1.11.0-alpha.1 • Public • Published

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videojs-http-streaming (VHS)

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Play HLS, DASH, and future HTTP streaming protocols with video.js, even where they're not natively supported.

Included in video.js 7 by default! See the video.js 7 blog post

Maintenance Status: Stable

Video.js Compatibility: 6.0, 7.0

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To install videojs-http-streaming with npm run

npm install --save @videojs/http-streaming


Select a version of VHS from the CDN


Download a release of videojs-http-streaming

Manual Build

Download a copy of this git repository and then follow the steps in Building




See our troubleshooting guide

Talk to us

Drop by our slack channel (#playback) on the Video.js slack.

Getting Started

This library is included in video.js 7 by default, if you are using an older version of video.js then get a copy of videojs-http-streaming and include it in your page along with video.js:

<video-js id=vid1 width=600 height=300 class="vjs-default-skin" controls>
<script src="video.js"></script>
<script src="videojs-http-streaming.min.js"></script>
var player = videojs('vid1');

Check out our live example if you're having trouble.

Is it recommended to use the <video-js> element or load a source with player.src(sourceObject) in order to prevent the video element from playing the source natively where HLS is supported.



  • Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer 11 Windows 10 or 8.1

Using the overrideNative option

  • Chrome Android
  • Edge

Native only

  • Mac Safari
  • iOS Safari

Flash Support

This plugin does not support Flash playback. Instead, it is recommended that users use the videojs-flashls-source-handler plugin as a fallback option for browsers that don't have a native HLS/DASH player or support for Media Source Extensions.


DRM is supported through videojs-contrib-eme. In order to use DRM, include the videojs-contrib-eme plug, initialize it, and add options to either the plugin or the source.

Detailed option information can be found in the videojs-contrib-eme README.


HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) has become a de-facto standard for streaming video on mobile devices thanks to its native support on iOS and Android. There are a number of reasons independent of platform to recommend the format, though:

  • Supports (client-driven) adaptive bitrate selection
  • Delivered over standard HTTP ports
  • Simple, text-based manifest format
  • No proprietary streaming servers required

Unfortunately, all the major desktop browsers except for Safari are missing HLS support. That leaves web developers in the unfortunate position of having to maintain alternate renditions of the same video and potentially having to forego HTML-based video entirely to provide the best desktop viewing experience.

This project addresses that situation by providing a polyfill for HLS on browsers that have support for Media Source Extensions. You can deploy a single HLS stream, code against the regular HTML5 video APIs, and create a fast, high-quality video experience across all the big web device categories.

Check out the full documentation for details on how HLS works and advanced configuration. A description of the adaptive switching behavior is available, too.

videojs-http-streaming supports a bunch of HLS features. Here are some highlights:

  • video-on-demand and live playback modes
  • backup or redundant streams
  • mid-segment quality switching
  • AES-128 segment encryption
  • CEA-608 captions are automatically translated into standard HTML5 caption text tracks
  • In-Manifest WebVTT subtitles are automatically translated into standard HTML5 subtitle tracks
  • Timed ID3 Metadata is automatically translated into HTML5 metedata text tracks
  • Highly customizable adaptive bitrate selection
  • Automatic bandwidth tracking
  • Cross-domain credentials support with CORS
  • Tight integration with video.js and a philosophy of exposing as much as possible with standard HTML APIs
  • Stream with multiple audio tracks and switching to those audio tracks (see the docs folder) for info
  • Media content in fragmented MP4s instead of the MPEG2-TS container format.


How to use


You may pass in an options object to the hls source handler at player initialization. You can pass in options just like you would for other parts of video.js:

// html5 for html hls
videojs(video, {
  html5: {
    hls: {
      withCredentials: true

Some options, such as withCredentials can be passed in to hls during player.src

var player = videojs('some-video-id');

  src: 'https://d2zihajmogu5jn.cloudfront.net/bipbop-advanced/bipbop_16x9_variant.m3u8',
  type: 'application/x-mpegURL',
  withCredentials: true


  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as a source option
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the withCredentials property is set to true, all XHR requests for manifests and segments would have withCredentials set to true as well. This enables storing and passing cookies from the server that the manifests and segments live on. This has some implications on CORS because when set, the Access-Control-Allow-Origin header cannot be set to *, also, the response headers require the addition of Access-Control-Allow-Credentials header which is set to true. See html5rocks's article for more info.

