HTML and CSS Reference
browsers direct users to the Web site from which they can download the required plug-in.
A suggestion to Web developers is to utilize common formats, such as .wmv, .mp4, .flv,
and .mp3. It is also a good idea to let your users know what format is being used. If the
plug-in is not installed, IE generally provides the capability to install it. Many Web sites
today also provide a link to the appropriate manufacturer for an ActiveX control needed
to play the file.
As you will see in the following section, the various audio and video formats can
be played on a variety of players. For embedded multimedia, it is good to use a format
supported by multiple players.
Updating or Installing
Your Web site visitors
might not have the plug-
ins that are required
to play the multimedia
content on your Web site.
Many Web sites discuss
how to best provide
users with access to such
HTML5 and Multimedia
HTML5 introduces built-in media support via the audio and video elements.
This offers Web developers the ability to easily embed media into HTML documents.
This chapter will teach students how to utilize the new audio and video elements. It also
discusses the object element in-depth so that students have alternatives in their Web
Audio and Video File Formats
A variety of audio and video formats can be used on the Web. Table 8-1 lists the most
commonly used audio file formats, and Table 8-2 lists common video file formats. As of the
writing of this topic, HTML5 is restrictive in the formats that it supports with the new audio
and video elements. The supported formats are indicated in both Tables 8-1 and 8-2 with an
asterisk. Understand that there are many software applications available that convert from
one audio (or video) format to another though which is another option for a Web developer.
Audio files that are used on the Web often utilize file compression techniques. This reduces
the size of the file, but it can also diminish the sound quality. Uncompressed audio formats
included in Table 8-1 include .aiff, .au, and .wav. The three main formats for the audio tag are:
.mp3, .ogg, and .wav. In this project, you will insert an .mp3 file.
Table 8-1 Common Audio File Formats
The standard audio file format developed by Apple
As a noncompressed and lossless format, it uses more disk space than the MP3 format
The standard audio file format used by Sun,
UnIx, and Java
Can be compressed
Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI)
Limited to electronic musical instruments (such as synthesizers) and other electronic equipment
Can be much smaller in size than other formats
One of the most popular formats for music storage
Compresses files to approximately 1/10 the size of uncompressed files
Created on basis of the QuickTime format; used for audio and video
Is a quicker, faster, high-quality media
not supported by Windows Media Player
Maintained by xiph.Org Foundation
Designed to provide for efficient streaming and high-quality digital multimedia
Can be used with <audio> tag
Designed for streaming audio over the Internet; declining use
Sound quality not as good as other formats
Standard audio format for Windows
Commonly used for storing uncompressed CD-quality sound files•
Compression is available to reduce file size
*Supported by HTML5 <audio> tag