How to play WebM files Currently Viewing: Find & Play WebM videos in Internet browser -- Go To

Web: Find & Play WebM videos in Internet browser

August 2010: Admittedly there aren't many places you can find WebM videos on the Internet right now. The project is still in its early days but things are progressing with WebM and HTML5 adoption. Since Google has played such a major roll in WebM, it should be no surprise that an enormous amount of WebM content can be found at YouTube if you know how to find it. This page will show you how to search for those videos on YouTube.

Introduction, Requirements & Browsers

Unlike all the other options in this guide you are not given a software list that you need to perform this task. What you need is basically a compatible web browser. The WebM project lists a selection of supported web browsers and as of August 2010, this is the list...

You will have to make sure that you are using a WebM compatible browser for any chance of seeing WebM in action.

Now that you know that much, you need to sign up for Google's YouTube HTML5 Beta (don't worry, you don't even need an account).

Join YouTube's HTML5 Beta

Head over to YouTube's HTML5 page at Look toward the bottom the page for the link that says "Join the HTML5 Beta". Click it. That's it, you are in. As soon as the link changes to "Leave the HTML5 Beta", you are part of it and obviously, if you click the link you will no longer be.

You will now be using Google's HTML5 player when you are watching videos (which is still really a work in progress). However, since its a HTML5 player, it is capable of displaying WebM video for you. Not all videos are converted to WebM however, with FLV and H.264 still dominant. Videos that are uploaded in resolutions higher than 720p are converted to WebM as well (into 480p and 720p videos).

How do you know if the video you are watching is WebM and not something else? Well the trick is to modify the search URL to display WebM results. We'll see how to do that now.

Get WebM Search Results

If I search for the term "Gears of War 3" in YouTube, the results will show links with all kinds of video available on YouTube. When I search it, the address bar in my window will look like this...

But if I were to edit it and search it like THIS instead...

Then the search results are much different. By adding "&webm=1" to the end of the URL of a YouTube search, the search engine will return results that feature WebM content. To try it out, try it with terms like "trailers," and other things you would expect high quality video to be available for.

When you play it, it will play back WebM content in the HTML 5 player (try it on the highest resolution you can get).

Playing WebM content on YouTube

As I said before, the HTML5 player is not yet perfected. For example, at the time of writing (August 2010), the HTML 5 player is incapable of proper full screen mode on its own. If you try to put it to full screen it will just fill the page in the browser and leave the toolbars and Windows taskbar on display.

A workaround for that, at least in Google Chrome, is to first click the full screen button and then hit the F11 key to turn your browser on full screen display mode. F11 will also exit from full screen mode.

Remember you can switch back to the flash player very easily. All you have to do is go back to and click "Leave the HTML5 Beta" and from then on you will see the regular flash player again.

If you would like to talk about WebM or ask questions about the format, please visit our Discussion Forums for help.

Options for playing WebM files

Below are the options we have available for playing WebM multimedia files. This list will continually be updated as new software releases are made and more options are available for the emerging format.

Play WebM files on Microsoft Windows

Play WebM files with Windows Media Player on Windows

Recommended Option: You can play WebM content in Windows Media Player by installing the correct filters and other software. This will guide you through it. Read More!

Play WebM files with VLC Media Player on Windows

Easiest Option: VLC Media Player is the easiest and fastest option for playing WebM files because it supports the container, video and audio. Read More!

Play WebM files with Media Player Classic on Windows

Alternative Option: Media Player Classic has some core support for WebM files. This player is an optional alternative to Windows Media Player. Read More!

Other Options for WebM

Find and play WebM content on the Internet

Optional: This page looks at finding WebM content on the Internet that you can play back in a compatible web browser. Read More!

Download WebM videos from YouTube

Optional: YouTube has a large amount of WebM content already available for viewing. This page looks at how to rip WebM files from YouTube. Read More!

Technical Information: What are WebM files?

WebM is a media file format designed for use on the web. It competes with Adobe's Flash format and H.264 and has a major advantage in being an open, royalty-free multimedia format. It defines a matroska-like multimedia container structure consisting of video compressed with the open VP8 codec and audio compressed with the Vorbis audio codec.

The WebM project grew largely out of Google's acquisition of On2 Technologies in 2009. The project distributes WebM related software under a BSD-like license structure.

It was announced at Google's I/O conference in 2010, at which time the support of the Mozilla Firefox browser, Opera browser and Google Chrome browswer was revealed. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 will also support WebM content as long as the necessary codecs are installed. Media players such as the VLC player natively support WebM. Google's Android mobile operating system is also slated to get support for WebM in the fourth quarter of 2010.

As for where to find WebM content, Google's video giant YouTube already offers WebM videos with its HTML 5 experimental player with all video files with a resolution higher than 720p being automatically encoded to WebM (420p + 720p as of August 2010) when uploaded to the site.

The WebM project hopes to acheve the following goals..

  • Low computational footprint to enable playback on any device, including low-power netbooks, handhelds, tablets, etc.
  • Simple container format
  • Highest quality real-time video delivery
  • Click and encode. Minimal codec profiles, sub-options; when possible, let the encoder make the tough choices.

As of August 2010, the developer preview releases of browsers supporting WebM are not optimized thoroughly and therefore, for now, have a higher computational footprint for screen rendering than the project expects for general releases.

How to play WebM files Currently Viewing: Find & Play WebM videos in Internet browser -- Go To
Written by: James Delahunty