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Entry and Introduction to
Embedding Video in Web pages
with useful JavaScript snippets


This article, and the one which it leads, to are the outcome of various attempts to include video files of "Flame Pictures" from various stoves onto the Theale Fireplaces Web Site where you can see some of the results - the link will open in a new window so you can return easily. This work has led to the gathering of considerable experience in the use of rather poorly described and documented techniques. It has also led to the gathering and writing of a number of useful JavaScript snippets to characterise the users machine so media can be deployed safely and to effectively control the video.

Video is arguably one of the most difficult things to include on a web page for several reasons, firstly a lack of common standards, secondly the huge data rate requirement and thirdly the processing power. The techniques used and described are not well supported by all browsers so when final pages are put together careful checks are needed to protect the user and to deploy the appropriate techniques. That has not deliberately not been done on these pages so the strengths and weaknesses of the techniques can be explored fully in different browsers. They should however work safely with Microsoft Internet Explorer version 5 or higher and not cause significant problems in lower versions although some of the techniques may not work and addition software may need to be loaded.

Before proceeding it is worth going to the Microsoft Update Site and making sure your machine has the latest critical software updates (those with security or other important bug fixes). You can use the same site to install Microsoft Media Player which is required to play the videos although it is a large download and is best found on a "cover CD" from a magazine. Microsoft Media Player may well be installed especially if you have a done a recent update of Internet Explorer to 5+ which installs it by default. You can check via Start -> Programs -> Accesories -> Entertainment -> Media Player. If you run it you can find the version number from the Help drop down menu -> About Media Player. Version 6+ should be fine. The latest is 7.1 which is somewhat over the top but earlier versions do have some security shortfalls which need to be patched.

Warning Some of the techniques are not expected to work in Netscape and others which are supposed to work may give unexpected/unaccountable problems of instability in some versions. No responsibility can be taken for any problems which may occur.

Opera 5.12 has been observed to crash completely and only experienced users of Opera should proceed to the next page.

Embedding Video in Web pages with useful JavaScript snippets

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Copyright © Peter Curtis
Content revised: 2nd December 2001