The trick is QuickTime Media Links (.qtl), a little-used feature of QuickTime classic -- but notably not QuickTime X -- which lets you build lightweight Internet "media shortcuts" and feed them to QuickTime Player, which then goes and fetches the video online for you. So this add-on is, in essence, quite simple: select a media element (video, audio and images are supported), determine its source and write up a temporary .qtl file, and then feed that to QuickTime Player. QuickTime handles all the streaming and playback. No mucking around with AppleScript, just "clean" CoreFoundation code. In practice it's not quite that simple, but we'll talk about the limitations in a bit after you've had a chance to play.
- Download the add-on. Don't install it yet. Remember, this is alpha software. It has not been well-tested on 10.5 or on a large number of sites.
- These make good demos: either Walt Mossberg's Lion video review, which won't play at all in TenFourFox, or this HTML5 video test, which will normally play WebM in TenFourFox (but has H.264 as an alternate). Open it up for the standard behaviour to see what it does without the add-on.
- Drop the add-on on the TenFourFox window. This extension is only supported for TenFourFox 6. I do not plan to support it in 5 or 4. You will be prompted to confirm its installation. It will install without a restart.
- Now, right-click or Ctrl-click the video. There's a new choice: Open Media in QuickTime. Click it. A dialogue will tell you the new destination (mostly for debugging purposes). Then QuickTime Player will open, and ...
Here's what doesn't work:
- WebM video for some reason won't play, even with Perian 1.2.2 installed, and I'm not sure why (QuickTime objects to the video format). I'm not really too concerned about this since the browser can play it, but it would be nice because it would expand the number of machines that can handle WebM video. I'm wondering if its media sniffing code is failing and I have to hint it a bit more.
- Autoplay doesn't work, even though I'm asking QuickTime to do it.
- Not all elements are detected by Firefox's context menu code as qualifying selectors, so some video elements will not offer you the option. I may need to simply ask for 'everything' and then filter it myself rather than relying on the browser.
I have not heard much noise from Mozilla about the next 6.0 release. I am presently in the process of moving to a new house, so I will not able to generate builds for about a two-week period starting next week as the G5 is in transit. With luck this should coincide with the 6.0RC, since there have been no major problems reported thus far. Your patience is appreciated.