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One file drop-in video player web app for using MP4 video files served using basic directory listing.

player.html in action player.html on all of your devices


player.html is designed to be a drop-in video player that does not require any configuration or other files.

To use it, copy the ./src/player.html file into a folder that is served over HTTP using the web server's folder listing functionality. player.html basically uses the folder listing as an API for enumerating the files and folders. It should work with almost any web server, but it has only been tested against NGINX, Apache, and IIS.

Supported features

  • Only 1 file with zero external dependencies
  • SVG images are inlined
  • May be installed as a PWA (Progressive Web App) app. Dynamically generated inline data URI manifest file.
  • Playback of MP4, M4V, MOV, MKV, WEBM, and OGG files using the browser video engine
  • Support for loading external SRT and VTT subtitle files
  • Shareable URL that will load player.html in the same folder location, and video position
  • Custom video playback controls (fullscreen, play, pause, mute, etc, volume, playback rate)
  • Picture-in-picture support
  • Progress bar with timestamp preview thumbnail on hover
  • Video thumbnails: using prerendered thumbnail files, or rendered on-the-fly in-browser
  • Animated thumbnails**
  • Thumbnail caching using localStorage, check cache size, clear cache
  • Select your own custom theme color
  • Social media metadata (og:\*, twitter:\*)
  • Video file metadata (bitrate, resolution, etc)
  • Keyboard shortcuts (press ? to see the list)
  • Paste and Play: just do CTRL+V to play the video URL that you currently have in the clipboard
  • Support for playing videos directly from onedrive OneDrive and gdrive Google Drive. You must supply the appropriate keys in the AND register your app with Microsoft and/or Google. Instructions are in the code. player.html also must be served over HTTPS for the Microsoft and Google auth flows to work. Remix this Glitch to easily check it out over HTTPS with your own API keys.

* Be careful with concurrency. Increasing the setting above 1 does make it generate thumbnails much faster. But it is very easy for HTTP requests for generating thumbnails to saturate a connection enough that the main video gets starved for bandwidth. Especially if you browse into a folder with many dozens of videos in it.

** Animated thumbnails can consume a lot of data. The experience may degrade on slower network connections

Pre-rendered server-side thumbnails

player.html can use server-side thumbnails for any video that has one available. It will fall back to generating thumbnails in the browser otherwise. The server-side thumbnail files must follow the common filename convention of using the video file name, with the extension replaced with an image extension, in the same folder as the video. Note: The image files must be shown by your web server's directory browsing (may require mime-type adjustments on some servers) feature to show up in player.html.

Naming example:

  • Video filename: myVideo.mp4
  • Matching thumbnail filename: myVideo.jpg

How to pre-render thumbnails

The easiest way to create thumbnails from video files is on the command-line with ffmpeg. The following command will create a JPEG thumbnail (myVideo.jpg) from the video frame 5 seconds into myVideo.mp4: ffmpeg -i myVideo.mp4 -ss 00:00:05.000 -vframes 1 myVideo.jpg. Loop over folders of video files using your preferred shell (bash, cmd, powershell, etc) to process many videos.

Supported thumbnail image formats/extensions

  • GIF
  • JPEG
  • JPG
  • PNG
  • WEBP

Supported browsers

The latest version of these browsers is supported:

  • Edge (Chromium)
  • Firefox
  • Safari (Mac, iPadOS, iOS)
  • Chrome

Supported web servers

The latest version of these web servers (others may work as well):


  • player.html uses folder.api to consume HTTP directory listings like an API
  • player.html uses video-thumbnail.js to render thumbnails from video file URLs


© 2022 Paul Ellis


One file drop-in video player web app for using video files served using basic directory listing