HTML5 Audio Tag Test

April 24th, 2012 | by

We in pubradio web-publishing may be ready for a switch to HTML5 audio. The standard is now supported by the big four browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

All their latest versions come with a built-in audio player. All but Firefox* can play MP3s.

Transom uses a Flash player, with HTML5 audio fallback for iOS devices like iPad/iPhone. But it might be time to reverse that and default to HTML5 with a Flash fallback for Firefox and older browsers. That’s the route PRX took in their new embeddable player.

The screenshots below — from the great HTML5 test resource — show the current state of browser support for the <audio> tag.

Web-Browsers: HTML5 Audio Awareness

Windows Mac
Internet Explorer 9 and 10 beta:
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Windows Internet Explorer 9 and 10
Safari 5:
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Mac Safari 5
Firefox 10 (Win):
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Windows Firefox 10
Firefox 10 (Mac):
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Mac Firefox 10
Chrome 17 (Win):
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Windows Chrome 17
Chrome 17 (Mac):
HTML5Test.com screenshot: Audio- Mac Chrome 17

* To use an MP3 audio codec, browser manufacturers must pay a fee to the MP3 patent holder. Mozilla, the non-profit that makes Firefox, prefers a royalty-free web, so has not licensed MP3, but does support the free, open-standard Ogg format.

UPDATE: For a extensive audio-specific rundown of browser capabilities, check AreWePlayingYet? — A pragmatic HTML5 Audio test suite (hat tip to AndrewK of PRX).


3 Comments on “HTML5 Audio Tag Test”

  • Hey Barrett,

    Another good resource for html5 audio browser support is:

    http://areweplayingyet.org/

    A future FF is adding support for MP3 if the decoder is present on the system:

    https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/mozilla.dev.platform/-xTei5rYThU/0WSwLN7N_EwJ

    • barrett says:

      Thanks PRX-ers Drew and Chris, below, for the additional info. Added the Are We Playing Yet link to the article. I hope Mozilla does fork over the dough for the h264 and mp3 codecs, tho I understand the reticence of a non-profit & of an open-source project to do so.

  • Chris Kalafarski says:

    Hey Barrett,
    I just wanted to mention that over hear at PRX we actually replaced pretty much *all* of our audio players on the site with the HTML 5 version, not just the embeddable players. It’s been over a month and the transition has gone very smoothly; a very small number of people have had to upgrade Flash player to be compatible with the shim that jPlayer ships with. Not a huge problem, and avoidable if absolutely necessary (though any excuse to get people to upgrade flash is a win in my book). And other than that we’ve only heard positive feedback. So at the end of the day we have more maintainable code, a player that works on mobile devices, and performs better on the desktop. We haven’t seen a real need at this point to re-encode our catalog to Ogg for native Firefox support, but it’s still something we’re considering. Point being, we took a pretty gung-ho approach to this, and it’s turned out really well, so I don’t think people should be at all hesitant to start making this move. Even if they just dip their toes in that’s a great first step, especially if they aren’t as well positioned as Transom with an HTML fallback for mobile, which seems to be the case more often than not.

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