Viewing HTML5 audio and video in Firefox

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  • Creator: scoobidiver
  • Comment: Vista note for Fx 21 (see
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You can play some types of sound and video files on web pages without a plugin. This article explains which formats can play and how to control, save, and open them.

Supported formats

Because the use of many audio and video file types is restricted by patents, a third-party application mainly a plugin (such as Flash) is required to use them. However, Firefox is able to play natively open media and some kinds of patented media.

Open media

Vorbis audio, Theora video (developed by the Xiph.Org Foundation), Opus Audio (developed by Mozilla and Microsoft and standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force as RFC 6716), and VP8 video (sponsored by Google) are free audio/video compression formats for use without patent restrictions, and can be viewed in Firefox without a plugin.

Ogg (.oga, ogv,.ogx file types) and WebM (.webm file type) are container formats for open media.

Patented media

Note: This section doesn't apply to Windows Vista and your current Firefox. It requires the latest Firefox version which can be downloaded from

MP3, AAC, and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC are patented audio/video compression formats and can be viewed in Firefox with the use of libraries built in the operating system. Thus, neither Mozilla nor you need to pay fee.

Tip: In order to test your system, some sample video files are available in the “Video For Everybody” Test Page at

Audio and video controls

Control bar

When you visit a website that includes a supported media file, you will see controls for managing playback when you hold the mouse pointer over the media on the page.

Video Controls

  • Play button: Video Play Starts playback.
  • Pause button: Video Pause Stops playback once it has started.
  • Position slider: Video Progress Slider Indicates how much time has elapsed since the beginning of the file. Drag the slider left or right to go back or forward.
  • Volume control: Click to mute or unmute. Hover and drag the slider up or down to adjust the volume.
    Video Sound Slider
  • Fullscreen button: Video Fullscreen Toggles fullscreen when in default size.
  • Default size button: Video Default Size Restores the default size when in fullscreen.

Context menu controls

The context menu (accessible via right-clickCtrl-click) contains the above controls except the position slider and also allows you to:

  • Accelerate or reduce the playback rate: Select Play Speed and then one of the available speeds.
  • Show or hide statistics (only video): Select Show Statistics to display video statistics such as the file name, resolution, volume, sample rate and frame number. To hide them, select Hide Statistics.
  • Hide controls: Select Hide Controls so that the bottom control bar never show up. To show them, select Show Controls.

Keyboard controls

After you click on an audio or video file on a web page, you may control the playback with your keyboard.

Command Shortcut
Toggle Play / Pause Space bar
Decrease volume
Increase volume
Mute audio Ctrl + command +
Unmute audio Ctrl + command +
Seek back 15 seconds
Seek back 10 % Ctrl + command +
Seek forward 15 seconds
Seek forward 10 % Ctrl + command +
Seek to the beginning Home
Seek to the end End

Saving media files

To save an audio file from a web page to your computer:

  1. Right-clickHold down the Ctrl key while you click on the audio controls and select Save Audio As….
  2. Select a location on your computer to save the file.

To save a video file from a web page to your computer:

  1. Right-clickHold down the Ctrl key while you click on the video controls and select Save Video As….
    • Select Save Snapshot As… if you only want to save the video snapshot.
  2. Select a location on your computer to save the file.

Opening saved files

The media files you save from web pages may not play in your normal media player. To open these types of files:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click Ctrl + Ocommand + O.
  3. Navigate to the folder that contains the file you want to play and click Open.


If you are having problems with audio or video files, see: