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4.8.8 The source element

Categories:
None.
Contexts in which this element can be used:
As a child of a media element, before any flow content or track elements.
Content model:
Empty.
Content attributes:
Global attributes
src
type
media
DOM interface:
interface HTMLSourceElement : HTMLElement {
           attribute DOMString src;
           attribute DOMString type;
           attribute DOMString media;
};

The source element allows authors to specify multiple alternative media resources for media elements. It does not represent anything on its own.

The src attribute gives the address of the media resource. The value must be a valid non-empty URL potentially surrounded by spaces. This attribute must be present.

Dynamically modifying a source element and its attribute when the element is already inserted in a video or audio element will have no effect. To change what is playing, just use the src attribute on the media element directly, possibly making use of the canPlayType() method to pick from amongst available resources. Generally, manipulating source elements manually after the document has been parsed is an unncessarily complicated approach.

The type attribute gives the type of the media resource, to help the user agent determine if it can play this media resource before fetching it. If specified, its value must be a valid MIME type. The codecs parameter, which certain MIME types define, might be necessary to specify exactly how the resource is encoded. [RFC4281]

The following list shows some examples of how to use the codecs= MIME parameter in the type attribute.

H.264 Constrained baseline profile video (main and extended video compatible) level 3 and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2"'>
H.264 Extended profile video (baseline-compatible) level 3 and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.58A01E, mp4a.40.2"'>
H.264 Main profile video level 3 and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.4D401E, mp4a.40.2"'>
H.264 'High' profile video (incompatible with main, baseline, or extended profiles) level 3 and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.64001E, mp4a.40.2"'>
MPEG-4 Visual Simple Profile Level 0 video and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="mp4v.20.8, mp4a.40.2"'>
MPEG-4 Advanced Simple Profile Level 0 video and Low-Complexity AAC audio in MP4 container
<source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="mp4v.20.240, mp4a.40.2"'>
MPEG-4 Visual Simple Profile Level 0 video and AMR audio in 3GPP container
<source src='video.3gp' type='video/3gpp; codecs="mp4v.20.8, samr"'>
Theora video and Vorbis audio in Ogg container
<source src='video.ogv' type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"'>
Theora video and Speex audio in Ogg container
<source src='video.ogv' type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, speex"'>
Vorbis audio alone in Ogg container
<source src='audio.ogg' type='audio/ogg; codecs=vorbis'>
Speex audio alone in Ogg container
<source src='audio.spx' type='audio/ogg; codecs=speex'>
FLAC audio alone in Ogg container
<source src='audio.oga' type='audio/ogg; codecs=flac'>
Dirac video and Vorbis audio in Ogg container
<source src='video.ogv' type='video/ogg; codecs="dirac, vorbis"'>

The media attribute gives the intended media type of the media resource, to help the user agent determine if this media resource is useful to the user before fetching it. Its value must be a valid media query.

The default, if the media attribute is omitted, is "all", meaning that by default the media resource is suitable for all media.

If a source element is inserted as a child of a media element that has no src attribute and whose networkState has the value NETWORK_EMPTY, the user agent must invoke the media element's resource selection algorithm.

The IDL attributes src, type, and media must reflect the respective content attributes of the same name.

If the author isn't sure if the user agents will all be able to render the media resources provided, the author can listen to the error event on the last source element and trigger fallback behavior:

<script>
 function fallback(video) {
   // replace <video> with its contents
   while (video.hasChildNodes()) {
     if (video.firstChild instanceof HTMLSourceElement)
       video.removeChild(video.firstChild);
     else
       video.parentNode.insertBefore(video.firstChild, video);
   }
   video.parentNode.removeChild(video);
 }
</script>
<video controls autoplay>
 <source src='video.mp4' type='video/mp4; codecs="avc1.42E01E, mp4a.40.2"'>
 <source src='video.ogv' type='video/ogg; codecs="theora, vorbis"'
         onerror="fallback(parentNode)">
 ...
</video>