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Not all Web pages consist merely of static text and pictures. Some feature multimedia elements, such as streaming video or audio. Other pages may include movie and audio clips that you can download and play at your leisure.
In previous versions of Internet Explorer, audio and video were played by ActiveMovie controls (ActiveX multimedia handlers designed to run from within Internet Explorer). Although this worked fairly well, it wasn't uncommon to discover that you didn't have the player needed for a particular audio or video format. So your multimedia experience was put on hold until you downloaded the necessary player.
IE5, on the other
hand, relies on the revamped Windows Media Player (version 6). Without modification, it can play
most of the popular multimedia audio and video formats. Not only can it be invoked from Web
pages, but it can also run as a standalone application, playing multimedia files that you have
stored on your hard disk-such as WAV files and video clips.Tip
Windows Media Player is a component of Windows 98 and is installed as part of IE5.
Windows Media Player can play all the following file types: ASF, RealVideo and RealAudio 4.0, MPEG 1, MPEG 2, WAV, AVI, MIDI, MOV, VOD, AU, QuickTime, and MP3. If a new file format is encountered for which a codec (an interpreter) can be found, the codec is automatically downloaded.
To play a file on a Web page:
Click the graphic or text link for the file.
The file downloads to your computer and plays as part of the Web page
(Figure 8.1) or within Windows Media Player (Figure 8.2). Whether the audio or video plays in an
embedded multimedia controller or in a separate Windows Media Player window depends on how
the designer created the Web page.
To open a file with Windows Media Player:
1. Launch Windows Media Player by clicking Start > Accessories > Multimedia > Windows Media Player, or Start > Internet Explorer > Windows Media Player.
2. Choose a Web site or audio/video file from the Favorites menu (Figure 8.3).
If you choose a specific file, it loads in Windows Media Player and then plays. If you choose a Web site, IE5 launches and opens the site.