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Streaming media
March 27, 2005 7:41 AM   Subscribe

How does IE decide whether to stream a media file or download it fully before opening it? How can I get players other than Windows Media Player to properly stream mp3s with a browser click?
posted by Pretty_Generic to Computers & Internet (12 answers total)
 
The application configured for MIME type being downloaded makes that decision. Different applications decide based on how they handle that MIME type. To really guarantee streaming, you have to use a MIME type that will (almost) always open in an application that knows how to stream it. Probably 75% of users have such for MP3.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 8:04 AM on March 27, 2005


Is there a way to get Winamp to do it, for instance?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:08 AM on March 27, 2005


Pretty_Generic do the following:

Open up a file explorer (e.g. My Computer)
Click on Tools
Click on Folder Options
Click on teh File Types tab
Scroll down to MP3 in the Registerd file types window
Click on Change
Pick Winamp from the list of programs shown (if it's not there, then click on Browse and point to the winamp.exe)
Click OK/Apply to get yourself out of there.

Also, Winamp is smart enough that it has settings in it for making it your default mp3 player.
posted by furtive at 8:29 AM on March 27, 2005


Often, the embedded stream is set up with parameters that specify a .wmv (or whatever) file. Look at the page source, find that file, if it's relative to the page, prepend the page's root location to the .wmv's path, and paste that into your browser's location bar, and download it.

There's also a firefox plugin that does this.
posted by orthogonality at 8:38 AM on March 27, 2005


furtive: yeah, I know about filetype associations :). But that doesn't make Winamp stream the file - it just opens it after it's been fully downloaded by IE.

However, if I copy and paste the URL for the mp3 file and open it using Winamp's Open URL dialog, it does stream properly. What I want to do is make it do that from a single browser click.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:47 AM on March 27, 2005


Have you tried Quicktime? The Quicktime plugin streams files for me automatically when I click on an MP3 link.
posted by dodgygeezer at 9:01 AM on March 27, 2005


Are you sure dodgygeezer? For me it downloads the whole file before playing. Without even a progress bar!

BTW, the reason I don't want to use Windows Media Player is that it randomly begins songs up to half a second in, often leaving off the first few notes. I can't stand it.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:17 AM on March 27, 2005


Ooops. Sorry that's in Firefox. Tried in IE and it didn't work even after messing with the MIME types, I just got the same result as you. It looks like this is because IE stopped supporting Netscape/Mozilla plugins in version 5.5 and they only allow ActiveX. The ActiveX plugin won't stream MP3s so you're back to square one.

I just tried WMP and that works OK. Did you try changing the buffering and connection speed settings?
posted by dodgygeezer at 3:29 AM on March 28, 2005


I don't think that's it, since the problem happens even when playing files on my own hard drive. :)
posted by Pretty_Generic at 6:19 AM on March 28, 2005


I tried Firefox/QuickTime and... well, you can't access MP3 tag data... and having it taking up the whole browser window sucks a bit...
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:32 AM on March 28, 2005


and having it taking up the whole browser window sucks a bit...

Use the tabs, Luke.

There's another way I can think of doing what you want but I don't have time to look at them in any depth now. You could create a context menu item that'd run Winamp from a VBScript.

Yuck. I can't believe there isn't a better solution. Maybe it'd be a more profitable use of your time to sort out your weirdy WMP problem.
posted by dodgygeezer at 11:51 AM on March 28, 2005


I reckon the best solution is having Winamp in always-on-top mini-mode and dragging links to it.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:46 PM on March 28, 2005


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