HTML Multimedia

Multimedia on the web is sound, music, videos, movies, and animations.

What is Multimedia?

Multimedia comes in many different formats. It can be almost anything you can hear or see.

Examples: Pictures, music, sound, videos, records, films, animations, and more.

Modern web pages often have embedded multimedia elements, and modern browsers have support for various multimedia formats.

In this tutorial you will learn about the different multimedia formats.

Internet Browser Support

The first Internet browsers had support for text only, and even the text support was limited to a single font in a single color. Then came browsers with support for colors, fonts and text styles, and support for pictures was also added.

The support for sounds, animations, and videos is handled in different ways by various browsers. Some multimedia elements is supported, and some requires an extra helper program (a plug-in) to work.

You will learn more about plug-ins in the next chapters.

Multimedia Formats

Multimedia elements (like sounds or videos) are stored in media files.

The most common way to discover the type of a file, is to look at the file extension. When a browser sees the file extension .htm or .html, it will treat the file as an HTML file. The .xml extension indicates an XML file, and the .css extension indicates a style sheet file. Pictures are recognized by extensions like .gif, .png and .jpg.

Multimedia files also have their own formats and different extensions like: .swf, .wav, .mp3, .mp4, .mpg, .wmv, and .avi.

Video Formats

Videoformats MP4 is the new and upcoming format for internet video.

MP4 is recommended by YouTube.

MP4 is supported by Flash players and HTML5.

Format File Description
AVI .avi AVI (Audio Video Interleave) was developed by Microsoft, and is therefore playable on all Windows computers. It is commonly used in video cameras and TV hardware, but is difficult to play on non-Windows computers.
WMV .wmv WMV (Windows Media Video) was developed by Microsoft, and is therefore playable on all Windows computers. It is commonly used in video cameras and by TV hardware, but is difficult to play on non-Windows computers.
QuickTime .mov QuickTime was developed by Apple, and is therefore playable on all Apple computers. It is commonly used in video cameras and by TV hardware, but is difficult to play on non-Apple computers.
RealVideo .rm
RealVideo was developed by Real Media to allow video streaming with low bandwidths. It is still used for online video and Internet TV, but because of the low bandwidth priority, the quality is also low.
Flash .swf
Flash was developed by Macromedia. Flash requires an extra component to play in a browser.
Ogg .ogg Theora Ogg was developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation.
WebM .webm WebM is a project (www.webmproject.org) by the web giants, Mozilla, Opera, Adobe, and Google.
MPEG .mpg
MPEG, developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group, used to be the most popular video format on the Internet. It used to be supported by all major browsers, but it is not supported by HTML5.
or MP4
.mp4 MP4 is the upcoming format on the internet. It is supported by all major browsers in HTML5. YouTube recommends using MP4, and it is commonly used in newer video cameras and TV hardware.

Note Only MP4, WebM, and Ogg video is supported by the newest HTML5 standard.

Sound Formats

MP3 is the newest format for compressed recorded music. The term MP3 has become synonymous with digital music.

If your website is about recorded music, MP3 is the choice.

Format File Description
MIDI .mid
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a format for electronic music devices like synthesizers and PC sound cards. MIDI files do not contain sound, but digital musical instructions (notes) that can be played by electronics (like your PC's sound card).

Click here to play The Beatles.

Since MIDI files only contains instructions; they are extremely small. The example above is only 23K in size, but it plays for nearly 5 minutes. MIDI is supported by many software systems/platforms. Because it is the main format for binary music, it is supported by most software, including Internet browsers.
RealAudio .rm
RealAudio was developed Real Media to allow streaming of audio (online music, Internet radio) with low bandwidths.
WMA .wma WMA (Windows Media Audio), compares in quality to MP3, and is compatible with most music players, except the iPod. WMA files can be delivered as a continuous flow of data, which makes it practical for use in Internet radio or on-line music.
AAC .aac AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) was developed by Apple as the default format for iTunes.
WAV .wav WAVE (more known as WAV) was developed by IBM and Microsoft. WAV is compatible with Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems, but is not supported by Internet Explorer in HTML5.
Ogg .ogg Ogg was developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Ogg is designed to provide for efficient streaming and manipulation of high quality digital multimedia.
MP3 .mp3 MP3 files are actually the sound part of MPEG files. MP3 is the most popular format for music players. The encoding system combines good compression (small files) with high quality. It is supported by all major browsers.
MP4 .mp4 MP4 is a video format, but it can also be used with audio only. MP4 video is the upcoming video format on the internet. This can lead to an automatic support for MP4 audio by all major browsers.

Note Only MP3, WAV, and Ogg audio is supported by the newest HTML5 standard.

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