Safari Requires QuickTime for HTML5 Media Support

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Over the weekend I upgraded to Safari 5.0.1, around about the same time my colleague Mark P informed me of a potential HTML5 audio issue with this latest incarnation of Apple’s browser.

It wasn’t until Sunday afternoon that I finally started to investigate the issue. The recently upgraded version of Safari on my Mac worked fine, in the sense that it passed all the expected tests we’d set up for jPlayer compatibility. So I decided to investigate further and installed on my little used Windows XP partition. I ran the test and sure enough it failed. Next I installed on a copy of XP running under Parallels Desktop. Same problem. Mark P on the other hand had it working under XP but not under Windows 7. Asking around on Twitter others had no such issues on Windows 7. Most strange.

I started to suspect it was an installation issue, but had no idea of the root cause until someone on the jPlayer group thread we’d started mentioned that they’d had similar issues with Safari 4 and that QuickTime had been the culprit. It turns out Safari relies on QuickTime to play HTML5 based media. Needless to say that this came as a bit of a surprise to us.

So Safari does not then support HTML5 audio or video without QuickTime being installed, just when we were getting used to browsers being ‘standalone’. Next to check if Internet Explorer 9 requires Silverlight to support canvas. Imagine the fuss if it did.

(Thanks to @trygve_lie and @getify for their help with this.)

Mark B

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 Audio, HTML5

6 Comments to Safari Requires QuickTime for HTML5 Media Support

  • Mark P says:

    Our discussion on the Apple Support forum, Safari for Windows:
    HTML5 Audio/Video Not working at all on new Windows 7 install

    Our discussion on the jPlayer Support Group:
    Safari 5.0.1 on Windows no longer supports HTML5 audio

  • Thany says:

    What about Chrome? Same layout-engine, perhaps the same problem?

  • Excellent information. You know that Apple Software Update thing that pops up and you update your software without giving it a second thought.
    Well, I was helping debug an HTML 5 player and could not reason why it stopped working
    in Safari. It was crazy. Tried several anti-spyware and anti-virus programs before I did
    a search and came across your post.
    Tried to launch QuickTime Player and it wasn’t configured yet. So, I went through the normal
    startup procedure for configuring Quicktime Player and launched it, and unbelievably, the HTML 5 Player started working again in Safari. Invaluable information. Thank you very much.

  • [...] Safari (5+) relies on Quicktime being installed. This is rarely a problem unless you are running it on Windows. [...]

  • moose says:

    does quicktime alternative work with html5 ?