HTML Multimedia

Multimedia on the web refers to sound effects, music, video, and animation.

Modern web browsers already support many multimedia formats.

What is multimedia?

Multimedia comes from many different formats. It can be anything you hear or see, text, pictures, music, sound effects, recordings, movies, animations, and more.

On the Internet, you will often find multimedia elements embedded in web pages, and modern browsers already support multiple multimedia formats.

In this tutorial, you will learn about the different multimedia formats and how to use them in your web pages.

Browser support

The first Internet browser only supported text, and even text support was limited to a single font and a single color. Browsers supporting colors, fonts, and text styles were born, and image support was added.

Different browsers handle support for sound effects, animation, and video in different ways. Some elements can be handled inline, and some require additional plugins.

You will learn more about plugins in the following chapters.

Multimedia format

Format Multimedia elements such as video and audio are stored in media files.

The most common way to determine the type of media is to look at the file extension. When the browser gets the file extension .htm or .html, it assumes that the file is an HTML page. The .xml extension indicates an XML file, and the .css extension indicates a style sheet. Picture formats are identified by .gif or .jpg.

Multimedia element elements also have file formats with different extensions, such as .swf, .wmv, .mp3, and .mp4.

Common Video Formats

Videoformats MP4 is a new video format introduced by the Internet.

YouTube recommends MP4.

Flash Players supports MP4

HTML5 supports MP4.

The The
format File Description
AVI .avi AVI (Audio Video Interleave) format was developed by Microsoft. All computers running Windows support the AVI format. It is a common format on the Internet, but non-Windows computers are not always able to play it.
WMV .wmv The Windows Media format was developed by Microsoft. Windows Media is common on the Internet, but Windows Media movies cannot be played without additional (free) components installed. Some later Windows Media movies will not play on all non-Windows computers because there is no suitable player.
  • .mpg
  • .mpeg
MPEG (Moving Pictures Expert Group) format is the most popular format on the Internet. It is cross-platform and supported by all the most popular browsers.
QuickTime .mov The QuickTime format was developed by Apple. QuickTime is a common format on the Internet, but QuickTime movies cannot be played on a Windows computer without additional (free) components installed.
  • .rm
  • .ram
RealVideo format was developed for the Internet by Real Media. This format allows video streaming in low-bandwidth conditions (online video, Internet TV). Due to the low bandwidth priority, quality is often degraded.
  • .swf
  • .flv
Flash (Shockwave) format was developed by Macromedia. The Shockwave format requires additional components to play. However, this component is pre-installed on browsers such as Firefox or IE.
Mpeg-4 .mp4 Mpeg-4 (with H.264 video compression) is a new format for the Internet. In fact, YouTube recommends MP4. YouTube accepts multiple formats and converts them all to .flv or .mp4 for distribution. More and more video publishers are turning to MP4 as a Flash player and HTML5 internet sharing format.

The latest HTML5 standard only supports MP4, WebM, and Ogg video formats.

Sound Formats

MP3 is an audio compression technology. Its full name is Moving Picture Experts Group Audio Layer III (MP3). It is designed to drastically reduce the amount of audio data. If your site is music type, you can choose mp3 format.

Format File Description
  • .mid
  • .midi

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) is a format for electronic music devices such as synthesizers and sound cards. MIDI files contain no sound, but contain digital music instructions that can be played by electronic products, such as sound cards.

Click here to play The Beatles .

Because the MIDI format contains only instructions, MIDI files are extremely small. The example above is only 23k in size, but it can play for almost 5 minutes. MIDI is supported by a large number of software on a wide range of platforms. Most popular web browsers support MIDI.

  • .rm
  • .ram
RealAudio format was developed by Real Media for the Internet. The format also supports video. This format allows audio streaming (online music, web music) in low bandwidth conditions. Due to the low bandwidth priority, quality is often degraded.
Wave .wav Wave (waveform) format was developed by IBM and Microsoft. It is supported on all computers running Windows and all web browsers (except Google Chrome).
WMA .wma WMA format (Windows Media Audio), better quality than MP3, compatible with most players except iPod. WMA files can be transmitted as a continuous data stream, which makes it useful for Internet radio or online music.
  • .mp3
  • .mpga
MP3 files are actually the sound part of MPEG files. The MPEG format was originally developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group. MP3 is one of the most popular sound formats for music. Expect future software systems to support it.

HTML5's latest standard supports MP3, WAV, and Ogg audio formats.