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Old 11-03-2020, 12:11 AM   #1
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If web browsers are multimedia programs, why don't they have multimedia controls?

It seems like the web browser interface is still stuck in the 1990s when it was essentially a plain text html interpreter, with some javascript tacked on. Then they added plugin fuctionality to allow external programs to play video or audio, flash or whatever. Today these things are seamless. At least, seemingly.

With a media player, like VLC, I can choose what audio device or video output to use. But for some reason, you cannot readily do these things with your average browser. Extensios are nice, and I don't think those should be axed, but media is a pretty core component of how people have been using web browsers since even before youtube existed. But web browsers have yet to evolve.

I imagined things would be slightly different before myspace and youtube. Winamp had video streaming functionality and a selection of "channels" that I watched and I had assumed that internet media would evolve that way. But I was wrong, youtube came but browsers stayed the same.
Old 11-03-2020, 06:21 AM   #2
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You should be able to enter the URL of anything into your browser, which it will then go off & load - have you tried using the File menu to play media on your disk, through your web browser, etc.
Old 11-03-2020, 09:11 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by hedron View Post
With a media player, like VLC, I can choose what audio device or video output to use.
I'd turn this around, and ask why VLC still needs to have this when web browsers don't. And VLC does not need it; you can do all of that using the desktop control panels and apps such as pavucontrol.
Old 11-03-2020, 01:52 PM   #4
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Browsers have evolved tremendously. HTML 5 changed things on the media front significantly. Yes, everything is HTML and Javascript but that's how the WWW works. Plugins/extensions I never use because they can read all traffic into and out of your browser. If you trust them, fine, but I don't.

I also don't do any multimedia from my computers, or very little anyway so my use cases are probably different. They are used for work and play or graphics editing, etc. All my media is played through my phone, or through one of several large televisions, or my stereo.
Old 11-04-2020, 04:48 AM   #5
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Since Mozilla dropped support for ALSA in the browser, I've had to use apulse to launch it. One can set the ALSA audio device to use by setting the APULSE_PLAYBACK_DEVICE env var.

I agree with your general point though: now that browsers routinely play video/audio streams they really should have an easily accessible user preference setting for the audio playback device. Audio applications that don't provide such a config option and assume that sending audio to 'default' is fine are one of my pet peeves.

And, just to head-off any suggestions to use pulseaudio, its per-user architecture doesn't meet my needs, so please don't bother suggesting it.

Last edited by GazL; 11-04-2020 at 04:49 AM. Reason: missing '.'


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