Dwight Watt - Newspaper Article #306 9/2/2015

Question: Can I keep websites from auto playing videos?


Not really currently. There is a couple ways to try in the different browsers but they really do not work.

A lot of websites in last year have started auto playing videos (quite often ads) when you open their page up. If you go to cnn.com as you open each article at the top of the page they have a video news story that starts with ad that starts playing every time you go to page.

These auto playing videos are highly irritating to many people for several reasons. First is you suddenly have them coming out your speakers and if in office or classroom environment it is frowned on. Even at home could be problem if others gone to bed. Second if you have limited bandwidth or only get certain amount of bandwidth per month (think cell phone) it uses up your bandwidth quickly and could cost you extra.

Back in the late 1990s when audio files first appeared this same approach was used and irritated people for same reasons (remember almost everyone had a 56k modem then). The browsers put a stop to that by adding an option to block auto play. However that disappeared over time as almost all sites quit it. I still see a site once in a long while do it, usually music.

There is hope though. Google announced their next version of Chrome will have a feature to turn off auto play.

Currently you can stop Flash videos from playing in Chrome in Firefox, but very little video is done in Flash now. Internet Explorer allows you to block ActiveX but that will not block many and also blocks other activity.

I think people would like a number of sites better if they quit doing auto play. I realize advertisers want you to hear the ad, but they are getting negative publicity and people simply turning off the speakers except when really needed.