3. On the Hosted Page Settings page:
    • To have Wowza Streaming Cloud host your live stream in Wowza Player, select Yes and then customize the appearance of the page.
    • To host your live stream in Wowza Player on your own website, select No.
  4. Finally, on the Review Settings page, review your choices. If necessary, click Back or click the Live Stream Setup, Video Source and Transcoder Settings, Playback Settings, or Hosted Page Settings icons to edit your selections. Click Finish when your settings are correct.

2. Set up your live video source

Now that your live stream is added to Wowza Streaming Cloud, configure your IP camera or other source encoder to connect to Wowza Streaming Cloud. For details, see Set up your video source.
Important: Wowza Streaming Cloud accepts MP3-encoded audio but Wowza Player does not. To work with Wowza Player, you MUST encode your Wowza Streaming Cloud source stream using H.264 video and the HE-AAC (v1/2) or LC-AAC (v1/2) audio codec.

3. Configure your playback setup

Next, configure the player and the webpage that hosts your live stream. In Wowza Cloud, select the stream in the Live Streams panel to open the Overview tab of the live stream detail page, and then do one of the following:
  • If you're hosting your own Wowza Player, under Direct Playback URLs, copy the Apple HLS URL into the Source URL (HLS) box in Wowza Player Builder.
  • If you're using a Wowza Streaming Cloud-hosted page for video playback, give your viewers the Hosted Page URL so they can watch the event in the Wowza Player player.

4. Start streaming

Start your stream in Wowza Streaming Cloud and in your video source. For details, see Start streaming.

Creating a custom Wowza Player with Wowza Player Builder

To create custom player code to embed in a webpage, you can adjust the settings on the Stream Source Information and Player Options tabs in Wowza Player Builder. All settings on these tabs are included in the embed code that's generated when you click the Get Embed Code button.

  1. Sign in to the Wowza Player Builder webpage. If you have more than one license key for Wowza Player software, under Stream Source Information, select the license key you want to use in Choose your license key.
    Note: Most users are issued one license key for Wowza Player software. The option to choose a license key isn't available if you have a single license key. For licensing details, see Getting Wowza Player.
  2. On the Stream Source Information tab in Player Builder, enter your Apple HLS stream URL in Stream source (HLS). For example:
    On-demand stream URL for iOS: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/vod/mp4:sample.mp4/playlist.m3u8

    Live URL for iOS: http://[wowza-ip-address]:1935/live/myStream/playlist.m3u8

    Where [wowza-ip-address] is the IP address of your Wowza media server.
  3. Update the rest of the display and playback settings on the Stream Source Information and Player Options tabs and then click Update Preview to test your stream settings in the preview window on the right side of the page. For more information on these settings, see Player Builder configuration settings for Wowza Player.
  4. To embed the custom Wowza Player configuration in your webpage, click Get Embed Code, and then copy the following code examples into your webpage:
    1. To include the wowzaplayer.min.js file in the webpage, copy the first tag into the HEAD section.
      <script type="text/javascript" src="//"></script>
      Note: The most recent version of Wowza Player is used by default, but you can specify and use an earlier version by replacing latest with the the version and build numbers. For more information, see How to use a specific version of Wowza Player.
    2. To create an HTML element to contain your video, copy the second tag into the BODY section.
      <div id="playerElement" style="width:100%; height:0; padding:0 0 56.25% 0"></div>
      The Size option you selected on the Stream Source Information tab is used here.
    3. To embed the player, copy the generated script into the BODY section after the playerElement tag. The following example contains all default Player Builder values and a sample Apple HLS stream URL for an on-demand application named vod and video source named sample.mp4.
      <script type="text/javascript">
      Where [wowza-player-license-key] is the Wowza Player license key issued to you by Wowza.
    The following example shows all of the code examples in a simple webpage.
    	<title>My Wowza Player Video</title>
    	<script type="text/javascript" src="//"></script>
    	<div id="playerElement" style="width:100%; height:0; padding:0 0 56.25% 0"></div>
    	<script type="text/javascript">

