What's new in the web player v3.1?

  • Improved audio engine supporting HLS in Flash and AAC in HTML5
  • Responsive layout
  • First-run familiarisation experience
  • EU Cookie Compliance notices
  • Video ad support for VAST and AdsWizz
  • Now Playing ticker improvements

Improved Audio Engine

The Radioplayer audio engine keeps on getting better. We now support HLS in Flash and have now added full support for AAC in HTML5. AAC/AAC+ has been available in Flash for a while but this is the first time we've been able to formally support it.

The engine is smarter now too. It can tell whether your device has Flash or HTML5 and will work out whether or not it can play the stream. No need to specify a separate HTML5 stream. There's also support for backup streams so you can provide a list of streams you'd like the web player to attempt to play each and it'll work its way through them.

For AAC users, it means you can provide an FLV-encapsulated stream as your first stream, since the web player always tests for Flash first, and an unencapsulated pure AAC stream as your secondary stream, which will be used in the event of no Flash.

Or if you like to load-balance your servers, you can do it this way instead of playlist files, thus avoiding the horrors of crossdomain.xml

Responsive Layout

Because the web player is sometimes opened in full size browser windows, we recognised that the layout could be more versatile. Primarily the console still must be opened in a popup window - but if it's not for whatever reason, it can expand to a wider, more tablet-friendly layout. That's not all. We've tweaked the controls to make them work better with touch interfaces.

The content (plugin) space has been improved. The console will allow you to lift-and-shift your previous content (plugin) space as it defaults to a fixed width. But if you want to go all-in and have developers who can help, you can switch the console to have a responsive content (plugin) space too.

First run familiarisation experience and EU cookie compliance

When users first use the new web player, they are shown the ropes and inducted into how the various controls work. In particular we show them how to favourite your station. It's a short sequence which doesn't delay or stop the playback of your radio stream. Also, we take this opportunity to show users a statement about our use of cookies, in compliance with current legislation. If you need to, you can change the language or link to a different cookie policy page. What you can't do is remove this altogether as you could be breaking EU law.

Video ad support - VAST and AdsWizz

The Radioplayer web player now lets you display video ads in the content (plugin) space. Radioplayer will never insert adverts into this space - this is for your benefit only. If your station is selling video inventory, you can show a pre-roll video ad here, so long as it supports VAST. For stations which have joined AdsWizz, either directly or via schemes like DAX, we have built a solution to support server-side AdsWizz pre-roll and mid-stream ads, with companion visuals.

Stations needing more sophisticated solutions can contact us about VPAID. We no longer support niche providers directly but the web player is versatile enough for a good developer to adapt and we can recommend developers with Radioplayer experience if need be.

Now Playing ticker improvements

The Now Playing ticker has been upgraded to a Now and Next ticker. If you send us Programme Events (PE) via our metadata service, and you send us this data in advance then we will show the next track coming up. It should be noted that if you just use our simple Now Playing API, you can't show the next event - you need to use the full-fat ingest service. It's free to get an API account and we have plenty of documentation so consider upgrading. Also, if you use Song Actions, the good news is that we'll show a song action for the next track too.

Deprecated features

  • IE7 is no longer supported, IE8 is offered with limited support - Flash streaming only, minimal features. Windows XP is not supported but IE8 on Win XP has been tested and works to the extent we support IE8

  • Interstitials are deprecated - we noticed stations weren't using this feature, so we're taking it away

  • HTML5-only stream has been replaced with the list of streams as mentioned at the start

  • Overlays which are managed from your Station Control Panel will be going away soon, but overlays managed client-side will continue to work. If you need to use the overlay space, you'll still be able to, but will need a developer to set it up.

  • RTMP streaming is only supported in Flash. We will continue to support it for as long as Adobe supports it in Flash but ensure a backup stream in another format is provided so that non-Flash devices still work.

 

Read more

Check out the user guide PDF at the bottom of this article and your ZIP download will contain a copy of the integration guide for developers, located in the /docs folder