  • Type: boolean
  • Default: false
  • can be used as a source option
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the handleManifestRedirects property is set to true, manifest requests which are redirected will have their URL updated to the new URL for future requests.

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the useCueTags property is set to true, a text track is created with label 'ad-cues' and kind 'metadata'. The track is then added to player.textTracks(). Changes in active cue may be tracked by following the Video.js cue points API for text tracks. For example:

let textTracks = player.textTracks();
let cuesTrack;

for (let i = 0; i < textTracks.length; i++) {
  if (textTracks[i].label === 'ad-cues') {
    cuesTrack = textTracks[i];

cuesTrack.addEventListener('cuechange', function() {
  let activeCues = cuesTrack.activeCues;

  for (let i = 0; i < activeCues.length; i++) {
    let activeCue = activeCues[i];

    console.log('Cue runs from ' + activeCue.startTime +
                ' to ' + activeCue.endTime);
  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as an initialization option

Try to use videojs-http-streaming even on platforms that provide some level of HLS support natively. There are a number of platforms that technically play back HLS content but aren't very reliable or are missing features like CEA-608 captions support. When overrideNative is true, if the platform supports Media Source Extensions videojs-http-streaming will take over HLS playback to provide a more consistent experience.

// via the constructor
var player = videojs('playerId', {
  html5: {
    hls: {
      overrideNative: true

// via the source
var player = videojs('playerId');

  src: 'https://example.com/index.m3u8',
  type: 'application/x-mpegURL',
  overrideNative: true
  • Type: number
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the blacklistDuration property is set to a time duration in seconds, if a playlist is blacklisted, it will be blacklisted for a period of that customized duration. This enables the blacklist duration to be configured by the user.

  • Type: number
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the bandwidth property is set (bits per second), it will be used in the calculation for initial playlist selection, before more bandwidth information is seen by the player.

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as an initialization option If true, bandwidth and throughput values are stored in and retrieved from local storage on startup (for initial rendition selection). This setting is false by default.
  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as an initialization option

When enableLowInitialPlaylist is set to true, it will be used to select the lowest bitrate playlist initially. This helps to decrease playback start time. This setting is false by default.

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as an initialization option

When limitRenditionByPlayerDimensions is set to true, rendition selection logic will take into account the player size and rendition resolutions when making a decision. This setting is true by default.

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as a source option
  • can be used as an initialization option

When the smoothQualityChange property is set to true, a manual quality change triggered via the representations API will use smooth quality switching rather than the default fast (buffer-ejecting) quality switching. Using smooth quality switching will mean no loading spinner will appear during quality switches, but will cause quality switches to only be visible after a few seconds.

Note that this only affects quality changes triggered via the representations API; automatic quality switches based on available bandwidth will always be smooth switches.

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as a source option

When allowSeeksWithinUnsafeLiveWindow is set to true, if the active playlist is live and a seek is made to a time between the safe live point (end of manifest minus three times the target duration, see the hls spec for details) and the end of the playlist, the seek is allowed, rather than corrected to the safe live point.

This option can help in instances where the live stream's target duration is greater than the segment durations, playback ends up in the unsafe live window, and there are gaps in the content. In this case the player will attempt to seek past the gaps but end up seeking inside of the unsafe range, leading to a correction and seek back into a previously played content.

The property defaults to false.

  • Type: Array
  • can be used as a source option

With customTagParsers you can pass an array of custom m3u8 tag parser objects. See https://github.com/videojs/m3u8-parser#custom-parsers

  • Type: Array
  • can be used as a source option

Similar to customTagParsers, with customTagMappers you can pass an array of custom m3u8 tag mapper objects. See https://github.com/videojs/m3u8-parser#custom-parsers

  • Type: boolean
  • can be used as a source option
  • can be used as an initialization option

This option forces the player to cache AES-128 encryption keys internally instead of requesting the key alongside every segment request. This option defaults to false.

