Radiant Media Player Blog

2020 state of autoplay for HTML5 video on the web

Last updated on April 23, 2020 - Back to blog home page


Various browsers, various policies

Starting in 2017 a wave of complaints from various Internet users surfaced about one specific item: unregulated autoplay of HTML5 video on various popular websites (and Flash video as well at that time). Main areas of discontent were the notion of having to endure a potentially high-volume video when loading a website and the inability for general web users to block this behavior.

Following this wave of protest, browser vendors have started to implement restrictions for developers to use autoplay with sound. This led to an era dominated by muted autoplay everywhere. Browser vendors then added more granularity to this ban on autoplay with sound to allow for browser settings or specific pattern of user behavior to allow autoplay with sound again. Problem is that major browser vendors have different views on the subject and have decided to implement different set of rules for allowing autoplay or not.

Below is a tested list of what is supported in most popular web platforms as of mid-2020 for HTML5 video:

  • Desktop web
    • Chrome 66+ or MS Edge 79+: Only sites allowed through Media Engagement Index will have autoplay with sound - muted autoplay otherwise
    • Firefox 66+: Only sites manually allowed through browser settings will have autoplay with sound - muted autoplay otherwise but viewers may also downgrade this to no autoplay at all
    • Safari 11+: Only sites manually allowed through browser settings will have autoplay with sound - muted autoplay otherwise but viewers may also downgrade this to no autoplay at all
  • Mobile web

Various links to more advanced information on the subject of autoplay on the web are available in the above list.


The need to detect autoplay capabilities

With such a fragmentation of the market when it comes to browser support for autoplay, it becomes clear that knowing beforehand which autoplay mode is available on a specific device is necessary, before requesting autoplay of HTML5 video.

For Radiant Media Player customers this is an easy pick because our player takes care of this complexity layer for you. Our developers are also monitoring potential changes in this area that could be made by browser vendors.

For other developers that might want to deal with this autoplay complexity on their own terms we recommend having a look at the video-dev/can-autoplay project on GitHub. We use that project as basis for our own flavor of detecting autoplay capabilities in a web environment.

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