Since we updated our Mediasite recorder to version 5 we have had some confusion over its output and what format of presentation is served to our users. We noticed that users on Internet Explorer would be served a Windows Media Player version while those using Fire Fox would be served a Silver Light version. In essence this really shouldn’t have made any difference and if anything you would have thought this would be a good thing as Windows Media Player under Fire Fox tended to be a bit clunky and lack functionality as the Active X controls are not there.
However the reason it was flagged is that the Silver Light version of the player does not have any speed controls for playing back the presentation. This is a lack of functionality with Silver Light as opposed to the Mediasite product. The Windows Media version has a fast/slow option which students seem to really like. Those with English as a first language can “scan” the presentation and so get through more material where as those who may not speak such fluent English can watch the presentation slower and get more from it.
The confusion arose because while trying to test out what version was served to what browser we were not getting consistent results on different computers using the same browser. I was still being served the Windows Media version using Fire Fox although Adam was being served the Silver Light version. This confused us for a good while as from the machines we tested it was only mine that was ever served the Silver Light version.
After recently getting a new computer we noticed again that mine seemed to be the only computer in existence that still continued to receive the Windows Media version. At this stage we decided to try to work this out again and this time I can confidently report that we have an answer!
When your browser loads a presentation, it does a check. On IE it uses your standard install of Windows Media but on Fire Fox the presentation first looks for the Fire Fox Windows Media plug-in, which is a different plug-in that needs to be installed separately. If this plug-in does not exists on the system then it rolls over to using Silver Light. If Silver Light is not installed then it prompts you to install install it. While I think its great that there is a roll over, I find it strange that it would roll over to a plug-in that is just as unlikely to be on the system. If you need to make your user install something why not just prompt them for the Windows Media plug-in for Fire Fox and allow users the full functionality?
In short to experience the full functionality of a Mediasite Presentation download and install the Fire Fox Windows Media plug-in.