This Media Could Not Be Played
December 15, 2017 12:57 PM   Subscribe

This dialogue has begun showing up on videos in the last week. I have tried stopping Privacy Badger and/or U-block Origin. I have updated Flash Player. What do you suppose is happening? I'm used to the one saying you have to watch this on youtube, but haven't ever seen this uninformative "this media" before.
posted by MovableBookLady to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
On what sites are you experiencing this the most?
posted by Hermione Granger at 1:10 PM on December 15, 2017

The first troubleshooting step is to try playing the video in a private browsing session (firefox and chrome and safari all have them), which runs in safe mode and disables all your extensions.

if the video plays fine there, go back to your "normal" browser, shut off everything like Privacy Badger and UBlock, and see if it works. If it does, turn on one of your privacy tools and try to play the video. If that works, turn on another of your privacy tools, and see if it still works. Do this until it doesn't work, and you've found your culprit.

Based on my experience, which is admittedly only one data point but still, I'd be willing to bet that it's something in ublock origin that is tripping you up. It's a super powerful tool but your browsing with it benefits from close attention and fine-tuning of its settings.
posted by pdb at 1:37 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I run into this from time to time using Opera on linux. It's an HTML5 codec issue. I think they are constantly playing catch up when the codecs are updated. Whatever browser you're using, see if there's a Flash to HTML5 switcher extension, that helped for me in the past (although currently twitter vids are broken but youtube works fine ... go figure).
posted by mannequito at 1:50 PM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Could you give us a page to test? It does indeed sound like a codec issue but it might be something as simple as allowing scripts for the video server. Usually you can still right-click and save the video file to your computer even when you can't watch it inside the web browser.

Firefox doesn't disable extensions in PB mode, to rule out configuration and extension issues type about:profiles in the URL bar, click Create a new profile, name it testing or whatever you prefer, then still in about:profiles locate your newly created profile and choose Launch profile in new browser.

See what happens there: if it works the issue is with something on your current profile, if it doesn't it's a codec issue.

When done just click Remove in about:profiles to erase your testing profile (be careful not to erase your main one).
posted by Bangaioh at 2:10 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the responses. It happens irregularly. I was on Digg and this page wouldn't play, but the one next to it played fine, so there's no pattern.

I did disable Privacy Badger and U-block Origin, neither of which had any effect.

I don't use a mouse so "right-click" doesn't mean anything to me, sorry. Laptop (Mac Book Pro) running High Sierra. It's just odd that this started about a week ago and was fine before.
posted by MovableBookLady at 2:26 PM on December 15, 2017

Just for future reference, Control-click on a mac is the same as right-click; depending on your settings, a two-finger click on the trackpad may do the same thing (it’s called ’secondary click’ in the trackpad settings in System Preferences).
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:39 PM on December 15, 2017

I tested on Firefox and the video works when watching it on Twitter but not on the Digg embed for some reason beyond my limited understanding.

Someone more knowledgeable than me about the web's inner workings should be able to help because honestly I have no idea either, sorry.
posted by Bangaioh at 3:25 PM on December 15, 2017

That's right, Bangajob, I did the same. Went to Twitter and it played fine. It's just so odd to all of a sudden be doing this. I wonder if its a Twitter connection thing. Huh.
posted by MovableBookLady at 7:53 PM on December 15, 2017

The same happens for me, looking in the firefox web console reveals a long list of load failures/errors on both the digg and twitter pages.
This seems to involve a combination of Content Security Policy Directives and X-Frame-Options (which are used to prevent clickjacking) it looks like Firefox have not yet implemented CSP v3.

My guess is they have been busy building Firefox Quantum, and this will get fixed in a few months from now.
posted by Lanark at 3:06 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

I got sick of tracking this shit down every time something that got updated broke something else, which happens with depressing regularity. Now I just have two browsers (Chromium and Firefox) and when something doesn't play in one of them I try it in the other. So far this has worked every time except once. On that one occasion I decided I simply didn't care enough to try to pursue it, and I can't say my life has been any worse as a result.

The update treadmill is just a prick of a thing and always will be.
posted by flabdablet at 3:18 AM on December 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thanks all. I think I'm going to go to the Firefox forums and check it out and complain and, like Lanark says, wait to see what happens.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:25 AM on December 16, 2017

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