Video Player vs Webpage

Keeping with the tradition of this blog (to keep the info as digestible for as wide a range of skill levels as possible), I want to explain some basic Internet TV concepts, so if you’re new to this the posts you’ll be reading in the future make more sense.

When you’re watching video in a web browser, there are 2 main components of that experience. The “Video Player” and the “Webpage”. They are generally developed as separate components that get integrated once they are developed. Let’s look at YouTube as an example:

player_vs_webpage.jpg

I dimmed out everything that isn’t the player.

The player is the component that actually plays back the video, and contains the controls that let you navigate and manipulate the video (i.e. move forward and backwards in time, enter Fullscreen mode, Closed Captioning on, etc) . In the case of most of the websites you watch video on, it is a player built on the Adobe Flash Platform, and is playing video encoded to one of the Flash video specifications.

Everything else is contained within the Webpage. The Webpage is generally build using a mix of different technologies including HTML and Javascripit.

Ultimately, the video player is “embedded” within the webpage, which is what integrates the 2 together. This is also what happens when you take the “embed” code from a video player and put it on your own webpage (as I have done with one of the films I’ve produced for Adobe TV, directly below this paragraph) or when you “Share” a video on a social networking site like Facebook.

Other things integrated within the Player, behind the scenes, are snippets of code which report usage back to a metrics & reporting system (in the case of Adobe TV, every time you watch a video, including if you just played that video above this sentence, it sends information that the video was watched, and also reports how much of it you watched, to our reporting system Omniture Site Catalyst). If there is ad-insertion, there is also code that calls out to the ad server to show you advertisements at specified times (generally “pre-roll”, i.e. before the video you actually came to watch plays). These are just a few examples.