Some websites automatically begin playing a video when the home page launches. Why does this happen? Is there anything I can do to prevent the video from playing automatically?
Many sites set up their videos to “auto-play” so that, just as you describe, the video begins to play as soon as the home page opens. They do this because they want you to see the video they launched. Like you, most of us would prefer to start the video when we’re ready, not when the website has set it up to play.
Fortunately for those of us who don’t want the video to start automatically, many sites are finding that this auto-play feature ends up being a costly option for the company because it uses substantial bandwidth resources. For example, last summer MySpace was one site that turned off auto-play after it realized that it was racking up $10 million each month in streaming fees -- to play video for people who didn’t even want to see it.
Meanwhile, if you want to ensure that video never begins to play on its own no matter what site you visit, you can modify your video settings in your browser so they are more customized to your own preferences.
For example, in Firefox, you can go to Preferences, select Applications, and find the various video formats, including QuickTime and Flash. Click on the item under “Action” and select “always ask,” if that’s what you prefer. Doing this means that the next time you visit a website’s video page, you will be asked if you’d like to see the video. This way, you can make the decision on a case-by-base basis.
The good news is that most browsers offer similar video preferences, so check out your setting options with your favorite browser.
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