Player Builder configuration settings for Wowza Player

You can use the following settings to configure Wowza Player. They are found on the Stream Source Information and Player Options tabs in the Player Builder.
Property JSON notation Description
Update Preview N/A Refreshes the player preview on the right side of the page with the current Player Builder settings.
Stream URL (HLS) sourceURL The full Apple HLS URL of your live or on-demand stream.
This is an audio-only stream N/A Select to use the audio-only version of Wowza Player.
Title title Set the title to display in the top-left corner of the player Action bar on mouse hover.
Description description Set the description to appear when the viewer clicks on the video Title. Not available in audio-only mode.
Size width, height (found in div HTML element) For more information, see Configuring Wowza Player video size.
Autoplay autoPlay Plays the video when the webpage is loaded without having to click Play.
Loop loop Replays the video after it ends.
Start muted mute Stream plays with muted audio until the viewer changes the volume.
Starting volume volume Sets the starting volume of the video (the viewer may also adjust the volume in the embedded player). The default value is 75 percent of maximum volume. Volume ranges from 0-100.
Display images before the video starts and after video ends posterFrameURL, endPosterFrameURL Select Display image before the video starts and after video ends to display a static poster image in the player when video isn't playing or paused. You can link to one or two different images that are placed on the player before you click Play, after the video ends, or both. You should use JPG and PNG images that are close to the size of the player. Poster images can't be added to the audio-only player.
Image Scaling Mode uiPosterFrameFillMode Select fit to resize the poster image so the larger side of the image matches the size of the player, ensuring the entire image fits within the player (black bars may appear to fill extra space).

Select fill to resize the poster image so the shorter side of the image matches the size of the player, ensuring the image fills the entire player.

The aspect ratio of the image is maintained in both settings.
Show Quick Rewind uiShowQuickRewind
Select to include the Quick Rewind button on the embedded player Control bar. By default, this rewinds video playback by 30 seconds (or by a custom value).
Show Duration (versus Time Remaining) uiShowDurationVsTimeRemaining Select to display the elapsed time of the video in the player on the left side of the Seek bar. Clear the check box to display the time remaining in the video on the left side of the Seek bar.
Show Bitrate Selector uiShowBitrateSelector Select to include the Bitrate Selector button in the player Control bar. This allows the viewer to select a desired video bitrate. Bitrate options are compiled from your stream's SMIL file or calculated from the source media if you aren't using a SMIL file. By default, the player selects the highest quality bitrate that works best with the viewer's connection. To learn how to customize the Bitrate Selector menu, see How to customize video quality choices for adaptive bitrate streams in Wowza Player.
Show Full Screen uiShowFullscreen Select to enable the Full Screen icon in the player interface.

Configuring Wowza Player video size

Select Responsive under Widescreen or Standard to make the player resize itself to fit the webpage or container it's in while maintaining the selected aspect ratio. Black bars are added to fill empty space if the size of the video differs from the size of the player. If using Responsive, set the Max width to restrict the maximum size to which the player can be stretched.

Select Custom to enter a width and height that differs from preset values. Note that Wowza Player might not be able to play video that has a Width that's less than 320px.

Available Widescreen preset sizes: 1080p (1920x1080), 768p (1366x768), 720p (1280x720), WSVGA (1024x600), PAL (1024x576), VGA (640x360), QVGA (320x180)

Available Standard preset sizes: 1080i (1440x1080), 720p 720p (960x720), VGA (640x480), QVGA (320x240)

Additional Flash settings for Wowza Player

You can add the following properties to your embed code to configure Flash videos in Wowza Player. They are NOT found on the Stream Source Information and Player Options tabs in the Player Builder.
Property Type Description
license String Your Wowza Player license key (with dashes).
uiBackgroundColor String Sets the Flash video RGB background color. Default value is #000000 (black). This color is seen if the player applies letterboxing (spacing) to the video.
flashWmode String Sets the Flash video Window Mode for transparency, layering, positioning, and rendering in the browser. Options are window, direct, opaque, transparent, and gpu. Default value is direct.
Note: The direct option isn't compatible with Flash objects within a Bootstrap modal in Firefox. Use either opaque or transparent instead.
flashQuality String Sets the Flash video quality. Options are low, autolow, autohigh, medium, high, and best. Default value is high.
useHardwareDecoding Boolean Uses graphics hardware to accelerate rendering, removing some burden from the CPU. Default value is true. This may be unavailable in certain platforms, browsers, or when certain flashWmode options are enabled.
startTime Integer The time, in milliseconds, to begin clip playback. Set to 0 to play from the original start of the clip.
endTime Integer The time, in milliseconds, to end clip playback. A value of -1 specifies no clip end time.
abrAutoSwitching Boolean Toggles between manual and automatic adaptive bitrate switching. Default value is true, which makes Wowza Player select the highest quality bitrate that works best with your viewers' connections.
debugLevel String Specifies the error message type to display in the browser console. OFF, ERROR, WARN, INFO, DEBUG. Default value is INFO.
useFlash Boolean Set to true to force the Flash version of the player to be used instead of the Javascript version of the player.
abrStartingBitrate String Determines how the player dynamically selects a bitrate when the stream begins (first, lowest, or highest). Default value is first.

