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Web Multimedia

The Web is a multimedia experience and you can expect to find multimedia content on just about any travel-related website that you encounter from photographs to videos to virtual reality and 360 panoramic views, many of them with sound.  Many websites now use Macromedia's Flash to present dazzling graphics, especially when on their homepage. (If you don't have a DSL connection, or Macromedia's Flash plug-in, and encounter a Flash presentation on the website's homepage, look for words like Skip Flash Intro and click on it to skip the Flash introduction.

All of these multimedia effects require separate, additional software which we will call media players. (
media players got 153 million hits the last time we did a search, whereas multimedia players only got 43 million hits. Americans like to shorten words as soon as we can!)  The good news is that almost all of this media player software can be downloaded for free from their respective vendors or from numerous other software download websites. (We have links to the most popular vendors further down on this page.)

Some of this software comes packaged with new PC's operating systems- for example, the Windows Media Player is included with Windows operating systems and QuickTime is included with Macintosh computers. There are many multimedia software products that work with not only Apple and Microsoft operating systems but with other ones as well such as Linux. Sometimes there are enhanced versions of the software that you can buy. This page lists some of the most popular multimedia players and list some websites where you can find out about other multimedia media players. 

A Few Things To Remember.

Of course, you will have a difficult time enjoying some of these multimedia experiences if you have an older computer and a 56K modem.  You don't really want to be downloading a 30mb-size multimedia software file on a 56K modem.  In this case, you might think about downloading it at work and putting it on a memory stick to bring home.  There is not much you can do about the actual download of multimedia content except to upgrade to a DSL connection.

Webcams will normally play using one of the popular multimedia players like the Windows Media Player.  However, you will find some websites that will require some other webcam viewer software.  Some of these will be Java-applets and Active-X controls and some will require installing PC software.

Another thing that can affect your multimedia experience is your browser settings.  Have fun troubleshooting those problems.  Again, some well chosen words in a search engine may yield the quickest results.

Troubleshooting Multimedia Player Problems

When you have a problem with the multimedia player you are using, there could be many different causes of the problem.  Of course, the first thing is to check any Help system that came with the product. They may have a troubleshooting section. If not, go to their website and look for an FAQ, Technical Support or Forum they may have. Sometimes the fastest thing to do is to use a search engine and enter the name of the player and some words to describe your symptoms.  If you are getting an error message, include at least some of the error message.
  We include some technical support and troubleshooting links for each of the popular media players we list below.

Some Common Web and Multimedia Problems and Solutions

When you have a problem with downloading an audio or video file or in viewing a web page, it can be frustrating trying to figure it out especially if you are a computer novice.  Although we don't have a lengthy list of problems. we have a list of some of the most common ones, especially if you do not have a high-speed connection along with common solutions.

Guide to this page
Topic Description
Media Player Software These are websites with comprehensive information on media players.
Some Popular Media Players We link you directly to the vendor websites for some of the most popular, free media players.
3-D Pictures Yes, there are 3-D stereoscopic pictures available on the web.
Common Multimedia Web Problems Some common problems and suggested solutions. 


Media Player Software
Here are some websites with comprehensive information on multimedia player software.
Company Description
Wikipedia - Media Players Wikipedia has the best list of media players we have found on the web. And their Comparison of Media Players article is awesome! Check it out. 
Web Developer's Journal This is their multimedia goodies page. You won't find the Windows Media Player, Quicktime or Macromedia products here, but you will find a lot of other players that are available.
DMOZ - VR Software This is the Open Directory - VR Software page. Although you won't find Quicktime or IPIX products here, you will find a lot of other VR viewers that are available.


Some Popular Media Players
All are free, although some also have an enhanced version you can buy.
Company Products Description





Free Allows you to open and read Adobe pdf documents. 

Troubleshooting:  Adobe Reader Support Center

Free Plays Flash multimedia content.

Troubleshooting: Flash Player Support Center
Description: Free Plays Shockwave multimedia content.

Troubleshooting:  Shockwave Support Center


Quicktime VR  Free

This is the Apple QuickTime Virtual Reality plug-in.  They have versions for both Windows 95 and Macintosh. It lets you view QuickTime-formatted movies, various types of audio and 360 VR panorama pictures.

Troubleshooting:  Quicktime




Download Section

webcam viewer

Free  Good quality video (no audio) controllable webcam viewer. Let's you control the camera to zoom and pan. Limited number of sites where the Canon system is installed. But more are being added and this should be a popular system to use. There is a Java viewer and PC viewer. The PC Viewer runs on Windows only. The Java viewer runs in any environment that supports Java regardless of the platform being used.

