is there best practice for displaying video? In this instance there is only one video item and it is contextual to the whole page article. I feel it is best to display it at the top of the page but wondered if there were any other opinions.
I guess it would be a bit harder to vote up for the best strategy for your case, until someone knows completely the story your webpage is trying to convey to the users.
Having said that, it depends a lot on what your video contains and relative importance of that matter with other sections on your page. There is no hard & fast rule that speaks whether to place video on the top or anywhere.
Is the video to be the primary focus for the person who visits that page, or is it supplementary to other content, which might be text and/or graphics?
If the primary content is the video, then having it near the top and at a size that uses most of the horizontal width of the content area makes it easy for visitors to start using.
But if the video is supplemental material, like a TV news report that accompanies a written article, giving it a more diminished presence on the page (as in smaller size, further down the page or off to the side) is appropriate.
However you go, I recommend not auto-playing the video, and choosing a player with accessible controls that fit the style of the overall site as much as possible.