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Picture-in-Picture (PiP)

Since April 2017, Chrome for Android O supports Picture-in-Picture. It allows users to play a <video> element in a small overlay window that isn't blocked by other windows, so that they can watch while doing other things.

Here's how it works: open Chrome, go to a website that contains a video and play it fullscreen. From there, press the Home button to go to your Android Home Screen and the playing video will automatically transition to Picture-in-Picture. That's all! Pretty cool right?

Android Picture-in-Picture photo
Figure 1. Android Picture-in-Picture photo

It is, but... what about desktop? What if the website wants to control that experience?

The good news is that a Picture-in-Picture Web API specification is being drafted as we speak. This spec aims to allow websites to initiate and control this behavior by exposing the following set of properties to the API:

  • Notify the website when a video enters and leaves Picture-in-Picture mode.
  • Allow the website to trigger Picture-in-Picture on a video element via a user gesture.
  • Allow the website to exit Picture-in-Picture.
  • Allow the website to check if Picture-in-Picture can be triggered.

And this is how it could look like:

<video id="video" src="https://example.com/file.mp4"></video>

<button id="pipButton"></button>

<script>
  // Hide button if Picture-in-Picture is not supported.
  pipButton.hidden = !document.pictureInPictureEnabled;

  pipButton.addEventListener('click', function() {
    // If there is no element in Picture-in-Picture yet, let's request Picture
    // In Picture for the video, otherwise leave it.
    if (!document.pictureInPictureElement) {
      video.requestPictureInPicture()
      .catch(error => {
        // Video failed to enter Picture-in-Picture mode.
      });
    } else {
      document.exitPictureInPicture()
      .catch(error => {
        // Video failed to leave Picture-in-Picture mode.
      });
    }
  });
</script>

Feedback

So what do you think? Please submit your feedback and raise issues in the Picture-in-Picture WICG repository. We're eager to hear your thoughts!

Preventing Android's default PIP behavior

Today, you can prevent video from using Android's default PiP behavior in Chrome by responding to a resize event, and detecting when the window size has changed significantly (see code below). This is not recommended as a permanent solution but provides a temporary option until the Web API is implemented.

// See whether resize is small enough to be PiP. It's a hack, but it'll
// work for now.
window.addEventListener('resize', function() {
  if (!document.fullscreenElement) {
    return;
  }

  var minimumScreenSize = 0.33;
  var screenArea = screen.width * screen.height;
  var windowArea = window.outerHeight * window.outerWidth;

  // If the size of the window relative to the screen is less than a third,
  // let's assume we're in PiP and exit fullscreen to prevent Auto PiP.
  if ((windowArea / screenArea) < minimumScreenSize) {
    document.exitFullscreen();
  }
});