Guide: Playback Technology

In this topic, you will learn about different Brightcove Player playback technology.

Playback technology refers to the specific browser or plugin technology used to play the video or audio. (The playback technology will usually be referred to simply as a Tech.)

Brightcove Player techs

The Brightcove Player will do everything it can to play your content using HTML5. Only when it cannot, it will fall back to using Flash. To do this, the Brightcove Player's default Tech order is ["html5","flash"]. Let's examine these Techs:

HTML5 tech

The Brightcove Player uses the HTML5 playback technology supplied by the browser for handling the <video> or <audio> element. This means that the Brightcove Player will look for an appropriate rendition to be played using the browser's HTML5 playback technology, but it will vary between browsers.

If you are curious to find out what your specific browser and player are using, try the playback app in the next section.

Flash tech

If a browser does not support HTML5 media, then the Brightcove Player will fall back to using Flash. Brightcove has designed this tech to function similar to the video element.

Again, If you are curious to find out what your specific browser and player are using, try the playback app in the next section.

Technology ordering

By default, the Brightcove Player uses source-first selection when searching for a source/tech combination to play. This means that the player will try to play a video with every tech before moving on to the next video source.

Even though the Brightcove Player only uses the Flash tech in browsers that do not support HTML5 media, you may choose to turn off the Flash tech. In this case, the player would never use Flash to deliver your video content, and your video would be delivered with progressive download of an MP4 rendition. To do this, use the following:

{"techOrder": ["html5"]}

For details about technology ordering, see the Video.js Playback Technology notes.

Determining playback tech

The best way to determine which rendition source type and playback technology is being used with the current browser is to run an app in the browser. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Playback Technology App in your browser.
  2. Replace the default input values with your own account, player and video.

Your output should look similar to this:

playback tech app

Viewing playback tech manually

It may be helpful to manually determine which playback tech is being used by your player within the browser. Let's take a look at a video playing in the Chrome browser.

Source type

First, let's see which rendition source type is currently being used. With your video in the Chrome browser, open Developer Tools to view the console messages. In the console's command prompt, enter the following:


You should see that the current source file has an extension value of m3u8.

tech name

You might not expect the hls rendition to be playing in this browser, since Chrome does not natively support hls. But, the Brightcove Player plays hls using MSE (Media Source Extensions) in the Chrome browser.

vjs-tech class

Next, let's verify that HTML5 is being used to play the hls rendition. In the console's command prompt, enter the following to return the first player element which uses the class named vjs-tech:

tech name

Here, you can see that the HTML5 video element is being used.

Further reading

To continue learning about this topic, you can review the following documents: