Video players in China

Last night I was using AbemaTV on my iPhone. AbemaTV is a Japanese service where users can watch TV shows, anime etc. It is my favorite Japanese app since Line was blocked in China. But when I was using it, I missed many features I enjoy in similar services in China. I wrap up these features, and share with you here.

#1 Swipe up and down on the left side to adjust brightness.

#2 Swipe up and down on the right side to adjust volume.

(Note: there is no overlapping area to adjust brightness and volume at the same time. It is just my bad photo editing skill.)

#3 Swipe right to seek forward, swipe left to seek backward, release your finger to play at that moment.

They also show a preview thumbnail of the frame you are seeking.

Because these features are ubiquitous in Chinese apps, I already have the muscle memory. When I tried swiping in AbemaTV (unconsciously), it just closed the video. It is a gesture to quit the playback in AbemaTV!

There are other features I wish AbemaTV could also support.

#4 Remember the moment users watched last time, and automatically resume next time.

#5 Anime and Chinese TV shows have opening and closing songs. In Chinese apps they have an option to skip these automatically.

#6 Adjust playback speed.

#7 Download to watch offline

Not all videos can be downloaded, because licenses and copyright protection for some contents are restricted. For those can be downloaded, it is good to have this feature. I don’t need to finish before going to sleep. I can download and continue to watch on the commute tomorrow.

#8 Shortcut to take a screenshot.

#9 Make a GIF from the video

One last thing to mention is bullet curtain (also called danmaku).

They are floating comments on the screen. I personally don’t like them. But I am really surprised AbemaTV doesn’t have this feature. Bullet curtain is originally from Japan, now it is so common in China.


My name is Guanshan Liu. I’m an iOS developer at Booking.com. I will share more about Chinese apps, the different culture elements, the different mindsets in Chinese companies, etc. I’m a developer after all, I will also write about Swift and develop for Apple platforms. If you are interested in these topics, you can follow me on Twitter @guanshanliu.