QuickTime Fallback


We’ve also altered our video player selection algorithm. Previously if you didn’t have an HTML5 browser capable of playing MP4 video or didn’t have Adobe Flash installed, we would show an error. Now, we also check to see if you have QuickTime installed and if you do, we fallback to QuickTime.

Apple Links Broken Again

Apple HD trailer links are broken again. I currently don’t have time to look too deep into the issue, but from a quick analysis, it looks like the domain www.apple.com has blocked out all access movie trailers. You may recall that the solution that bypassed the QuickTime user agent check was to change the domain movies.apple.com to www.apple.com in the url.

The current workaround is back to setting the user agent and using the movies.apple.com domain. For more information about the workaround, please read Direct Download Links from Apple Are Not Working.

Remember in order for the workaround to work, you have to change the domain from www.apple.com to movies.apple.com, if it’s not already correct.

See Update: Replacing Subdomain Working Again For Apple Trailers

Slow Speeds From Apple

If you’re experiencing slow download speeds from Apple, it’s very likely their website is being overloaded with the announcement of the new iPods. Previously trailers were hosted on movies.apple.com, which actually redirected to Akamai (worldwide distributed mirrors), so speeds were pretty much guaranteed. However, since we’ve switched to www.apple.com to bypass the QuickTime user agent requirement, we’re now hitting Apple’s main web server directly, which according to my logs is not hosted by Akamai.

If you want to see faster speeds from Apple during this overloaded period, my suggestion is to switch back to movies.apple.com and use a download utility that can spoof the QuickTime user agent. Hopefully after the rush of people interested in seeing the new iPods, speeds will return to normal.

Apple Trailer Links Are Working

As I tweeted earlier, Apple trailer links are once again working. However, the links themselves had to be tweaked a bit. In order to download directly, you’ll have to modify the domain from movies.apple.com to www.apple.com. Once the URL is modified, you can once again use it to direct download. For full detailed instructions, I’ve updated the tutorial.

So far I’ve fixed the main catalog as well as my blog entries. If you see issues with any particular trailer, please let me know.

Personally, I have no idea if this is only a temporary solution or not. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope Apple doesn’t feel evil again.

We have Dave to thank for this hint.

Switching from QuickTime to JW FLV Player

Awhile back I enabled mediabox where if you clicked on a resolution from our main catalog, it’ll pop out a video player on top of our page instead of launching the video directly. The problem with that was the object was embedded with QuickTime and you know how much I hate QuickTime.

I was messing around with JW FLV Player and remembered that it was able to play H.264/MP4 files. The idea of trying to use it to play QuickTime/MOV files popped into my head and after testing a bit, it was a success! Took me some time to figure out how to escape an url for FlashVars. Turns out you’ll have to urlencode the following 3 symbols: = ? &

Then I had to remember how to modify mediabox to get it to stop using the QuickTime embedding code and to switch to the SWFObject code I wanted to use. After getting that to work, I realized mediabox has evoled into mediaboxadvanced and was now much cooler. It now has rounded edges and even supports sets of media so you can browse between them w/o having to leave the player. One of these days, I may consider linking up all the trailers or maybe the current top 10. But for now, I’ve linked up all the trailers/clips of the same movie and of the same resolution.

Switching over to the new mediaboxadvanced was pretty straightforward. Took a few tries to figure out which set of MooTools I needed, but once I had my sample page working, it was only updating my scripts to point to the newer versions and a 2 line change to add support to sets and to change mediabox to lightbox. I’ve also enhanced the title to show not only the movie name, but the clip name as well as the resolution.

I’ve tested it out on Firefox and IE8 and they both seem to work fine. Let me know if you hit into any issues.

Too bad the Apple trailer links are still broken unless you change your browser’s User Agent to Quicktime, or this update would’ve been that much cooler.

Direct Download Links from Apple Are Not Working

Update: Please see this blog post on how to get direct downloading to work again: Apple Trailer Links Are Working

Direct download links for HD trailers on Apple are currently busted. From their tweet, it looks like the change was made to deal with the influx of user traffic/bandwidth for the Avatar trailer:

Adjustments made to support additional #Avatar teaser trailer traffic now live http://tinyurl.com/avatarteaser/ #avatarmovie

It looks like one of the adjustments they made was to only allow Quicktime to download the trailer. Any web browser will be automatically redirected to the Apple – Movie Trailers’ homepage.

