Transpartent (alpha) videos on the Android Player

Good day everyone! There are a few topics around this, but I spent a few hours this morning doing some “R&D” on the subject, and tougth I should share my findings.

We wanted to to some animations on top of our other regions (either videos or images). These animations would have been shapes with specials to promote at regular intervals. We’ve seen this at our Local McDonald’s.

The advantage is that we can easily create After Effects animations with transparent background and put them above our regular dynamic signage layouts.


  • The use of Flash is no longer supported
  • Alpha channel is currently supported by WEBM (YEAH!)
  • Those WEBM with alpha play well on Chrome 39+
  • Tested with Xibo with a WEBM video with transparent background played ON TOP of another video, each on their region. Worked well in the preview of the layout using chrome, but:
  • Transparent WEBM videos show a black background on Android
  • Video on top of another video = NONO on Android Player

So, until Android support Alpha on its webm, there is no way to achieve our goal…


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Thanks for the detailed round up - your findings more or less match our own extensive testing.

The problem is multifaceted - the first element is that Xibo for Android uses the Android VideoView to display video. This means that we can feed in whatever we want and it will either play or it wont, there is very little customisation possible and very little we can do to effect how it will play different formats.

The second element is that the version of Android is important - different versions = different decoding abilities and improvements.

The third element is that the VideoView implementation differs from device to device, firmware to firmware. The core-supported formats provided by Google are usually OK, but it depends how the firmware does the decoding (whether they have provided their own decoder, or use hardware, in which case it depends on the GPU, etc).

Our solution will be to use a different mechanism for rendering Video - exactly what this will be, how long it takes to achieve, etc are all down to the projects internal priorities, but it is not a small job. The power of customisation we will gain from using another mechanism will also make handling edge cases gracefully more complicated.

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Thanks Dan, we’ll follow that closely!

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Hi there is someone have news about this?

I have transparent (alpha-channel) videos working on a version of the Android player. I’ve opened a separate Feature Request to make it work ‘smoother’, perhaps someone wants to write a customized plugin? Feature Request (Android player)

Our position is still the same - we’ve noticed some improvements in later versions of Android, but nothing we can point to and say “its working better”.

Our long term solution will most likely be to use ExoPlayer, which will allow us much more control. I do take Evi’s point, that we could use a WebView and HTML5 video element instead - but we’d really like to improve it further than a webview will allow.