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Is there a way to let embedded videos (primarily flash, but I'd prefer something that will also work with HTML5 video) automatically background load; but not start playing until explicitly started?

The typical use case where I want this ability is when opening a number of what I expected to be text pages in separate tabs using middle clicks only to have something start yapping at me; at which point I need to click through all the new tabs to find and stop the offender.

I'd prefer not to completely block video download to avoid the startup delay if I decide to watch the video when I view the page its embedded in.

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2 Answers 2

You can use the Flashblock add-on to disable flash until you click it.

From the plugin page:

Flashblock is an extension for the Mozilla, Firefox, and Netscape browsers that takes a pessimistic approach to dealing with Macromedia Flash content on a webpage and blocks ALL Flash content from loading. It then leaves placeholders on the webpage that allow you to click to download and then view the Flash content.

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I'm aware of flashblock, but unless I'm misunderstanding what it does; it's a much more heavy handed approach than I'm looking for. Bandwidth is cheap and so are CPU cycles; initializing the player and loading data in the background are not problems and I'd rather not have to wait for them to happen when I decide to start a video playing. –  Dan Neely Dec 21 '11 at 15:25
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For embeded videos you can set media.autoplay.enabled to false in about:config.

For flash-players you can either disable automatic flash loading/start with some addon or use custom addons/greasemonkey scripts to disable each specific player's autoplay. For example: http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/13333

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Is there anywhere that collects that sort of script so I could subscribe to a feed of some sort and have them automatically installed? Having to manually set up dozens of blockers for eg each local tv news site that gets nationally linked would be a major PITA, and since in most cases I'd never visit the site again a wasted effort. –  Dan Neely Dec 21 '11 at 15:13
    
@DanNeely It really depends on the flash player they're using. AFAIK there aren't that many options out there, the most common for TV new sites being JWPlayer. There's also a script (userscripts.org/scripts/show/95182) that replaces embeded videos with JWPlayer and I think you can configure autostart. –  Vlad Dec 22 '11 at 9:08
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