If you have a download utility or are able to spoof the User Agent in your browser (i.e. User Agent Switcher for Firefox), you can still get around this.

The user agent my Quicktime uses is:
QuickTime/7.6.2 (qtver=7.6.2;os=Windows NT 5.1Service Pack 3)

I’ve confirmed that the only portion you need is QuickTime.

Using wget, I was able to download the Avatar 1080p trailer with:
wget -U QuickTime http://trailers.apple.com/movies/fox/avatar/avatar2009aug0820a-tsr_h1080p.mov

Update #2: You can also use curl (comes with Mac OSX) to download using the following command:
curl -A QuickTime http://trailers.apple.com/movies/fox/avatar/avatar2009aug0820a-tsr_h1080p.mov

Update: If you want to use the User Agent Switcher for Firefox, you’ll first need to install the extension. After installing the extension, go to Tools > Default User Agent > Edit User Agents…

Create a new User Agent by clicking on New > New User Agent… Clear out all the fields and copy and paste QuickTime/7.6.2 into the Description and User Agent fields.

Switch to the newly created QuickTime/7.6.2 User Agent by selecting it from the Tools > Default User Agent menu. Now you should be able to click/save Apple HD trailers from our site as you normally did before. Remember to switch back to the Default User Agent after you’re done saving trailers.

Update #3: Found this page that’ll teach you step by step on how to change your user agent in the following browsers: Firefox, Opera, and Internet Explorer: Switching User Agents.

Let’s just hope this is temporary or else it’d be quite inconvenient for users to download HD trailers from Apple anymore.

Shadowbox Enabled

So I’ve always wanted to enable streaming/playing hd videos in your browser and have been asked if that was possible many times. However, I also wanted to maintain the downloadable aspect of it.

Awhile back, I was played around with Cooliris (previously known as PicLens), however the only video type it supported was Flash. I sent them an email, but they said they were working on it. I believe they still do not support Quicktime movies yet.

I was also playing with Lightbox, but mainly for my photo gallery. It was cool in the fact I can enlarge an image and darken the screen behind it. So while fixing up some random issues on my site today, I decided to see if Lightbox supported video. Unfortunately they don’t:

Can I display flash, video, or other content using the script?

Sorry, photos only. For other content, google for Lightbox modifications or try an alternative script such as Cody Lindley’s ThickBox.

I searched online and found a few that did: Lightview, Lightwindow, mediabox, and Shadowbox.

Lightview looked really nice with the rounded corners, but unfortunately it wasn’t free. If there’s demand to improve to this feature, I might consider switching to it in the future.

Lightwindow did not work in Firefox 3 for some reason. Worked fine in IE7.

mediabox is actually my favorite. It auto-resizes the window to fight the video player snuggly. However, they didn’t have a download package and the installation steps weren’t easy to follow. I was going to invest some time in understanding what I needed to do, but then I found…

Shadowbox works right out of the box and contains simple examples. Unfortunately it doesn’t have the auto-resize thing and seems to stretch the video player to fit the height/width I specify for the frame.

I initially was hitting into the issue where it wouldn’t detect Yahoo’s trailers as Quicktime movies, since they end in .dll. However, I was able to specify player=qt in the rel attribute, and things are working fine now.

With this, I don’t have to modify the existing href to the actual trailer and people can still right click and save the trailer onto their hard drive. What Shadowbox enables is if you’re just browsing and just want to watch some HD trailers in your browser, this has become simple.

If anyone hits into issues, please do let me know.

Turns out I was mistaken about mediabox’s auto-resizing. I finally managed to grab all the files I needed. I’ve uploaded it to zSHARE if you’re interested with playing with it: mediabox Version 0.7.3. It does add a black border around the video player, which I like. I also had to modify the code to set the backcolor attribute for the embed object. Since I didn’t know what the exact dimension of these videos are, it was filling in the extra spacing with a blinding white color. Finally, I added .dll as an extension that should use the Quicktime code path.

Not too sure which one I like more. Going to stick with mediabox for now.