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Displaying Video in an ASP.NET Web Pages (Razor) Site

By Tom FitzMacken|

This article explains how to use a video (media) player in an ASP.NET Web Pages (Razor) website to let users view videos that are stored on the site.  ASP.NET Web Pages with Razor syntax lets you play Flash (.swf), Media Player (.wmv), and Silverlight (.xap) videos.

What you'll learn:

  • How to choose a video player.
  • How to add video to a web page.
  • How to set video player attributes.

These are the ASP.NET Razor pages features introduced in the article:

  • The Video helper.

Software versions used in the tutorial

  • ASP.NET Web Pages (Razor) 2
  • WebMatrix 2

This tutorial also works with WebMatrix 3.

Introduction

You might want to display a video on your site. One way to do that is to link to a site that already has the video, like YouTube. If you want to embed a video from these sites directly in your own pages, you can usually get HTML markup from the site and then copy it into your page. For example, the following example shows how to embed a YouTube video:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
    <head>
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
        <title>Embedded Video Example</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>Embedded Video Example</h1>
        <p>The following video provides an introduction to WebMatrix:</p>
        <iframe width="560" 
                height="315" 
                src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/fxCEcPxUbYA" 
                frameborder="0" 
                allowfullscreen></iframe>
</body>
</html>

If you want to play a video that's on your own website (not on a public video-sharing site), you can't directly link to it using embedded markup like this. However, you can play videos from your site by using the Video helper, which renders a media player directly in a page.

Choosing a Video Player

There are lots of formats for video files, and each format typically requires a different player and a different way to configure the player. In ASP.NET Razor pages, you can play a video in a web page using the Video helper. The Video helper simplifies the process of embedding videos in a web page because it automatically generates the object and embed HTML elements that are normally used to add video to the page.

The Video helper supports the following media players:

  • Adobe Flash
  • Windows MediaPlayer
  • Microsoft Silverlight

The Flash Player

The Flash player of the Video helper let you play Flash videos (.swf files) in a web page. At a minimum, you have to provide a path to the video file. If you specify nothing but the path, the player uses default values that are set by the current version of Flash. Typical default settings are:

  • The video is displayed using its default width and height and without a background color.
  • The video plays automatically when the page loads.
  • The video loops continuously until it's explicitly stopped.
  • The video is scaled to show all of the video, rather than cropping the video to fit a specific size.
  • The video plays in a window.

The MediaPlayer Player

The MediaPlayer player of the Video helper lets you play Windows Media videos (.wmv files), Windows Media audio (.wma files), and MP3 (.mp3 files) in a web page. You must include path of the media file to play; all other parameters are optional. If you specify only a path, the player uses default settings set by the current version of MediaPlayer, such as:

  • The video is displayed using its default width and height.
  • The video plays automatically when the page loads.
  • The video plays once (it doesn't loop).
  • The player displays the full set of controls in the user interface.
  • The video plays in in a window.

The Silverlight Player

The Silverlight player of the Video helper lets you play Windows Media Video (.wmv files), Windows Media Audio (.wma files), and MP3 (.mp3 files). You must set the path parameter to point to a Silverlight-based application package (.xap file). You also must set the width and height parameters. All other parameters are optional. When you use the Silverlight player for video, if you set only the required parameters, the Silverlight player displays the video without a background color.

Note   In case you don't already know Silverlight: the .xap file is a compressed file that contains layout instructions in a .xaml file, managed code in assemblies, and optional resources. You can create a .xap file in Visual Studio as a Silverlight application project.

The Silverlight video player uses both the settings that you provide for the player and the settings that are provided in the .xap file.

Playing Flash (.swf) Videos

This procedure shows you how to play a Flash video named sample.swf. The procedure assumes that you've got a folder named Media on your site and that the .swf file is in that folder.

  1. Add the ASP.NET Web Helpers Library to your website as described in Installing Helpers in an ASP.NET Web Pages Site, if you haven't already added it.
  2. In the website, add a page and name it FlashVideo.cshtml.
  3. Add the following markup to the page:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
        <title>Flash Video</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        @Video.Flash(path: "Media/sample.swf",
                     width: "400",
                     height: "600",
                     play: true,
                     loop: true,
                     menu:  false,
                     bgColor: "red",
                     quality: "medium",
                     scale: "exactfit",
                     windowMode: "transparent")
    </body>
    </html>
  4. Run the page in a browser. (Make sure the page is selected in the Files workspace before you run it.) The page is displayed and the video plays automatically.

