skip to content
Nikolas Barwicki - Javascript Blog Nikolas's Blog

HTML <video> Tag: Embedding, Muting, Autoplaying and Beyond

/ 4 min read

The focus of today’s blog post is the HTML <video> tag, an integral component for embedding multimedia content in our web pages. It’s a powerful tool that, when used correctly, can significantly enhance user engagement on your website. Let’s delve into this intriguing subject matter and explore the various options, attributes, and best practices related to the video tag.

So, what is the HTML Tag for video?

The HTML <video> tag is used for embedding a video file in an HTML document. The tag provides in-built controls for playback, allowing users to play, pause, or seek through the content at their leisure.

To add a video in HTML, place your <video> tag within your HTML code, and specify the src attribute to point towards your video file’s location. For example:

<video src="videofile.mp4" controls></video>

In the code snippet above, the controls attribute adds playback controls (play/pause etc.), providing user interaction.

Can HTML embed a video?

Absolutely. As we discussed, the <video> tag serves the precise purpose of embedding videos into an HTML document. Note that HTML supports multiple video formats, like MP4, WebM, and Ogg, providing flexibility concerning source files.

Muting a Video Tag in HTML

To mute a video tag in HTML, use the muted attribute. Include it within your <video> tag like so:

<video src="videofile.mp4" controls muted></video>

By invoking this attribute, the video playback will be muted by default.

HTML Video Autoplay

The autoplay attribute enables automatic playback of video content once the web page loads. To turn autoplay on, simply add the autoplay attribute to your <video> tag.

<video src="videofile.mp4" controls autoplay></video>

However, keep in mind the user experience. Autoplaying videos can sometimes be intrusive or annoying for users, hence should be used judiciously.

If you wish to turn off autoplay in HTML video tag, simply remove the autoplay attribute from your <video> tag.

The Source Tag for HTML Video

The source tag (<source>) is used within the <video> tag to specify media resources. Essentially, it allows you to specify multiple video sources or formats, facilitating fallback options if a format isn’t supported by a user’s browser. The first source that is compatible with the browser will be the one to play.

For example:

<video controls>
  <source src="videofile.mp4" type="video/mp4">
  <source src="videofile.ogg" type="video/ogg">
  <source src="videofile.webm" type="video/webm">
  Your browser doesn't support HTML5 video.

In the snippet above, we’ve provided three different video formats. If the browser doesn’t support MP4, it will attempt to load the Ogg file. If that, too, is not supported, it will try the WebM file.

What are the Different Video Sources in HTML?

HTML supports three video formats that can be used as sources: MP4, Ogg, and WebM. Using multiple sources extends the reach of your embedded videos, making sure users with different browser preferences can all view your content seamlessly.

Adding Posters to HTML Video Tag

A poster in HTML5 is essentially a representative image you display before the video content plays.

To add a poster to a video tag in HTML, leverage the poster attribute. Here’s an instance:

<video src="videofile.mp4" controls poster="posterimage.jpg"></video>

In this code snippet, the poster image ‘posterimage.jpg’ will be displayed until the user interacts with the video controls.

Previewing Video in HTML

If you wish to provide a preview of a video in HTML, the preload attribute will be your ally. It defines if and how an author thinks the video should be loaded when the page loads.

<video src="videofile.mp4" controls preload="auto"></video>

In the above example, the preload attribute is set to ‘auto’, which tells the browser to start loading the video immediately.

HTML5’s <video> tag offers a host of possibilities to enrich web pages with video content. Just keep in mind to always offer a readily accessible user experience and consider the SEO implications of using video on your webpage.

We’re reaching the end of our comprehensive guide on HTML’s <video> tag. Remember to experiment and explore various attributes to understand how they can enhance your user’s engagement. Happy coding!