Crunchyroll quietly updated its HTML5 video player this weekend with a slew of new keyboard shortcuts and settings, finally rounding out the user experience.
To a certain extent, the timing wasn’t exactly ideal when Crunchyroll launched the HTML5 player last year. Many browsers had already been blocking access to Adobe Flash entirely, but Adobe’s surprise announcement that they would be killing Flash by the end of 2020 no doubt forced the company’s hand – resulting in an HTML5 player that lacked many features of the previous Flash player.
That all changed this weekend. First up, we have Crunchyroll’s new keyboard shortcuts for the HTML5 player, as outlined in the updated FAQ:
Curiously, what’s not outlined here is the fact that pressing ‘J’ and ‘L’ will jump the video back and forward 10 seconds respectively, along with the fact that pressing ‘K’ will pause the video no matter where you are on the page. Incidentally, the only reason I know any of that is because of an Instagram story posted by Crunchyroll on Friday, which has since disappeared.
Anyone familiar with YouTube’s intuitive keyboard shortcuts will feel right at home here, but I must say that I appreciate them even more on Crunchyroll. Being able to skip backwards and forwards with the push of a button makes taking screencaps much easier, and the ability to mute audio in an instant makes hiding the fact that you’re watching each episode of Sword Art Online: Alicization -War of Underground- with bated breath from your roommates and family this season much, much easier. (Don’t worry, I won’t judge.)
We also have some new settings for the video player that are a welcome addition. You can now choose the quality of your video manually, which is a godsend for those who suffer from poor internet yet don’t mind waiting for the video to buffer for a while so that they can watch in glorious 1080p HD.
More importantly, however, you can now remove subtitles from the video entirely – finally bringing back a feature of the old Flash player that those who wanted to test their Japanese listening skills greatly appreciated.
With the addition of these keyboard shortcuts and settings, Crunchyroll’s HTML5 video player is now pretty much as feature-complete as the old, Flash player and the players of their competitors, such as Netflix. The only thing that’s missing is the pop-out player, but Crunchyroll promises that this will be implemented as soon as it is “available.” Let’s hope that’s sometime soon.