Sunday, November 4

Embedded Video in Iceweasel

Quicktime. No frills here folks.

One of the most difficult problems I ran into while configuring 'goz' was getting embedded video to work correctly in Iceweasel. There are a variety of plugins for a variety of media players that are suppose to natively run video in a browser. For me, none worked. I tried installing mozplugger, then mozilla-mplayer, then xine-plugin, then removing them all, then installing totem-mozilla, etc. This cycle of useless plugins (the xine player actually showed video but promptly crashed Iceweasel as it began to play) was mind numbing at best.

However, after many hours of reading and searching, I figured out what was bugging Iceweasel. There are several conflicts that seem to arise with plugins from totem or xine that are natively installed with Debian. The trick is to boot them all out and leave room for the most stable of them all; mozilla-mplayer. To check for plugins already available in Iceweasel, I opened a new tab and entered the url:


This revealed a list of all plugins that are available to Iceweasel. There were many different plugins available in my plugins directory. I decided the easiest thing to try would be to remove all of the media plugins (For Real Player, MPG, WMV, etc.) and to just leave the essentials (such as Flash and Shockwave). To do this, I opened a shell and navigated to my plugins directory:

>cd /usr/lib/iceweasel/plugins

Then I used the 'ls' command to view all of the files. Taking note of the important files from the 'about:plugins' url in Iceweasel, I deleted all of the video plugins that I did not want. In my case, I had a bunch of totem plugins that I did not want so I removed them:

>sudo rm totem*

Now all I had left was (for flash) and (for my printer). Now I wanted to make a clean install of mplayer and mozilla-mplayer. I made sure I did not have any extraneous files hanging around:

>sudo apt-get remove mplayer mozilla-mplayer

Next I added the following repositories to my /etc/apt/sources.list:

# mplayer
deb sarge main
deb etch main
deb sid main
deb experimental main

Then I updated my repository lists:

>sudo apt-get update

I grabbed Windows codecs so I could play embedded wmv:

>sudo apt-get install w32codecs

I installed the mozplugger to tell Iceweasel what to do with embedded video:

>sudo apt-get install mozplugger

And then I reinstalled mplayer and mozilla-mplayer :

>sudo apt-get install mplayer mozilla-mplayer

After going through it's install sequence, I reopened Iceweasel and went to the trailer section of Apple's website to test out the embedded video ( The video played fine, but there was no sound. I right clicked on the video and went to "Configure". I changed my default video settings to "gl" and my sound settings to "alsa". I closed and reopened Iceweasel and I had streaming video and sound for the first time.

One of the problems with using Linux is that it does not support embedded video from proprietary codecs very well (WMV for example). I really enjoy watching free streaming video on websites such as Unfortunately, they only run embedded video with WMV10 (which is not supported by Linux to my knowledge). I am still haphazardly looking for a work-around, but I have yet to find any that play embedded in Iceweasel.

If you still have problems running embedded video, you may want to try this Firefox (Iceweasel as well) plugin. What it does is dump any embedded video to play in a media player of your choice (mplayer, vlc, totem, etc). It works very well at what it does and can be used as a supplement if you are having trouble and need embedded video. If you are still having problems, try searching google. There are many tutorials that have in depth explanations for installations for media players other than mplayer.

1 comment:

G*DuB said...

Thanks for this;
Video was the last hurdle I had to clear to make this laptop install of Debian Etch complete.
Gotta love apt-get.....