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Specifying Players

A player is a program that adds functionality to a Web browser. The Netscape browser began supporting plug-ins, applications installed so that non-native browser content can be viewed in the browser window. The plug-in functionality in Netscape Navigator is mirrored by ActiveX controls in Internet Explorer. I’ll call the combination of plug-ins and ActiveX controls players. Popular players include Adobe Acrobat Reader, Macromedia Flash, Macromedia Shockwave, QuickTime, RealPlayer, and others.

In versions of Internet Explorer prior to IE 6 (and some versions of IE 5.5), you could install plug-ins. In IE 6, Microsoft disabled IE’s capability to use plug-ins to display non-native browser content in favor of exclusive use of Microsoft’s own ActiveX technology. Most players are available as both an ActiveX control and Netscape plugin. You should check that the type of player, plug-in or ActiveX control, is available for the browser versions you’ve specified.


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