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Whatís a Plug-in?

With the ever changing panorama of web sites using audio and video, confusion is the norm when it comes to what software is needed to reproduce the material on your computer.

Both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator contain code for displaying video and reproducing sounds however some of the newer formats recently introduced may generate errors or not play at all if your browser program has not been updated with the most current version of the code. Several methods can be used to update your software (without cost), these include downloading a new version of the software, downloading a program that can understand the new formats and downloading - installing a plug-in.

Obviously you need to have a computer that contains a sound board and a graphics controller capable of reproducing the material. If you donít, do not waste your time.

Downloading a new version of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator.

This method will insure that you have the most recent version of the software however both of these products are considered "blotware" in that they are very large. Using a 56K modem still requires an hour or more to download the software and even then, you may not have the necessary code to play the video and audio because it was developed by another software company. You can get a copy of Internet Explorer at http://www.microsoft.com and Netscape Navigator from http://www.netscape.com

Downloading a program that can understand the new formats.

Several third party (independent) software manufacturers have created programs that you can use outside of your browser to view video or hear audio. Most of these are considered shareware and some cost is associated with their use. You can find them by going to http://www.tucows.com and performing a search on audio or video.

Plug-ins

A plug-in is an add-on feature that gives software (typically a browser or graphics program) new capabilities without having to install a new version of the software. Typical browser plug-ins gives you the capability to see animations and hear sounds on a web site. Plug-ins are usually available for free download from web sites operated by the companies making the software that is being enhanced. Typically downloaded as an "installer," the different components of the plug-in will install themselves where they need to go; so that the next time you launch the plug-in's host program it will be enhanced with the new feature.

I suggest downloading and installing the following plug-ins: (Install them all).

RealPlayer from RealNetworks at http://www.realnetworks.com (this appears to be the most popular format for audio and video).

Windows Media Player from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com (Many sites created using Front Page use the Microsoft format).

Shockwave from Macromedia at http://www.macromedia.com (Provides sound and animation)

Have fun

Stan Gelber

 

 

 


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