changing source on html5 video tag

i'm trying to build a video player, that works everywhere. so far i'd be going with:

    <source src="video.mp4"></source>
    <source src="video.ogv"></source>
    <object data="flowplayer.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash">
        <param name="movie" value="flowplayer.swf" />
        <param name="flashvars" value='config={"clip":"video.mp4"}' />

(as seen on several sites, for example video for everybody) so far, so good.

but now i also want some kind of playlist/menu along with the video player, from which i can select other videos. those should be opened within my player right away. so i will have to "dynamically change the source of the video" (as seen on - section "Let's look at another movie") with javascript. let's forget about the flashplayer (and thus IE) part for the time being, i will try to deal with that later.

so my JS to change the <source> tags should be something like:

function loadAnotherVideo() {
    var video = document.getElementsByTagName('video')[0];
    var sources = video.getElementsByTagName('source');
    sources[0].src = 'video2.mp4';
    sources[1].src = 'video2.ogv';

problem is, this doesnt work in all browsers. namely, firefox =O there is a nice page, where you can observe the problem i'm having:

as soon as i trigger the load() method (in firefox, mind you), the video player dies.

now i have found out that when i don't use multiple <source> tags, but instead just one src attribute within the <video> tag, the whole thing DOES work in firefox.

so my plan is to just use that src attribute and determine the appropriate file using the canPlayType() function.

am i doing it wrong somehow or complicating things??

I hated all these answers because they were too short or relied on other frameworks.

Here is "one" vanilla JS way of doing this, working in Chrome, please test in other browsers:


<video id="video" width="320" height="240"></video>


var video = document.getElementById('video');
var source = document.createElement('source');

source.setAttribute('src', '');


setTimeout(function() {  

    source.setAttribute('src', ''); 

}, 3000);

Modernizr worked like a charm for me.

What I did is that I didn't use <source>. Somehow this screwed things up, since the video only worked the first time load() was called. Instead I used the source attribute inside the video tag -> <video src="blabla.webm" /> and used Modernizr to determine what format the browser supported.

var v = new Array();

v[0] = [
v[1] = [
v[2] = [

function changeVid(n){
    var video = document.getElementById('video');

    if( && {
        video.setAttribute("src", v[n][0]);
    } else if( && {
        video.setAttribute("src", v[n][1]);
    } else if( && {
        video.setAttribute("src", v[n][2]);


Hopefully this will help you :)

If you don't want to use Modernizr , you can always use CanPlayType().

Your original plan sounds fine to me. You'll probably find more browser quirks dealing with dynamically managing the <source> elements, as indicated here by the W3 spec note:

Dynamically modifying a source element and its attribute when the element is already inserted in a video or audio element will have no effect. To change what is playing, just use the src attribute on the media element directly, possibly making use of the canPlayType() method to pick from amongst available resources. Generally, manipulating source elements manually after the document has been parsed is an unncessarily[sic] complicated approach.

I solved this with this simple method

function changeSource(url) {
   var video = document.getElementById('video');
   video.src = url;;

Instead of getting the same video player to load new files, why not erase the entire <video> element and recreate it. Most browsers will automatically load it if the src's are correct.

Example (using Prototype):

var vid = new Element('video', { 'autoplay': 'autoplay', 'controls': 'controls' });
var src = new Element('source', { 'src': 'video.ogg', 'type': 'video/ogg' });

src.insert({ before: new Element('source', { 'src': 'video.mp4', 'type': 'video/mp4' }) });


Just put a div and update the content...

function setvideo(src) {
    document.getElementById('div_video').innerHTML = '<video autoplay controls id="video_ctrl" style="height: 100px; width: 100px;"><source src="'+src+'" type="video/mp4"></video>';
<button onClick="setvideo('video1.mp4');">Video1</button>
<div id="div_video"> </div>

According to the spec

Dynamically modifying a source element and its attribute when the element is already inserted in a video or audio element will have no effect. To change what is playing, just use the src attribute on the media element directly, possibly making use of the canPlayType() method to pick from amongst available resources. Generally, manipulating source elements manually after the document has been parsed is an unncessarily complicated approach.

So what you are trying to do is apparently not supposed to work.

Yaur: Although what you have copied and pasted is good advice, this does not mean that it is impossible to change the source element of an HTML5 video element elegantly, even in IE9 (or IE8 for that matter).(This solution does NOT involve replacing the entire video element, as it is bad coding practice).

A complete solution to changing/switching videos in HTML5 video tags via javascript can be found here and is tested in all HTML5 browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, IE9, etc).

