Viewing Video in Your Browser
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 Technical Prerequisites
 Downloading QuickTime 4.x
 Ready, Set, Action!


Viewing video in your browser is one of the most exciting developments on the World Wide Web. Although video was broadcast on the Internet as early as 1992, until recently video files were prohibitively large and the quality of video presentations left a lot to be desired. For example, a user might wait several minutes just to download a poor quality, 20-second long video clip displayed in a tiny 2" by 3" window. However, recent breakthroughs in bandwidth capacity and compression technologies are making video the medium of choice for adding high-end multimedia elements to Web pages. But what's even more exciting is that you don't need a high-end computer with a super-fast connection to play video. In fact, a decent three-year-old computer with a 28.8 modem is probably all you need. (See the technical prerequistes for further information.)

computer users These developments promise to revolutionize the way education is conducted. Several companies, such as Learning Horizons and White Pine Software, are making their marks by developing video-based technologies for use in the growing field of online education. WNET's inaugural online course, Internet in Action: Web in the Classroom, uses video on the Web to enhance students' learning experience.

Downloaded Versus Streamed Files

There are two popular ways in which video is delivered on the Web.

A downloaded video file can only be played after it is selected and completely downloaded from the Internet to the user's computer. The user may or may not be able to view portions of the video prior to its download. A streamed video file refers to a continous, uninterrupted playing of a video as soon as it begins to reach your computer, as a "stream," even before the entire file has arrived.

In both instances, video is usually delivered in small (30 seconds), manageable chunks. However, the technology is evolving rapidly. There are now a number of sites that offer so-called television on the Web, including live Web casts. For an example of this technology, see TV on the Web.

Delivery Options
There are many types of video delivery and file formats on the Web, including RealNetwork's RealVideo, Microsoft's Video for Windows (AVI), Microsoft's NetShow, and MPEG Video. However, we will focus on what is arguably the most popular and intuitive video delivery device, QuickTime. Although made by Apple, QuickTime is available for both Mac and Windows computers.
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