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Thread: Media player: absolute positioning or separate browser window?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007

    Media player: absolute positioning or separate browser window?

    http://www.thesixtyone.com/ has a great mp3 player in the header which keeps the state of the track whilst you navigate. It appears they managed this by making all links ajax, so that the page doesn't get refreshed.

    But let's say a fully-ajax site isn't an option, and I was hoping to create a user-experience through which a visitor could click on a media object and leave it running whilst continuing their navigation; would it be possible to load all the media files (for simplicities sake, let's say they're all YouTube videos) in a separate browser window, in a similar way to the BBC iPlayer (as seen on the 'listen again' section here http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/mashup/)? For example, if the user clicked on a YouTube video and they didn't already have one running, it would load a new & similarly-styled browser window, and the video would auto-play. But if they clicked on another video while the separate player window was already open, it would load the new video request in the same window (or close the existing window and open a new one, giving the same visual effect).

    Is this possible - and, if so, is it a great deal more work than simply using target _blank on video links and making sure the new window is styled as required? I'm not quite sure where to start.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    NW Washington State
    You might consider a Flash player for the mp3s and then use a local shared object to track your sessions.
    Best wishes,

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Thanks EfV. I usually do ruby on rails so I'm comfortable with sessions, but I wasn't aware of the local shared object equivalent for Flash (never developed any flash before), and the website in question is PHP.

    I'm trying to understand how to handle the Flash local shared object. Do I need to start writing to the shared object whenever an action is performed that could alter the state of a currently playing video? E.g.

    • user clicks video, it starts playing
    • user clicks on a new link, the app writes to the local object with the current timestamp in the video
    • the video carries on playing after the redirect (?)

    That sounds a little clunky as there will be gaps in the playing experience. Am I right in assuming that if the video is loaded in a separate window using <a> tag target attribute of 'blank', it can carry on playing without redirects from the parent page interfering with the playback?

    But based on your past experiences with using a local shared object, which would you option would you attempt;

    1. Inline player, perhaps similar to hypem http://hypem.com/ or http://www.thesixtyone.com/
    2. Separate browser window, like the bbc iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/mashup/#aps_listenagain

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Did you find an answer to your question? I am trying find a resource explaining how Thesixtyone.com does their media player. Any leads?


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