Sep 22 - Media Player Beta

It's finally here! The new version of the Media Player with File Skip is ready for you try out, and no longer requires you to install the Adobe Flash Plug-In. In a plan, hover over the "Rehearse" button and click "Media Player (Beta)" to give it a try. Read on to see what's changed.

HTML > Flash

When we first built the media player, the only good way to play media on the web was using the Adobe Flash plug-in. This was great for a couple of years, but when Apple released the iPhone, they decided it would not support Flash. This began a good trend of phasing out Flash for newly available HTML technology to play audio without needing plugins. We tried to switch over, but the technology wasn't quite ready for some of the more advanced features we needed to implement, mainly panning.

When we heard that Safari v10 (released yesterday) would limit Flash support, and so would one of the next versions of Chrome, we knew it was time to revisit this. The good news is that web audio technology has improved greatly and we're now able to do everything we need to do, at least in most browsers. The new player does not require any plugins and should function on any device, including phones.

New: File Skipping

Last year we updated our iOS and Android media players with a feature that allows you to permanently skip specific files in a playlist by swiping them. Many churches have more than one audio file per song, but each person often just wants to listen to one of them. Marking files to skip allows each team member to have a playlist that only plays the files they want. And now we've brought this to the web.

Each file in the new Media Player has a checkmark to its left. Files are checked by default, but if you'd like that file to be skipped, just uncheck it. The best part is we permanently remember which files you like to skip, so if the song is added to a plan in the future, it will already be unchecked. Plus, in one of the next versions of our Android and iOS apps, we'll enable mobile syncing of skipped files. This means soon you'll be able to skip a file on the web, and your phone will skip it, too.

Moved: Volume & Panning

To access volume or panning controls, click the tools icon to the left of the main controls. This will expand the player to show you volume and panning controls (in supported browsers). You can drag the panning slider left or right, or you can quickly set it by just clicking the L or the R directly. Return to center by clicking the Panning button. 

Missing: Panning in Safari, IE, & Edge

Audio panning allows you to move audio between left and right speakers, and is especially helpful for split track files. These files often have a click track in the left and everything else in the right, or vocals on the left and instruments to the right. Panning was the main reason we haven't been able to move away from Flash for so long. The good news is that it is working great in Chrome and Firefox. The bad news is doesn't work in Safari, Edge, and Internet Explorer. 

Technically it should work in the newest version of Safari, but it is causing the entire page to crash. We're hoping to figure out why this is happening and fix it, but there's always a chance this is due to a bug in Safari. Internet Explorer and Edge unfortunately just don't support this new technology at all.

Not Ready: Internet Explorer

Since Internet Explorer is an older browser, it is often more difficult to make new things compatible. As a result it's taking a little bit longer to have this new player ready for IE, but we're rolling it out to all other browsers in the meantime. We hope to have it ready for IE in the next week or two.

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