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, like images, music, sound, videos, records, films, animations, and more.

Web pages often contain multimedia elements of different types and formats.


Browser Support

The first web browsers had support for text only, limited to a single font in a single color.

Later came browsers with support for colors, fonts, images, and multimedia!


Multimedia Formats

Multimedia elements (like audio or video) are stored in media files.

The most common way to discover the type of a file, is to look at the file extension.

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


Common Video Formats

Videoformats There are many video formats out there.

The MP4, WebM, and Ogg formats are supported by HTML.

The MP4 format is recommended by YouTube.

Format File Description
MPEG .mpg
.mpeg
MPEG. Developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group. The first popular video format on the web. Not supported anymore in HTML.
AVI .avi AVI (Audio Video Interleave). Developed by Microsoft. Commonly used in video cameras and TV hardware. Plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
WMV .wmv WMV (Windows Media Video). Developed by Microsoft. Commonly used in video cameras and TV hardware. Plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
QuickTime .mov QuickTime. Developed by Apple. Commonly used in video cameras and TV hardware. Plays well on Apple computers, but not in web browsers.
RealVideo .rm
.ram
RealVideo. Developed by Real Media to allow video streaming with low bandwidths. Does not play in web browsers.
Flash .swf
.flv
Flash. Developed by Macromedia. Often requires an extra component (plug-in) to play in web browsers.
Ogg .ogg Theora Ogg. Developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Supported by HTML.
WebM .webm WebM. Developed by Mozilla, Opera, Adobe, and Google. Supported by HTML.
MPEG-4
or MP4
.mp4 MP4. Developed by the Moving Pictures Expert Group. Commonly used in video cameras and TV hardware. Supported by all browsers and  recommended by YouTube. 

Only MP4, WebM, and Ogg video are supported by the HTML standard.



Common Audio Formats

MP3 is the best 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
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). Main format for all electronic music devices like synthesizers and PC sound cards. MIDI files do not contain sound, but digital notes that can be played by electronics. Plays well on all computers and music hardware, but not in web browsers.
RealAudio .rm
.ram
RealAudio. Developed by Real Media to allow streaming of audio with low bandwidths. Does not play in web browsers.
WMA .wma WMA (Windows Media Audio). Developed by Microsoft. Plays well on Windows computers, but not in web browsers.
AAC .aac AAC (Advanced Audio Coding). Developed by Apple as the default format for iTunes. Plays well on Apple computers, but not in web browsers.
WAV .wav WAV. Developed by IBM and Microsoft. Plays well on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux operating systems. Supported by HTML.
Ogg .ogg Ogg. Developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation. Supported by HTML.
MP3 .mp3 MP3 files are actually the sound part of MPEG files. MP3 is the most popular format for music players. Combines good compression (small files) with high quality. Supported by all browsers.
MP4 .mp4 MP4 is a video format, but can also be used for audio. Supported by all browsers.

Only MP3, WAV, and Ogg audio are supported by the HTML standard.