Website Information


Media Playback Options for
Listening Quizzes

HTML 5/FLV (Flash Video) Media Player | Windows Media Player

Background

There are two main playback options available for playing the audio and video files at this site, and the basic features of each are listed below. If you have a problem with hearing the audio (and you are sure you have the software installed), click HERE for more information.

Deciding on which media format(s) to use on my site has changed over the years. Back in late 1997 when I started developing my Website, RealMedia by www.real.com was the clear choice because it was by far the most widely used and developed media player out there for both Windows and Macs. However, Microsoft began to heavily invest in the development of their Windows Media Player and eventually captured a large part of the media player audience, overtaking RealPlayer in many different ways. Like Microsoft's dominance in the browser wars with Netscape (Remember them?), RealPlayer lost a lot of ground, and it certainly isn't as popular or visible as it used to be. Furthermore, many network administrators in computer labs around the world are choosing not to install and support this software anymore, leaving teachers no option but to look for other Web sites for their students. For this reason, I focused more on the Windows Media Player several years ago.

For a number of years, the Windows Media Player expanded the options for their media player, including speed control settings that are ideal for language learners (see more about this below). Furthermore, the Windows Media Player is already installed on all PCs running the Windows operating system, so users don't have to worry about additional software. This has been great for teachers who use my site in their computer labs. However, some report that the Windows Media Player doesn't perform equally work well on a Mac, and you can't ignore the growth of the Apple user audience.

In steps Adobe Flash. With Flash currently installed on 98%+ of all computers (PCs and Macs), its ease of use, and its increased popularity on sites like Youtube.com, using a Flash player one my site only makes good sense at this time. The Flash Player is one of the easiest formats because you don't need to open a separate media program to listen to the audio and video. However, I still have the Window Media Player option available to visitors.

Furthermore, with the growth of portable electronic devices like iPads and iPhones, I have prepared my media so that it can be played on these as well because many devices do not support Flash. Therefore, here is a description of your choices:


HTML 5/FLV (Flash Video) Media Player

The media player used on this site supports many of the formats Adobe Flash can play, and you don't have to open a separate audio player, which is something many visitors enjoy. (You can download Adobe Flash for free from http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer). This audio on my site plays on all major browsers on PCs and Macs. Here is one example of the player from my listening Activity, Answering Machine. Notice that you also have the option to listen to the same recording in RealMedia or Windows Media format, based on your preferences and the software installed on your computer. Again, I am working on configuring these files so that people with some portable devices such as the iPhone and iPad can play these as well.

Loading the player ...
[ What are these different audio choices? ]
[ Other Audio Options: Play Window Media ]


Windows Media Player (Microsoft) - www.microsoft.com

For Windows
  • The Windows Media Player is already part of the Windows operating system, and thus, does not need to be downloaded to use this site. However, you might want to upgrade your player to version 10.0+ to take advantage of the Play Speed Settings that allow you to slow down or speed up the playback of audio on this site. You can adjust these settings through the menus: VIEW >>> ENHANCEMENTS >>> SPEED CONTROL SETTINGS.

    Media Player

    Another useful setting is to always have the Windows Media Player on top of your browser window so you can control the playback buttons better. Go to TOOLS >>> OPTIONS to select this feature.


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