What Is an HTML Media Player?

Angela Farrer

A hypertext markup language (HTML) media player is an embedded feature designed to play audio and video files on a website that has been coded with this web scripting language. Adding an HTML media player is a popular way to deliver information to site visitors in formats other than written text. Some web masters also like to give their visitors the option of listening to music files while browsing through a site. While some proprietary media players can be linked to various websites, some web designers prefer working with HTML to make their own media players that fit better with their sites' overall themes.

Writing HTML to create a media player requires some knowledge of using embed tags and the values to include in them.
Writing HTML to create a media player requires some knowledge of using embed tags and the values to include in them.

Websites can include an HTML media player for a range of purposes. Teachers can use them to upload slide shows and video lessons so that their students can view them at their convenience. Aspiring filmmakers and graphic artists can also use these media players to showcase their past work as part of a website-based resume. A well-designed media player can be a powerful tool for different types of websites, though adding the needed HTML code often takes some attention to detail for a player to render correctly in different browsers.

Writing HTML to create a media player requires some knowledge of using embed tags and the values to include in them. Web developers typically include the names of the media files to be included at the beginning of the opening embed tag. They then usually specify attributes for their HTML media player such as its height, width, and color on the web page. This type of HTML code also allows the site author to choose options such as whether the video or audio files will automatically start playing when a visitor opens the particular web page where the HTML media player is located. One of the most common mistakes in learning this kind of HTML is including an incorrect link to a media file before entering the closing embed tag.

An HTML media player can also be coded to stream video or audio from another website as long as the web designer has the proper permissions to do so with material subject to copyright laws. Streaming media with HTML usually requires including a piece of code called an object class, which allows the HTML code to link to the specific uniform resource locator (URL) of the media to be streamed. This option allows website owners to add a wider range of relevant material to grab their visitors' interest.

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Discussion Comments


@Vincenzo -- If you do find some code and a plug-in, test the heck out of it before putting to much faith in it. Some of those players work great with some browsers and not others while others will bog down the speed of your site considerably.

If you find a free one that works, that is great. Still, keep in mind that there are commercial ones available for a reason.


Fortunately, you don't have to be an HTML expert to add one of these. You can find the code you need through various Internet searches, and one of the most popular ways to add a player is to install a plug-in directly in the blogging or Web editing platform you are using. There are a lot of them out there for free, so shop around a bit and find the one that best suits your site.

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