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I have some problems with Opera and Chromium browsers playing some streams and I want to debug that. But I cannot tell what works and what does not because I cannot tell what format a given stream is using. IS there a way to identify that in some if not all cases?


I am not referring necessarily to youtube, I think they use html5 video only. I remember that when it used flash, flashplayer options where available on right click. And youtube still gives a lot of info on the stream on right-click ("Stats for nerds"). But on many streams there isn't any such info. Is that absence the sign that the stream is not flash?

I am interested to know about the video stream format no matter if the right-click menu gives any info or not.

Also, I would like to know if there are alternatives to flash and html5 streaming and how to recognize those. Also, I see that some addons can capture/download online videos and then their "format" is accessible: mp4, webm, 3gp, mov, etc (or should I say "extension"?). Does that say something about the "format" of the streaming itself? (I mean on youtube there seem to be a diversity of extensions for one stream (mp4, webm, 3gp), I think depending on its size/resolution: are they all html5?)


I want to know when "flash" is involved and when not, when there is "html5", when other formats/plugins are involved (if ever) and what's the relation between these terms and the extension(s) of the files that can be physically captured.

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  • @dsstorefile - I remember that was the case on youtube when it used flash, and youtube still gives a lot of info on the stream on right-click ("Stats for nerds"). But on many streams there isn't any such info. Is that absence the sign that the stream is not flash? – user162573 Apr 16 '18 at 8:03
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Usually I right click on the video stream. If flash is used a context menu will appear.

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    It seems to me you are referring to youtube? I remember that was the case on youtube when it used flash, and youtube still gives a lot of info on the stream on right-click ("Stats for nerds"). But on many streams there isn't any such info. Is that absence the sign that the stream is not flash? I am interested to know about the video stream format no matter if the right-click menu gives any info or not. I will add this to my question. – user162573 Apr 16 '18 at 8:04
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a flash video player usually uses an html tag that looks like so:

<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" 

and an HTML5 video uses the <video> tag

so either right click next to the video and "inspect" this place in the site and look for the object that stores the video and see how it is built or "view source" the page and do a search for flash,swf to indicate flash and video tag to indicate html5

there is another (not quite as popular) option for streaming video which is a java applet, finding the applet through the source code is usually a little more tricky but it will use none of the above keywords and the source will probably contain some <link> tags to a jar file

another method without digging in the code is to use some "no-script" style plugins to your browser that lets you disable flash and java momentarily (instead of uninstalling them) to see if it disables the video in the site.

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  • could you provide an example for one of the videos on vimeo.com? – user162573 Apr 16 '18 at 9:48
  • Sure, first of all for every popular and maintained website with streaming videos as an important part of it I think it is safe to assume it is html5 (its just that today it is a better bet that the user have a new enough browser than a flash plugin installed). in vimeo, if you open a video page in chrome, play the video then right click it and choose "inspect" then Ctrl+F and type "<video" it will bring you straight to the html video object – Joe Apr 18 '18 at 13:13

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