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Media Players

To view video on the Web, you must have a media player. Furthermore, you must have the appropriate media player that the media file is suppose to be viewed with, in most cases. Many sites offer the same media content in three formats: Windows Media Player, Real, and QuickTime.

The world of media players is constantly changing. Even as I'm writing this chapter, Apple has announced QuickTime 6 and Real has announced a new player initiative that will allow its One Player to natively play all file formats intended for the other media players. Following is a breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the three players (as of this writing). However, first I'd like to point out the differences between a progressive download video and streaming video. The technologies are as similar as they are different, and it's important to understand them both.


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