How to watch our videos on the site

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Description

When you go to watch a Channel 9 video, there is a lot of magic that happens to get you to the right format of video for your device and browser. Essentially though, you can end up watching videos on our site in one of a few different ways:

  • HTML 5 with H264 video (MP4): If your browser supports HTML 5 video, and the H264 codec, then you are set for Channel 9. A small number of our oldest videos may not have a MP4 version, but we are fixing that up as quickly as we can.
  • HTML 5 with WebM video: If you are running Firefox, especially on a non-Windows OS, then this is for you. We provide both a MP4 and WebM source in our HTML 5 output, so you'll be playing whichever one your browser supports.
  • Silverlight: We never force you to use a plugin to watch our videos, HTML 5 should always be an option, but if you already have Silverlight installed, then we'll happily use it to play the video.
  • Flash: Just like with Silverlight, Flash is never a requirement, but if your browser/OS doesn't support HTML 5 and you have Flash installed then we'll happily use it as well!
  • Click to play, or download... If all else fails, on our side or yours, we'll offer you a direct link to our video file in MP4 or WMV format. You can click that link and you'll either be prompted to download it or to open it up in a video player (exactly what happens is up to your browser and your settings).

You can also right click to download any of the video links we have on our pages. Generally we should always have a few different sizes of MP4 and an audio only version in MP3 format available for each and every one of our videos. Downloading is always a great option, especially if you want to grab the highest quality file (which we don't use in our streaming player) or if you want to have the video available offline.

Need an HTML 5 compatible browser? 

I may have a personal preference, but any of these will work: IE9+, Firefox 4+, Chrome 5+, or Safari 4+

Can't install a new browser, but still want to watch the videos on the page?

For that, you'll need Silverlight or Flash installed.

The Discussion

  • User profile image
    _HaVok_

    Hi!

    I have some questions:

    1) Is it possible to set the preferred format of videos? I noticed that Flash (very often) provides better quality compared to other formats (on this web-site). So, for each video, I have to switch from the default format (which is Silverlight) to something that I like. It's very inconvenient.

    2) Speaking of Silverlight, when I use this format, the media player, for some reasons, doesn't hide the transport bar in the full screen mode. In the windowed mode it automatically hides after a couple of seconds. I thought that it's somehow related to Firefox (latest versions), but the same behavior I see in Internet Explorer (latest versions). Also, the same behavior I see on other PCs. This is bad, because often you can't see what a presenter is doing in the task bar. So, the question is: how to hide the transport bar in the full screen mode?

    3) Speaking of different quality of different formats, why is it so? Very often HTML5 videos are useless when somebody is presenting the code.

  • User profile image
    Duncanma

    @_HaVok_: Excellent questions!

    Ok so, in order.

    1) yes, it is definitely possible to set your preferred format. Go to your profile (profile link in the upper left corner of the site when you are signed in), click 'Edit Profile' then pick Flash from the Video Playback Preference drop down and then click Save and you should default to Flash from then on.

    2) I had never noticed that before, but you are right ... it should just go away on it's own. We'll look into it!

    3) Well, the trick with the video formats is we are trying to find a bitrate that works for everyone, and that's hard. Silverlight is often using 'Smooth Streaming', which is an adaptive bitrate technology. This means it starts out at a very low quality, but increases in quality depending on your CPU load and network bandwidth. So while it starts out low, it could go all the way up to our original source bitrate (around 3 Mbps). On the other hand, the Flash and HTML 5 players are using a more traditional streaming methods where it is roughly a single bitrate. Depending on the video and your connection/computer, the progressive formats might look better. You can pick 'Progressive' from the format button (below the player) to see progressive in Silverlight if you are interested in checking that out.

    Now, if the Flash player looks better than the HTML 5 player... I have no idea why that would be, they are both play the Mid quality MP4, so the same bitrate and file format.

  • User profile image
    _HaVok_

    @Duncanma:

    Thanks for answers!

    You said that the mid quality MP4 is used for HTML5 and Flash videos. Is it possible to set the high quality by default? I see that it's possible to download the high quality, but why should a user download a video manually, when the media player can do it automatically (buffering)? It would be nice to see these options in the "Video Playback Preference" drop-down list.

  • User profile image
    Duncanma
    @_HaVok_: completely agree, that isn't an option at the moment, but we'd like to add it

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