[Speex-dev] How to use Speex Cross-Browser, Cross-Platform on Web Pages

Alex S. Brown alexsbrown at alexsbrown.com
Mon Feb 20 11:50:10 PST 2006

My apologies if this request is a little outside the scope of the normal track
of this discussion group. My question is more about the use of speex as a web
developer than about the internals of the codec. I searched all over the web
for this information, though, and am trying here as a last resort.

I am trying to develop a way to offer slide shows with a voice-over. I would
like to offer speex as a low-bandwidth option in addition to MP3 and possibly
WAV formats. I am struggling to figure out how to support the "audio/x-speex"
mime type across browsers effectively.

Ironically, the one where I have had best success is with Windows Media Player.
Once the DirectShow filters are installed on a PC, I use the <object> tag to
invoke Windows Media Player, and it happily plays the speex file. (Ironic that
this is the least-standard-compliant, least-open-source combination of web
browser and OS, and the only one where I can get speex working!)

I would like to be able to bring up a player with the correct, HTML 4.01
approach, that should support any browser that recognizes the MIME type and the
correct use of the object tag. The tag looks like this:

<object type="audio/x-speex" data="myaudio.spx">
If your browser does not support a player object, <a href="myaudio.spx">download
the speech</a> and play it separately.

(The main object tag gives the mime type and file location. The text between it
and the close is an alternate rendering, for browsers that cannot display the
object tag.)

My problem is that I am not sure which speex players will properly register the
MIME type with the web browser and operating system, so that a ".spx" file will
play and so that the "audio/x-speex" MIME type creates a player object.

I have tried using Firefox under MS Windows, and Firefox does not even recognize
the MIME type at all, even after installing DirectShow filters. It does not
even know what to offer to download.

I am happy to give separate tech support instructions for different browsers and
operating systems, because my hope is that people will keep coming back to my
site for educational information. I may offer WAV or MP3 formats for more
casual users, or perhaps just short "teasers" to get them to download the
decoders for the more efficient speex format.

My hope is by getting an answer to this question, I can help promote the use of
speex on the web. I certainly plan to send any solutions to the Firefox team,
so that they recognize and offer to download players for the speex MIME type in
the future.

Alex S. Brown, PMP
alexsbrown at alexsbrown.com

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