Skip to main content
Logo

Media format reference

This article lists all file, streaming and playlist formats the audio and video player officially supports.

The Contensis video player and audio player officially support 9 distinct media formats:

  • 3 audio file types: AAC, MP3 and Vorbis.
  • 3 video file types: MP4, WebM and FLV.
  • The RTMP streaming protocol
  • YouTube videos, using the official Chromeless Player API.
  • RSS feeds.

Only the above are cross-browser tested and officially supported. The video and audio players do not decode audio or video themselves, but rely on two underlying browser technologies: the HTML5 <video> element and the Adobe Flash plugin.

Video files

The video player supports the following video file types:

  • MP4 videos using the H.264 video codec and the AAC audio codec. MP4 is of high quality and can be played in all browsers and devices. It is today's video format of choice.
  • FLV videos using the H.263 video codec and the MP3 audio codec. FLV is of lower quality than MP4 and only supported in browsers that run Flash. Many existing video libraries are encoded in FLV.
  • WebM videos using the VP8 video codec and the Vorbis audio codec. WebM is royalty free and of comparable quality to MP4. It has limited browser and device support, and should be used as an 'Alternate Video' source for full HTML5 video support.
Here is an overview of the recognised file extensions and mime-type for these formats, plus their browser playback support:
 MP4FLVWebM 
Extension(s)   mp4, m4v, f4v flv  webm 
Mime-type  video/mp4 video/flv  video/webm 
Internet Explorer  html5, flash 1 flash
Chrome  html5, flash flash html5
Firefox  html5, flash 3 flash html5
Safari  html5, flash flash -
iOS  html5 - -
Android  html5 - html5 2
  1. HTML5 playback as of Internet Explorer 9.
  2. WebM support as of Android 4.
  3. MP4 playback in HTML5 only supported on Windows.

Audio files

The audio player supports the following audio file types:

  • AAC audio files. AAC is of high quality and supported by all browsers and devices.
  • MP3 audio files. Though not as good in quality as AAC, MP3 is very widely used. Many existing audio libraries are encoded in MP3.
  • Vorbis audio files. Vorbis is royalty-free, but has limited browser and device support.
Here is an overview of the recognised file extensions and mime-types for these formats, plus their browser playback support:
 AACMP3vorbis 
Extension(s)   qqc, m4a, f4a mp3  oga 
Mime-type  audio/mp4 audio/mpeg  audio/ogg 
Internet Explorer  html5, flash 1 html5, flash 1
Chrome  html5, flash html5, flash html5
Firefox  html5, flash 3 html5, flash html5
Safari  html5, flash html5, flash -
iOS  html5 html5 -
Android  html5 html5 html5
  1. HTML5 playback as of Internet Explorer 9.
  2. Vorbis support as of Android 4.
  3. AAC playback in HTML5 only supported on Windows.

YouTube videos

In addition to self-hosted video files, the video player includes native support for playing YouTube videos. This is possible through built-in support for the Chromeless Player API. YouTube videos are embedded by linking to their page, using one of the following schemes:

Support limitations

The YouTube API requires the Flash plugin at present. Therefore, it is supported only on desktop browsers. On iOS and Android, limited playback support is available as part of the Download Fallback. YouTube's experimental iFrame API will introduce full HTML5 support in the future.

Some additional notes on YouTube support:

  • If no poster image is provided, the video player will automatically load a poster image from YouTube.
  • YouTube videos are mostly available in multiple qualities, which means a quality selector is automatically displayed in the player control bar.
  • YouTube may place ads over the video during playback. These ads can not be disabled. Neither can the YouTube logo in the bottom right corner.
  • In addition to single videos, the video player supports YouTube playlists. They have to be in RSS format, like this one.

Streaming protocols

The Contensis video player supports Adobe's RTMP protocol using either a single media file or a SMIL manifest from a remote server.

RTMP requires dedicated server software and is often blocked by firewalls.

Here is an overview of the recognised file extensions and mime-types for these formats, plus their browser playback support:
 rtmp (direct)rtmp (manifest)
Extension(s)   - 1 smil 
Mime-type  application/x-fcs application/smil 
Internet Explorer  flash flash
Chrome  flash flash
Firefox  flash flash
Safari  flash flash
iOS  - -
Android  - -
  1. A direct RTMP stream is recognised by the URL starting with rtmp://

    Note: The Contensis Video player does not support RTMP on Android. Although RTMP is officially supported as of Android 3.0, a number of critical bugs prevents a satisfying playback experience.

RSS feeds

An RSS feed is a basic XML file, used to load a playlist with one or more media items into the player. For each entry, the player can read metadata, poster image, media sources and text tracks from the feed. Loading of RSS feeds differs slightly from other formats, since they use the playlist option instead of file.

For single video embeds, external RSS feeds are useful for larger scale media deployments, due to the separation of presentation (config options) and content (RSS feed).

External RSS is also useful when working with third-party content providers, directly loading the RSS feeds off their servers (e.g. for podcasts/vodcasts).