    [image]

You can set the quality parameter for a Flash video to low, autolow, autohigh, medium, high, and best:

<!-- Set the Flash video quality -->
@Video.Flash(path: "Media/sample.swf", quality: "autohigh")

You can change the Flash video to play at a specific size using the scale parameter, which you can set to the following:

  • showall. This makes the entire video visible while maintaining the original aspect ratio. However, you might end up with borders on each side.
  • noorder. This scales the video while maintaining the original aspect ratio, but it might be cropped.
  • exactfit. This makes the entire video visible without preserving the original aspect ratio, but distortion may occur.

If you don't specify a scale parameter, the entire video will be visible and the original aspect ratio will be maintained without any cropping. The following example shows how to use the scale parameter:

<!-- Set the Flash video to an exact size -->
@Video.Flash(path: "Media/sample.swf", width: "1000", height: "100",
    scale: "exactfit")

The Flash player supports a video mode setting named windowMode. You can set this to window, opaque, and transparent. By default, the windowMode is set to window, which displays the video in a separate window on the web page. The opaque setting hides everything behind the video on the web page. The transparent setting lets the background of the web page show through the video, assuming any part of the video is transparent.

Playing MediaPlayer (.wmv) Videos

The following procedure shows you how to play a Window Media video named sample.wmv that's in the Media folder.

  1. Add the ASP.NET Web Helpers Library to your website as described in Installing Helpers in an ASP.NET Web Pages Site, if you haven't already.
  2. Create a new page named MediaPlayerVideo.cshtml.
  3. Add the following markup to the page:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
      <title>MediaPlayer Video</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        @Video.MediaPlayer(
            path: "Media/sample.wmv",
            width: "400",
            height: "600",
            autoStart: true,
            playCount: 2,
            uiMode:  "full",
            stretchToFit: true,
            enableContextMenu: true,
            mute: false,
            volume: 75)
    </body>
    </html>
  4. Run the page in a browser. The video loads and plays automatically.

    [image]

You can set playCount to an integer that indicates how many times to play the video automatically:

<!-- Set the MediaPlayer video playCount -->
@Video.MediaPlayer(path: "Media/sample.wmv", playCount: 2)

The uiMode parameter lets you specify which controls show up in the user interface. You can set uiMode to invisible, none, mini, or full. If you don't specify a uiMode parameter, the video will be displayed with the status window, seek bar, control buttons, and volume controls in addition to the video window. These controls will also be displayed if you use the player to play an audio file. Here's an example of how to use the uiMode parameter:

<!-- Set the MediaPlayer control UI -->
@Video.MediaPlayer(path: "Media/sample.wmv", uiMode: "mini")

By default, audio is on when the video plays. You can mute the audio by setting the mute parameter to true:

<!-- Play the MediaPlayer video without audio -->
@Video.MediaPlayer(path: "Media/sample.wmv", mute: true)

You can control the audio level of the MediaPlayer video by setting the volume parameter to a value between 0 and 100. The default value is 50. Here's an example:

<!-- Play the MediaPlayer video without audio -->
@Video.MediaPlayer(path: "Media/sample.wmv", volume: 75)

Playing Silverlight Videos

This procedure shows you how to play video contained in a Silverlight .xap page that's in a folder named Media.

  1. Add the ASP.NET Web Helpers Library to your website as described in Installing Helpers in an ASP.NET Web Pages Site, if you haven't already .
  2. Create a new page named SilverlightVideo.cshtml.
  3. Add the following markup to the page:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html>
    <head>
      <title>Silverlight Video</title>
    </head>
    <body>
        @Video.Silverlight(
            path: "Media/sample.xap",
            width: "400",
            height: "600",
            bgColor: "red",
            autoUpgrade: true)
    </body>
    </html>
  4. Run the page in a browser.

    [image]

Additional Resources

Silverlight Overview

Flash OBJECT and EMBED tag attributes

Windows Media Player 11 SDK PARAM Tags

This article was originally created on February 20, 2014

Author Information

Tom FitzMacken

Tom FitzMacken – Tom FitzMacken is a Senior Programming Writer on the Web Platform & Tools Content team.