  • Type: boolean,
  • Default: false
  • Use partial appends in the transmuxer and segment loader

Runtime Properties

Runtime properties are attached to the tech object when HLS is in use. You can get a reference to the HLS source handler like this:

var hls = player.tech().hls;

If you were thinking about modifying runtime properties in a video.js plugin, we'd recommend you avoid it. Your plugin won't work with videos that don't use videojs-http-streaming and the best plugins work across all the media types that video.js supports. If you're deploying videojs-http-streaming on your own website and want to make a couple tweaks though, go for it!


Type: object

An object representing the parsed master playlist. If a media playlist is loaded directly, a master playlist with only one entry will be created.


Type: function

A function that can be used to retrieve or modify the currently active media playlist. The active media playlist is referred to when additional video data needs to be downloaded. Calling this function with no arguments returns the parsed playlist object for the active media playlist. Calling this function with a playlist object from the master playlist or a URI string as specified in the master playlist will kick off an asynchronous load of the specified media playlist. Once it has been retreived, it will become the active media playlist.


Type: number

systemBandwidth is a combination of two serial processes' bitrates. The first is the network bitrate provided by bandwidth and the second is the bitrate of the entire process after that (decryption, transmuxing, and appending) provided by throughput. This value is used by the default implementation of selectPlaylist to select an appropriate bitrate to play.

Since the two process are serial, the overall system bandwidth is given by: systemBandwidth = 1 / (1 / bandwidth + 1 / throughput)


Type: number

The number of bits downloaded per second in the last segment download.

Before the first video segment has been downloaded, it's hard to estimate bandwidth accurately. The HLS tech uses a starting value of 4194304 or 0.5 MB/s. If you have a more accurate source of bandwidth information, you can override this value as soon as the HLS tech has loaded to provide an initial bandwidth estimate.


Type: number

The number of bits decrypted, transmuxed, and appended per second as a cumulative average across active processing time.


Type: function

A function that returns the media playlist object to use to download the next segment. It is invoked by the tech immediately before a new segment is downloaded. You can override this function to provide your adaptive streaming logic. You must, however, be sure to return a valid media playlist object that is present in player.hls.master.

Overridding this function with your own is very powerful but is overkill for many purposes. Most of the time, you should use the much simpler function below to selectively enable or disable a playlist from the adaptive streaming logic.


Type: function

It is recommended to include the videojs-contrib-quality-levels plugin to your page so that videojs-http-streaming will automatically populate the QualityLevelList exposed on the player by the plugin. You can access this list by calling player.qualityLevels(). See the videojs-contrib-quality-levels project page for more information on how to use the api.

Example, only enabling representations with a width greater than or equal to 720:

var qualityLevels = player.qualityLevels();

for (var i = 0; i < qualityLevels.length; i++) {
  var quality = qualityLevels[i];
  if (quality.width >= 720) {
    quality.enabled = true;
  } else {
    quality.enabled = false;

If including videojs-contrib-quality-levels is not an option, you can use the representations api. To get all of the available representations, call the representations() method on player.hls. This will return a list of plain objects, each with width, height, bandwidth, and id properties, and an enabled() method.


To see whether the representation is enabled or disabled, call its enabled() method with no arguments. To set whether it is enabled/disabled, call its enabled() method and pass in a boolean value. Calling <representation>.enabled(true) will allow the adaptive bitrate algorithm to select the representation while calling <representation>.enabled(false) will disallow any selection of that representation.

Example, only enabling representations with a width greater than or equal to 720:

player.hls.representations().forEach(function(rep) {
  if (rep.width >= 720) {
  } else {


Type: function

The xhr function that is used by HLS internally is exposed on the per- player hls object. While it is possible, we do not recommend replacing the function with your own implementation. Instead, the xhr provides the ability to specify a beforeRequest function that will be called with an object containing the options that will be used to create the xhr request.


player.hls.xhr.beforeRequest = function(options) {
  options.uri = options.uri.replace('example.com', 'foo.com');

  return options;

The global videojs.Hls also exposes an xhr property. Specifying a beforeRequest function on that will allow you to intercept the options for all requests in every player on a page. For consistency across browsers the video source should be set at runtime once the video player is ready.


videojs.Hls.xhr.beforeRequest = function(options) {
   * Modifications to requests that will affect every player.

  return options;

var player = videojs('video-player-id');
player.ready(function() {
    src: 'https://d2zihajmogu5jn.cloudfront.net/bipbop-advanced/bipbop_16x9_variant.m3u8',
    type: 'application/x-mpegURL',

For information on the type of options that you can modify see the documentation at https://github.com/Raynos/xhr.


