[whatwg] <video> element error handling

Nathanael Ritz nathanritz at gmail.com
Wed Mar 18 09:46:14 PDT 2009

That makes some sense. So the UA would handle missing codec problems like
many handle missing plug-ins. Is that part of the spec already? From what I
have gathered, it seemed that everyone was/is content with the UA just
displaying nothing when the video couldn't be rendered even if it did
support the <video> element.

For me, I was personally planning on putting the <embed> element instead of
text. So it would be (like my very first example), <video src=""><embed

The plan here was to make the video available to the new iPhone 3.0 OS which
supports the <video> element, and then the flash version of the same video
would be available to those who had Flash installed but was using an older

But the concern was "what happens when a UA _does_ support the <video>
element and cannot render the resource?"

And the proposed answer in the spec was: "User agents that cannot render the
video may instead make the element represent a link to an external video
playback utility or to the video data itself."

My proposal is that it is changed to "User agents that cannot render the
video should instead make the element represent a link to an external video
playback utility, offer instructions or steps to install the appropriate
codec, or offer a link video data itself."

I might even want to use "must"


On Wed, Mar 18, 2009 at 9:15 AM, Simon Pieters <simonp at opera.com> wrote:

> On Wed, 18 Mar 2009 17:08:27 +0100, Nathanael Ritz <nathanritz at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>  For the same sort of reason we would want "to show text to the [users of
>> older browsers] informing them of how to access the video contents." I
>> don't
>> think the problem of being unable to access the video contents is going to
>> be purely for those with older browsers.
>> Instructions on how to find the appropriate codec is an example of the
>> kind
>> of information a user with a newer browser might like to know when a video
>> can't be rendered. And that would be much nicer than showing nothing at
>> all.
> I agree but the browser is probably in a better situation than the author
> in helping the user to install the codec needed, and the browser can do this
> without the element falling back to its contents.
> I suspect many authors would write something along the lines of "your
> browser doesn't support the video tag" as fallback, which is not helpful for
> a user with a browser that supports the video tag but doesn't have the right
> codec installed.
> If you want to, though, you can use scripting to detect that the video
> couldn't be played and replace the element with its contents.
> --
> Simon Pieters
> Opera Software
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