Search anything:

Working with video in HTML5

Binary Tree book by OpenGenus

Open-Source Internship opportunity by OpenGenus for programmers. Apply now.

Reading time: 40 minutes

The HTML Video tag <video> embeds a media player which supports video playback into the document. We can use <video> for audio content as well, but the <audio> tag may provide a more appropriate user experience.


<video controls width="250" controls>
    <source src="video.webm" type="video/webm">
    <source src="video.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos.


The above example shows simple usage of the <video> element. In a similar manner to the <img> element, we include a path to the media we want to display inside the src attribute. we can include other attributes to specify information such as video width and height, whether we want it to autoplay and loop, whether we want to show the browser's default video controls, etc.

The content inside the opening and closing <video></video> tags is shown as a fallback in browsers that don't support the element.

Important: In the above example, we have used two <source> tags, because all browsers don't support the same video format. Thus, we can provide multiple sources inside nested <source> elements, and the browser will then use the first one it understands.

Some attributes of <video> tag


This attribute requires a boolean attribute (true or false). If specified, the video automatically begins to play back as soon as it can do without stopping to finish loading the data.


We can use this attribute to determine the time ranges of the buffered media. This attribute contains a TimeRanges object.


If this attribute is present, the browser will offer controls to allow the user to control video playback, including volume, seeking, and pause/resume playback.


The height of the video's display area, in pixels.


The width of the video's display area, in pixels.


This attribute accepts a boolean attribute; if specified, the browser will automatically seek back to the start upon reaching the end of the video.


If the attribute is set to true, the audio will be initially silenced. Its default value is false, meaning that the audio will be played when the video is played.


This attribute is intended to provide a hint to the browser about what the author thinks leading to the best user experience with regards to what content is loaded before the video is played. The accepted values are none, metadata, auto, empty string.


This attribute accepts a boolean attribute which indicates that the video is to be played "inline", that is within the element's playback area.


This attribute accepts the URL for an image to be shown while the video is downloading. If this attribute isn't specified, nothing is displayed until the first frame is available, then the first frame is shown as the poster frame.


This attribute accepts the URL of the video to embed. This is optional. We may instead use the <source> element within the video block to specify the video to embed.

The <source> tag

The <source> tag specifies multiple media resources for <video> tag. It is an empty tag, meaning that it has no closing tag. It is commonly used to serve the same media content in multiple formats supported by different browsers.


<video controls width="250" height="200" muted>
    <source src="video.webm" type="video/webm">
    <source src="video.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    This browser does not support the HTML5 video element.


Some attributes of <source> tag:


Required for <audio> and <video>, address of the media resource.


The MIME-type of the resource, optionally with a codecs parameter.

The <track> tag

The <track> tag is used as a child of the media elements <audio> and <video>. It lets us specify timed text tracks (or time-based data), for example to automatically handle subtitles. The tracks are formatted in WebVTT format (.vtt files).


<video controls width="250">
    <source src="video.mp4" type="video/mp4">
    <track default kind="captions" srclang="en" src="video.vtt"/>
    Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos.


Important:It doesn't work locally, we need to run it on a server.

Some attributes of <track> tag:


This attribute indicates that the track should be enabled unless the user's preferences indicate that another track is more appropriate. This attribute can only be used once per media element.


This attribute indicates, how the text track is meant to be used. If omitted the default kind is subtitles. The keywords that can be used in this attribute are: subtitles, captions, descriptions, chapters and metadata.


This attribute specifies the address of the track (.vtt file). it must be a valid URL.


This attribute specifies the language of the track text data. If the kind attribute is set to subtitles, then srclang must be defined.


This must be a user-readable title of the text track which is used by the browser when listing available text tracks.

HTML5 Audio/Video Methods

The play() Method: to play the video

The play() method starts playing the current audio or video.


var vid = document.getElementById("myVideo"); 

function playVid() { 
Syntax audio|video.play()
Parameters None
Return Value None

The pause() Method: to pause a video

The pause() method halts (pauses) the currently playing audio or video.


var vid = document.getElementById("myVideo"); 

function pauseVid() { 
Syntax audio|video.pause()
Parameters None
Return Value None

The load() Method: to reload the video

The load() method re-loads the audio/video element. The load() method is used to update the audio/video element after changing the source or other settings.


document.getElementById("mp4_src").src = "movie.mp4";
document.getElementById("webm_src").src = "movie.webm";
Syntax audio|video.load()
Parameters None
Return Value None

The canPlayType() Method: checks support

The canPlayType() method checks if the browser can play the specified audio/video type.


var vid = document.createElement('video');
isSupp = vid.canPlayType(vidType+';codecs="'+codType+'"');
Syntax audio|video.canPlayType(type)
Parameters - type Specifies the audio/video type (and optional codecs) to test support for.

Common values:

  • video/ogg
  • video/mp4
  • video/webm
  • audio/mpeg
  • audio/ogg
  • audio/mp4

Common values, including codecs:

  • video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"
  • video/mp4; codecs="avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2"
  • video/webm; codecs="vp8.0, vorbis"
  • audio/ogg; codecs="vorbis"
  • audio/mp4; codecs="mp4a.40.5"

Note: This method can only return "probably" if codecs are included.

Return Value A String, representing the level of support. Possible return values:
  • "probably" - most likely support
  • "maybe" - might support
  • "" - (empty string) no support

The addTextTrack() Method

The addTextTrack() method creates and returns a new TextTrack object.The new TextTrack object is added to the list of text tracks for the audio/video element.


var text1 = myVid.addTextTrack("caption");
text1.addCue(new TextTrackCue("Test text", 01.000, 04.000, "", "", "", true));


Parameter Values:

Value Description
kind Specifies the kind of text track.

Possible values:

  • "subtitles"
  • "caption"
  • "descriptions"
  • "chapters"
  •  "metadata"
label A string specifying the label for the text track.Is used to identify the text track for the users.
language A two-letter language code that specifies the language of the text track.

Return Value:
A TextTrack Object, which represents the new text track


1. Which of the following is not an attribute of the <video> tag?

The kind attribute belong to the <track> tag.

2. Which of the following is not a parameter of canPlayType() method?

None of these
All the options
The kind parameter belongs to addTextTrack() Method.
Working with video in HTML5
Share this