Type: object

This object contains a summary of HLS and player related stats.

Property Name Type Description
bandwidth number Rate of the last segment download in bits/second
mediaRequests number Total number of media segment requests
mediaRequestsAborted number Total number of aborted media segment requests
mediaRequestsTimedout number Total number of timedout media segment requests
mediaRequestsErrored number Total number of errored media segment requests
mediaTransferDuration number Total time spent downloading media segments in milliseconds
mediaBytesTransferred number Total number of content bytes downloaded
mediaSecondsLoaded number Total number of content seconds downloaded
buffered array List of time ranges of content that are in the SourceBuffer
currentTime number The current position of the player
currentSource object The source object. Has the structure {src: 'url', type: 'mimetype'}
currentTech string The name of the tech in use
duration number Duration of the video in seconds
master object The master playlist object
playerDimensions object Contains the width and height of the player
seekable array List of time ranges that the player can seek to
timestamp number Timestamp of when hls.stats was accessed
videoPlaybackQuality object Media playback quality metrics as specified by the W3C's Media Playback Quality API


Standard HTML video events are handled by video.js automatically and are triggered on the player object.


Fired after the first segment is downloaded for a playlist. This will not happen until playback if video.js's metadata setting is none

HLS Usage Events

Usage tracking events are fired when we detect a certain HLS feature, encoding setting, or API is used. These can be helpful for analytics, and to pinpoint the cause of HLS errors. For instance, if errors are being fired in tandem with a usage event indicating that the player was playing an AES encrypted stream, then we have a possible avenue to explore when debugging the error.

Note that although these usage events are listed below, they may change at any time without a major version change.

HLS usage events are triggered on the tech with the exception of the 3 hls-reload-error events, which are triggered on the player.

Presence Stats

Each of the following usage events are fired once per source if (and when) detected:

Name Description
hls-webvtt master manifest has at least one segmented WebVTT playlist
hls-aes a playlist is AES encrypted
hls-fmp4 a playlist used fMP4 segments
hls-demuxed audio and video are demuxed by default
hls-alternate-audio alternate audio available in the master manifest
hls-playlist-cue-tags a playlist used cue tags (see useCueTags(#usecuetags) for details)
hls-bandwidth-from-local-storage starting bandwidth was retrieved from local storage (see useBandwidthFromLocalStorage(#useBandwidthFromLocalStorage) for details)
hls-throughput-from-local-storage starting throughput was retrieved from local storage (see useBandwidthFromLocalStorage(#useBandwidthFromLocalStorage) for details)

Use Stats

Each of the following usage events are fired per use:

Name Description
hls-gap-skip player skipped a gap in the buffer
hls-player-access player.hls was accessed
hls-audio-change a user selected an alternate audio stream
hls-rendition-disabled a rendition was disabled
hls-rendition-enabled a rendition was enabled
hls-rendition-blacklisted a rendition was blacklisted
hls-timestamp-offset a timestamp offset was set in HLS (can identify discontinuities)
hls-unknown-waiting the player stopped for an unknown reason and we seeked to current time try to address it
hls-live-resync playback fell off the back of a live playlist and we resynced to the live point
hls-video-underflow we seeked to current time to address video underflow
hls-error-reload-initialized the reloadSourceOnError plugin was initialized
hls-error-reload the reloadSourceOnError plugin reloaded a source
hls-error-reload-canceled an error occurred too soon after the last reload, so we didn't reload again (to prevent error loops)

In-Band Metadata

The HLS tech supports timed metadata embedded as ID3 tags. When a stream is encountered with embedded metadata, an in-band metadata text track will automatically be created and populated with cues as they are encountered in the stream. UTF-8 encoded TXXX and WXXX ID3 frames are mapped to cue points and their values set as the cue text. Cues are created for all other frame types and the data is attached to the generated cue:


There are lots of guides and references to using text tracks around the web.

