Brightcove Player Sample: Related Videos via Tags (Playback API)

In this topic, you will learn how to retrieve videos with the same tags as the current video and display them in an overlay. This sample uses the Playback API to retrieve the videos.


In this topic, you will learn how to retrieve data from the Playback API and display it in an overlay for the Brightcove Player. This overlay displays a set of related videos (via tags/metadata) in your account when playback is paused or ends. Also see the CMS API version of this sample.


Player example

This example displays an interactive overlay of related video thumbnails when playback is paused or has ended. Start playback for the video below. When you pause playback or when the video ends, an overlay of related videos will appear.

See the Pen 18485-related-videos-tags-playback-api by Brightcove Learning Services (@bcls1969) on CodePen.

Source code

View the complete solution on GitHub.


This sample calls the Playback API and searches for related videos in the same account, that have the same tag value as the video loaded in the player. These related videos are then displayed as interactive thumbnails in an overlay when video playback is paused or has ended. Selecting a thumbnail in the overlay, loads the associated video in the player and starts playback.

If you are new to using the Playback API, start by reviewing the following documents:

Using the CodePen

Here are some tips to effectively use the above CodePen:

  • Toggle the actual display of the player by clicking the Result button.
  • Click the HTML/CSS/JS buttons to display ONE of the code types.
  • Later in this document the logic, flow and styling used in the application will be discussed in the Player/HTML configuration, Application flow and Application styling sections. The best way to follow along with the information in those sections is to:
    1. Click the EDIT ON CODEPEN button in the CodePen and have the code available in one browser/browser tab.
    2. In CodePen, adjust what code you want displayed. You can change the width of different code sections within CodePen.
    3. View the Player/HTML configuration, Application flow and/or Application styling sections in another browser/browser tab. You will now be able to follow the code explanations and at the same time view the code.

Development sequence

Here is the recommended development sequence:

  1. Use the In-Page embed player implementation to test the functionality of your player, plugin and CSS (if CSS is needed)
  2. Put the plugin's JavaScript and CSS into separate files for local testing
  3. Deploy the plugin code and CSS to your server once you have worked out any errors
  4. Use Studio to add the plugin and CSS to your player
  5. Replace the In-Page embed player implementation if you determine that the iframe implementation is a better fit (detailed in next section)

For details about these steps, review the Step-by-Step: Plugin Development guide.

iframe or In-Page embed

When developing enhancements for the Brightcove Player you will need to decide if the code is a best fit for the iframe or In-Page embed implementation. The best practice recommendation is to build a plugin for use with an iframe implementation. The advantages of using the iframe player are:

  • No collisions with existing JavaScript and/or CSS
  • Automatically responsive
  • The iframe eases use in social media apps (or whenever the video will need to "travel" into other apps)

Although integrating the In-Page embed player can be more complex, there are times when you will plan your code around that implementation. To generalize, this approach is best when the containing page needs to communicate to the player. Specifically, here are some examples:

  • Code in the containing page needs to listen for and act on player events
  • The player uses styles from the containing page
  • The iframe will cause app logic to fail, like a redirect from the containing page

Even if your final implementation does not use the iframe code, you can still use the In-Page embed code with a plugin for your JavaScript and a separate file for your CSS. This encapsulates your logic so that you can easily use it in multiple players.

API/Plugin resources used

API Methods API Events API Properties
play() loadedmetadata mediainfo.account_id
catalog.load()   mediainfo.tags[0]

Player/HTML configuration

The Overlay plugin is defined and initialized in the JavaScript code for this example. The reason it is done here, is that we need to get the related videos metadata before initializing the overlay.

If you want to include the Overlay plugin in your player configuration, you can add the Overlay JavaScript and CSS files in Video Cloud Studio's Players module. In the Plugins section, leave the Name property blank, so that you can initialize the plugin within the code.

Other HTML

Remember to add the id attribute to the video tag in the player embed code.

<video-js id="myPlayerID"

Application flow

The basic logic behind this application is:

  • Create variables that define values for the base Playback API URL and your Policy key.
  • Wait for the video to begin loading to retrieve the video metadata.
  • Setup the request for the Playback API.
  • Make the request to the Playback API to get the first 9 related videos.
  • Format the overlay content to show the thumbnails for each of the related videos.
  • When a user selects one of the related video thumbnails, then load it into the player and start playback.

Define values

Create variables that define values for the base Playback API URL and your Policy key.

Wait for loadedmetadata

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Wait for loadedmetadata +++

Wait for the video to begin loading by listening for the loadedmetadata event. This ensures that the video metadata, like the account id, name and tag values will be available in the mediainfo object.

Setup the API request

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Setup the API request +++

Using the information from the video currently loaded in the player, create a Playback API search request for videos in the same account. The search will look for videos which have the same value as the first tag in the current video. It will exclude any video with the same name as the current video, and it will limit the number of videos returned to 9. That is how many will fit in our overlay layout.

Make the Playback API request

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Make the Playback API request +++

Send an HTTP GET request to the Playback API RESTful web service. Parse the returned data into JSON format. If an error occurs, display an error message.

Format the overlay content

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Format the overlay content +++

To format the overlay content, you will do the following:

  • Extract the id, name and thumbnail for each related video returned from the Playback API, and store it in an array.
  • Looping through the related video array, create a video list <div> wrapper which holds a <div> element for each related video. This will become the overlay content.
  • Initialize the Overlay plugin with the newly created related videos content. You will see a grid of related video thumbnails when the overlay is displayed. Show the overlay when video playback is paused or has ended. Hide the overlay when the main video is playing.

Load and play related video

Find the code which is labeled:

// +++ Load and play related video +++

Create a function that loads and starts playback for the related video that is selected by the user.

Application styling

The CSS styles the related videos thumbnail grid for the overlay.

Plugin code

Normally when converting the JavaScript into a Brightcove Player plugin nominal changes are needed. One required change is to replace the standard use of the ready() method with the code that defines a plugin.

Here is the very commonly used start to JavaScript code that will work with the player:

videojs.getPlayer('myPlayerID').ready(function() {
			var myPlayer = this;

You will change the first line to use the standard syntax to start a Brightcove Player plugin:

videojs.registerPlugin('pluginName', function(options) {
			var myPlayer = this;

As mentioned earlier, you can see the plugin's JavaScript code in this document's corresponding GitHub repo: related-videos.js.

Using the plugin with a player

Once you have the plugin's CSS and JavaScript files stored in an Internet accessible location, you can use the plugin with a player. In Studio's PLAYERS module you can choose a player, then in the PLUGINS section add the URLs to the CSS and JavaScript files, and also add the Name and Options, if options are needed.