Troubleshooting:  Error message/FAQ

IPIX Download Section Description: Free Plug-in for 360 pictures similar to Quicktime. They have versions for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. 

Troubleshooting:   Support




getmediaplayer.gif (927 bytes)

Free Plays most multimedia content formats including Windows Media (formerly NetShow), RealAudio and RealVideo, QuickTime, AVI, WAV, and much more, from one, easy-to-use application.

Systems: Different versions available for different Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Troubleshooting:   Support



Description: They offer several multi-media web products.  They are available for PC, Macintosh and other platforms. We list their audio/video player.

Free  Click on the Get RealPlayer Free button to go to the page where you can down the appropriate player for your computer. 
Troubleshooting: Real Player Customer Support




  Description: They offer several multi-media web products.  They are available for PC, Macintosh and other platforms. We list their audio/video player.

Free  Click on the Get Basic  button to go to the page where you download the free version. 

Troubleshooting:  Support
3-D Pictures
Here are some websites that have information on stereoscopic 3-D images which you can view using a variety of techniques to get the true depth perception.
  • 3D Photography.  A good site explaining 3D, the techniques and links to 3D pictures and 3D other resources on the web.
  • Stereoscopic 3D Webring.  Over 100 websites listed covering 3D, stereoscopy, holography, and stereoscopic virtual reality. All Kid Safe.
  • Stereo 3D Web Ring Unlimited.  List and links to some websites about stereoscopy, holography, and stereoscopic virtual reality. Ring may contain material intended for mature audiences.

Some Common Web and Multimedia Problems and Solutions
Here are some common problems you may encounter along with our suggested solutions. Sometimes the fastest way to find out how to solve a problem is to simply do a web search and ask the right question.

Apple Quicktime

Adobe Reader PDF files   Google Search Windows Media Player
Viewing website with Java and Active-X controls IE picture display problems Flash problems
You open up a web page but a large part of it is white space or blank and you suspect that you are missing something that should be displayed.  ● The page may contain elements that you can't display because you have blocked the software needed to display those elements.    What to do:  Check your browser internet control tabs that let you control what is displayed.  Use the Help menu or goog 
You are downloading an audio or video file, but it stops downloading the file. It may prematurely say it has completed the download before the full file has been downloaded.  ● You may have lost your Internet connect. What to do:  Check to see if you are still online.
● You may be downloading too many files at once or have too many websites open in your browser.  This is more likely to happen with a 56K modem connection than a high speed connection. Some websites can detect if your computer is not keeping a constant handshake with them as you download a file because your computer is trying to service other websites and downloads simultaneously. In short, you have overloaded your connection.

What to do:
Close some of the open browser windows and multiple downloads.  If you want to try a download again from a website that aborted the download, you should go into your browser Internet Options panel and delete your temporary internet files.  This will, among other things, clear out any partial files that were downloaded. Sometimes, a website will detect a partial file and if you do not have an auto resume download capability, it will not let you download it again until it can't detect the previous file.
You click on a link and your browser opens a new window for the website but nothing seems to be happening and no page appears. ● You may have clicked on a pdf link.  That is a link to a pdf document instead of to a regular web page.  Your browser is attempting to download the pdf document and display it in your browser window.  This problem is more likely to happened with a 56K modem connection than a high speed connection, It is also affected by your computer speed and how well the Adobe Reader is compatible with your browser.

What to do:  Cancel the browser window.  If you can't cancel the window, open your Task Manager and look at the Applications Tab. You may see that this site is Not Running. You can select the task in the list and click End Task.  It may take several tries. 

To prevent this in the future, when you are googling the web and want to click on a website from your search results, check to see if the URL shown ends in .pdf.  If it does, this is a link to a pdf document.  Right Mouse click and select Save Target As to download the pdf document instead of trying to have your browser download and open the document in a browser window.
You click on a link and your browser progress bar shows that it is searching for the website or starting to download the page at a snail's pace. ● The website you are trying to reach may be down or have some other problem that is preventing a quick load of the page. If you have an accelerator for a 56K modem that your internet provider offers, your request to access a website is being sent to the accelerator website first and it is communicating with the website you are trying to reach. If your accelerator website gets overloaded, it won't process your request right away and it may be delayed.

What to do:  If you suspect your accelerator is the problem, exit the accelerator so it is no longer running.  You will then revert to going directly to websites.
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