Segment Metadata

You can get metadata about the segments currently in the buffer by using the segment-metadata text track. You can get the metadata of the currently rendered segment by looking at the track's activeCues array. The metadata will be attached to the cue.value property and will have this structure

cue.value = {
  byteLength, // The size of the segment in bytes
  bandwidth, // The peak bitrate reported by the segment's playlist
  resolution, // The resolution reported by the segment's playlist
  codecs, // The codecs reported by the segment's playlist
  uri, // The Segment uri
  timeline, // Timeline of the segment for detecting discontinuities
  playlist, // The Playlist uri
  start, // Segment start time
  end // Segment end time

Example: Detect when a change in quality is rendered on screen

let tracks = player.textTracks();
let segmentMetadataTrack;

for (let i = 0; i < tracks.length; i++) {
  if (tracks[i].label === 'segment-metadata') {
    segmentMetadataTrack = tracks[i];

let previousPlaylist;

if (segmentMetadataTrack) {
  segmentMetadataTrack.on('cuechange', function() {
    let activeCue = segmentMetadataTrack.activeCues[0];

    if (activeCue) {
      if (previousPlaylist !== activeCue.value.playlist) {
        console.log('Switched from rendition ' + previousPlaylist +
                    ' to rendition ' + activeCue.value.playlist);
      previousPlaylist = activeCue.value.playlist;

Hosting Considerations

Unlike a native HLS implementation, the HLS tech has to comply with the browser's security policies. That means that all the files that make up the stream must be served from the same domain as the page hosting the video player or from a server that has appropriate CORS headers configured. Easy instructions are available for popular webservers and most CDNs should have no trouble turning CORS on for your account.

Known Issues and Workarounds

Issues that are currenty known. If you want to help find a solution that would be appreciated!

Fragmented MP4 Support

Edge has native support for HLS but only in the MPEG2-TS container. If you attempt to play an HLS stream with fragmented MP4 segments (without overriding native playback), Edge will stall. Fragmented MP4s are only supported on browsers that have Media Source Extensions available.

Assets with an Audio-Only Rate Get Stuck in Audio-Only

Some assets which have an audio-only rate and the lowest-bandwidth audio + video rate isn't that low get stuck in audio-only mode. This is because the initial bandwidth calculation thinks it there's insufficient bandwidth for selecting the lowest-quality audio+video playlist, so it picks the only-audio one, which unfortunately locks it to being audio-only forever, preventing a switch to the audio+video playlist when it gets a better estimation of bandwidth.

Until we've implemented a full fix, it is recommended to set the enableLowInitialPlaylist option for any assets that include an audio-only rate; it should always select the lowest-bandwidth audio+video playlist for its first playlist.

It's also worth mentioning that Apple no longer requires having an audio-only rate; instead, they require a 192kbps audio+video rate (see Apple's current HLS Authoring Specification). Removing the audio-only rate would of course eliminate this problem since there would be only audio+video playlists to choose from.

Follow progress on this in issue #175.

DASH Assets with $Time Interpolation and SegmentTimelines with No t

DASH assets which use $Time in a SegmentTemplate, and also have a SegmentTimeline where only the first S has a t and the rest only have a d, do not load currently.

There is currently no workaround for this, but you can track progress on this in issue #256.


For testing, you run npm run test. You will need Chrome and Firefox for running the tests.

videojs-http-streaming uses BrowserStack for compatibility testing.


videojs-http-streaming makes use of videojs.log for debug logging. You can enable these logs by setting the log level to debug using videojs.log.level('debug'). You can access a complete history of the logs using videojs.log.history(). This history is maintained even when the log level is not set to debug.

hls.stats can also be helpful when debugging. Accessing this object will give you a snapshot summary of various HLS and player stats. See hls.stats for details about what this object contains.

NOTE: The debug level is only available in video.js v6.6.0+. With earlier versions of video.js, no debug messages will be logged to console.

Release History

Check out the changelog for a summary of each release.


To build a copy of videojs-http-streaming run the following commands

git clone https://github.com/videojs/http-streaming
cd http-streaming
npm i
npm run build

videojs-http-streaming will have created all of the files for using it in a dist folder




All commands for development are listed in the package.json file and are run using

npm run <command>



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