« Previous | Main | Next »

(Em)Bedding In

Post categories:

John O' Donovan | 13:29 UK time, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

It seems like a long time since we launched embedded video across the BBC News site.

Seems strange to view it any other way now. An outstanding question has been how and when will we enable the ability to have video embedded in other sites.

Well, finally you can do it.

For some videos (starting with those in the News Technology section), we have started to roll out the Embed function.

It's taken a while because there have been a huge number of tricky little issues to sort out and most of these have been complex business issues around rights, terms and conditions, etc... But at last through the fog, a simple and subtle change finally emerges.

embed.jpgWhen you roll over the Share button at the bottom of the embedded Flash player, you will now get an Embed option which allows you to take the embed code and embed the video on your site.

Some example video links to play with are:

Chinook Helecopter Story

Internet football fans

Bafta Video Game Awards

As you can see, as well as the video there is a description panel under the video. This will roll out to more areas of the site after this initial phase and there are different flavours of embedded widget which will be made available.

There will remain some content which we won't be able to allow you to be embedded and viewed off site or outside the UK, mainly for rights reasons.

This year we are focussing on a number of projects which will make our content more open including some major changes to the News and Sport website content management and publishing systems.

I'd be Interested to hear how you would like to see our syndication and content sharing develop.

John O'Donovan is Chief Technical Architect, FM&T Journalism


  • Comment number 1.

    It's a shame the embed code wouldn't use the https://www.alistapart.com/articles/flashsatay method :(

    But otherwise it's nice to finally have this functionality openly available.

  • Comment number 2.

    Very nice.

    When are you going to improve the accessibility of your site, by providing text alternatives/ captions/ transcriptions of your videos?

  • Comment number 3.

    I agree with 2#
    I read at approx 600 wpm and scan much faster. Unless there is really something to see which adds information then a vid is slow and cumbersome ... thats why I have practically give up factual TV. So I find it quite easy for example to visualise a chimpanzee collecting stones. But the important part of the story is missing unless the significance is carefully explained. Transcripts every time please even if they are on another page via link.
    On the other hand 'Radio TV' can help when words are not enough. Did anyone who did not know understand the recent IOT on Neuroscience without quite a lot of pre-knowledge. In fact chimp video used the interpretation of consciousness being identified with forward planning to claim the animal was conscious.

  • Comment number 4.

    I tried embedding one of your demo pages on to a page on one of my websites.

    The popout failed to work with IE7, Firefox Windows, Firefox Mac and Safari Mac.

    Also, a clean install of IE7 just gave a black box where the embedded player should have been. I had to manually install Flash Player 10 form the Adobe web site.

    Has the embedding feature been tested at all?

  • Comment number 5.

    Re #1:

    Actually, it pretty much does the Satay thing. I presume you want to lose the 'embed' element so your page will validate?

    I've got it working here on a test site. Just copy the type="application/x-shockwave-flash" attribute to the 'object' element.
    Then add a data="" attribute to the 'object' element, and set it to the same value as the movie="" param.

    Finally, delete the entire 'embed' element. Kicks bottom on IE, FF, Opera, Safari.

    Netscape won't play with it, but who cares nowadays?

    Way to go, BBC!

  • Comment number 6.

    I was wondering why the BBC chose to make their media player unable to buffer content when the pause button is pressed. On every other video site, you press pause and the video continues to load, not so the BBC's version.

    I live in a very rural area where sometimes my connection is very slow. On other sites I can start a video, press pause and come back later to watch something that has loaded while I browse. Press pause on the BBC player and everything stops.

    Is their a technical reason why this is designed like this, or just a poor design choice. Unfortunately we don't all have super fast speeds, and the player at the moment is a real pain to use.

  • Comment number 7.

    Re: #4

    I had an issue with IE7/Flash too. Update fixed it, no sweat. Strange, that one.

    Regarding the pop-out: are you saying it's a problem when your visitors have to stay on your page to see the movie?

  • Comment number 8.

    Re #6:

    I share your pain. That 'freeze on pause' does indeed suck.
    Thing about those feeds that continue to buffer (like, say, You Tube) is that you can usually capture the movie file from your temporary Internet files folder and replay it at will, offline, using something like Moyea FLV player.
    I guess the Beeb are more acutely aware and responsible on our behalf. Like the man says, there are rights issues.

  • Comment number 9.

    No 8

    Yes, sounds about right. But if the BBC think we can't already rip programs from the iplayer (or watch them outside the UK) they are fooling themselves.

  • Comment number 10.

    Re: #8

    Yeah. Our licence fee pays techies big bucks to 'push string'. Not good.
    There will always be ways and means.
    And lawyers.

  • Comment number 11.

    Can you add transcript of the video + semantic tags of it so that the video can be added to web pages with the right context?

  • Comment number 12.

    @adr3988 - thanks, we'll review the embed technique and try the satay option. At the moment we've given broad browser support priority over strict compliance. We already use different (JavaScript) embedding techniques across BBC online to ensure valid HTML

    @pigsonthewing - subtitles are already available for iPlayer content - Johnathan's blog posts have the latest on media accessibility: https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/bbcinternet/jonathan_hassell/ - John O'Donovan may have an update on how the applies to BBC News content

    @RayTracer - the pop-up button should not be seen when embedding a video - we have a fix for this which will be launched shortly

    @JGScotland - most video content across BBC online is served from streaming servers rather than downloaded progressively - this allows you to quickly seek to any part of a program, and (as others have mentioned) helps us meet our content protection obligations. You should find that current versions of Flash will buffer up to a minute of streaming content whilst paused, and for iPlayer content a download option is available.

    Andy (BBC)

  • Comment number 13.

    @ymkmcom / #12 / Andy (BBC): Thanks; my question was specifically about the BBC news site - apologies for not being clear on that point. The link you gave isn't working - it's giving error 403.

  • Comment number 14.

    A width of 512 is OK, but it doesn't resize happily. Floating borderless vids look bizarre, imho. Any danger of a border property, a la youtube? I like neat. I like options.

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi all - on the question of more subtitles for News and Sport content, the biggest probolem is that these programmes are often live and so the subtitles are written on the fly. This creates a problem in re-using them because they are written in real time meaning they are inherently not a precise (as in word for word) representation of the media and would not be an acceptable replacement for a transcript if viewed without the context of the video or audio they are associated with. Watch the subtitles on the News as an example.

    They also require a much more complicated process to capture live with the media and this is something we are working on with the iPlayer team this year.

    We are developing some ways of processing video, including speech to text and semantic tags but the main issue with this remains the accuracy of these techniques when automated.


    jod (John O'Donovan)

  • Comment number 16.

    Great new embed feature!

    I think it looks great....

  • Comment number 17.

    Love it...

    Have you improved the accessibility of your site yet by providing text alternatives/ captions/ transcriptions of your videos?

    - James @ [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 18.

    When I roll over the share button at the bottom of the embedded Flash player i see "Undefined"..[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] looks like some kind of html code error.


More from this blog...

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.