For more information on these settings, see Apply OBJECT and EMBED tag attributes in Adobe Flash Professional.

Customizable strings for Wowza Player localization

You can use the following properties to change labels and messages that appear in the player UI for localization purposes. They are NOT found on the Stream Source Information and Player Options tabs in the Player Builder.
Property Name Default Description
stringAuto Auto Label for the option in the Bitrate Selector menu that allows the player to dynamically select the optimal bitrate based on the viewer's connection.
stringBuffering Buffering... Message displayed when the stream is buffering.
stringCountdownTimerLabel Time until show Message displayed above the stream event's countdown timer.
stringErrorStreamUnavailable Stream Unavailable Message displayed when the player experiences an error with the stream (for example, when stream URL is incorrect).
stringErrorCORSStreamUnavailable Stream unavailable. Check cross-origin policy Message displayed when a CORS error occurs when loading a stream. This typically means that Cross-Origin headers aren't enabled for Apple HLS streams in the Wowza Streaming Engine application. For details, see How to enable cross-origin resource sharing (CORS) for HTTP-based connections.
stringLiveLabel LIVE Label to indicate live events in the player's Control bar.
stringLiveEventEnded This live event has ended. Message displayed when the player detects that a live streaming event has ended.
stringLiveSeekAlt Seek to LIVE Message displayed on mouseover when using DVR feature during a live broadcast.

Viewing stream analytics

Click the Analytics tab at the top of the Wowza Player Builder page to access playback session data gathered by the player instance you set up in Player Builder.

First, use the menus at the top of the page to narrow the data to playback sessions that occurred between a specific date or time range. If you have more than one Wowza Player license key, you can narrow the data to streams that belong to a single license key. Click Show to view the following types of playback data:

Playback Sessions Over Time: Use the graph to view stream playback trends over time and move your pointer over the graph points to view the number of plays on each date. Sort the table by date or number of playback sessions. By default, this section shows daily totals of all streams played in your Wowza Player.

Playback Sessions by Stream URL: Click the Filter button next to a stream URL in the table to view playback data for that stream only. Sort the table by the number of playback sessions or URL name. Use the Search to refine the stream URLs listed in the table.

Getting help with Wowza Player

When requesting help with Wowza Player, we recommend you know your player type and version number. On the Player Builder page or your webpage, right click in the player object. If the Flash version of the player is running, you will see a Flash-based pop-up menu. Both Flash and HTML5 player pop-up menus include the player version number.

There are two ways you can find help with Wowza Player:

1. Look for an answer in the Wowza Player forum

You can get help from Wowza experts around the world in our Wowza Player forum. Search for an answer, post your question, or answer other users' questions.  

2. Get Technical Support from Wowza

Sometimes you need a helping hand. Wowza technical support engineers around the world are available to help you achieve streaming success with Wowza Player. If you need help with Wowza Player or Wowza Player Builder, contact Wowza Technical Support. Be sure to choose the webform for the Wowza software or service that's delivering the stream to your Wowza Player.
When describing your Wowza Player in the ticket webform, be sure to select Wowza Player in the Area list so that your issue can be addressed most efficiently by a Wowza technical support engineer.
Note: To learn about the variety of support resources that we offer to our user community, see the Wowza Product Support Portal.

More resources

Frequently asked questions about Wowza Player
Known issues that affect Wowza Player
Wowza Player JavaScript API
wowza-player-rails GitHub project
Originally Published: For Wowza Player 1.0 on 11-15-2016.

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