Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I've spent the last few hours searching for an elegant way to play embedded media in Firefox. I hoped to gain the capability to play multimedia within the browser but without using MPlayer, which was unreliable for me in the past. Sadly I met with only limited success.


Initially I tried using an extension called MediaPlayerConnectivity. The interface was refreshingly clean, but I disliked the fact that it doesn't play embedded media in the browser window. Instead it opens another application. So I had to install xine for video playback. This combination worked well for most video formats but couldn't handle Quicktime movies and m3u playlists smoothly. I knew the MPlayer plug-in would give me Quicktime playback. I gave in and installed it. Incidentally the MPlayer package depends on XMMS, so I had to reinstall XMMS and try my hardest not to gouge out my eyes. At this point I was getting frustrated. I had intended to install one item and found myself forced to install several others I didn't want. I thought,

Fine, I'll just go back to using MPlayer for all embedded media. It worked well most of the time.

Easier said than done. I uninstalled MediaPlayerConnectivity using the Tools -> Extensions menu. I had been running Firefox from the Terminal to catch any error messages that might appear. When I restarted Firefox, the Terminal spewed out over a dozen lines of the following.

*** nsInstallLogReader::_parseLine - failed to deregister chrome

I'm guessing this means Firefox was unable to remove the extension's registry entry. Below that it printed another error twice. I've truncated it slightly.

*** getItemProperty failing for lack of an item. This means getResourceForItem failed to locate a resource for aItemID (item ID = http://ftp.mozilla.org/pub/…/mediaplayerconnectivity-0.3.9-fx+ns.xpi, property = internalName)

Nonetheless I resolved not to reinstall the extension. I began testing MPlayer to see what surprises it had in store for me.

MPlayer and VLC

It soon became clear that MPlayer was just as fickle as ever. I grew particularly annoyed with its tendency to stop playback in the middle of a streaming MP3. First it forced me to reinstall XMMS, and now this? Je refuse! I closed Firefox and removed MPlayer and XMMS. Then I decided to try VLC.

I installed the player and the Firefox plug-in and have been testing it with various different video formats. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to work much more reliably than MPlayer. More extensive tests will be necessary to determine my next course of action. Once I get the embedded media problem solved, I can move to other tasks.
  • Optimize NVIDIA performance.
  • Install necessary packages for DVD playback.
Of course, it's entirely possible I'll grow weary of fussing with the embedded media and save it for a time when I'm less irritable. Otherwise I'm liable to start removing the heads and spinal columns of innocent bystanders.

I'm serious as a heart attack.

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