If this helps, or if you're having trouble, please let me know.

I come with this to change video source dynamically. "canplay" event sometime doesn't fire in Firefox so i have added "loadedmetadata". Also i pause previous video if there is one...

var loadVideo = function(movieUrl) {
    var isReady = function (event) {
            console.log('video.isReady(event)', event.type);
            video.removeEventListener('canplay', isReady);
            video.removeEventListener('loadedmetadata', isReady);
            video.currentTime = 0;
        whenPaused = function() {
            video.removeEventListener('pause', whenPaused);
            video.addEventListener('canplay', isReady, false);
            video.addEventListener('loadedmetadata', isReady, false); // Sometimes Firefox don't trigger "canplay" event...
            video.src = movieUrl; // Change actual source

    if (video.src && !video.paused) {
        video.addEventListener('pause', whenPaused, false);
    else whenPaused();

This is my solution:

<video id="playVideo" width="680" height="400" controls="controls">
    <source id="sourceVideo" src="{{video.videoHigh}}" type="video/mp4">
    <br />
<button class="btn btn-warning" id="{{video.videoHigh}}" onclick="changeSource(this)">HD</button>
<button class="btn btn-warning" id="{{video.videoLow}}" onclick="changeSource(this)">Regular</button>

<script type="text/javascript">
    var getVideo = document.getElementById("playVideo");
    var getSource = document.getElementById("sourceVideo");
    function changeSource(vid) {
        var geturl =;
        getSource .setAttribute("src", geturl);
        getVideo .load()
        getVideo .play();
        getVideo .volume = 0.5;

Using the <source /> tags proved difficult for me in Chrome 14.0.835.202 specifically, although it worked fine for me in FireFox. (This could be my lack of knowledge, but I thought an alternate solution might be useful anyway.) So, I ended up just using a <video /> tag and setting the src attribute right on the video tag itself. The canPlayVideo('<mime type>') function was used to determine whether or not the specific browser could play the input video. The following works in FireFox and Chrome.

Incidently, both FireFox and Chrome are playing the "ogg" format, although Chrome recommends "webm". I put the check for browser support of "ogg" first only because other posts have mentioned that FireFox prefers the ogg source first (i.e. <source src="..." type="video/ogg"/> ). But, I haven't tested (and highly doubt) whether or not it the order in the code makes any difference at all when setting the "src" on the video tag.


<body onload="setupVideo();">
    <video id="media" controls="true" preload="auto" src="">


function setupVideo() {
       // You will probably get your video name differently
       var videoName = "";

       // Get all of the uri's we support
       var indexOfExtension = videoName.lastIndexOf(".");
       //window.alert("found index of extension " + indexOfExtension);
       var extension = videoName.substr(indexOfExtension, videoName.length - indexOfExtension);
       //window.alert("extension is " + extension);
       var ogguri = encodeURI(videoName.replace(extension, ".ogv"));
       var webmuri = encodeURI(videoName.replace(extension, ".webm"));
       var mp4uri = encodeURI(videoName.replace(extension, ".mp4"));
       //window.alert(" URI is " + webmuri);

       // Get the video element
       var v = document.getElementById("media");
       window.alert(" media is " + v);

       // Test for support
       if (v.canPlayType("video/ogg")) {
            v.setAttribute("src", ogguri);
           //window.alert("can play ogg");
       else if (v.canPlayType("video/webm")) {
           v.setAttribute("src", webmuri);
           //window.alert("can play webm");
       else if (v.canPlayType("video/mp4")) {
           v.setAttribute("src", mp4uri);
           //window.alert("can play mp4");
       else {
           window.alert("Can't play anything");


I have been researching this for quite a while and I am trying to do the same thing, so hopefully this will help someone else. I have been using and literally testing this in almost every browser known to man. The solution I've got currently works in Opera, Chrome, Firefox 3.5+, IE8+, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPad 1+, Android 2.3+, Windows Phone 8.

Dynamically Changing Sources

Dynamically changing the video is very difficult, and if you want a Flash fallback you will have to remove the video from the DOM/page and re-add it so that Flash will update because Flash will not recognize dynamic updates to Flash vars. If you're going to use JavaScript to change it dynamically, I would completely remove all <source> elements and just use canPlayType to set the src in JavaScript and break or return after the first supported video type and don't forget to dynamically update the flash var mp4. Also, some browsers won't register that you changed the source unless you call video.load(). I believe the issue with .load() you were experiencing can be fixed by first calling video.pause(). Removing and adding video elements can slow down the browser because it continues buffering the removed video, but there's a workaround.

Cross-browser Support

As far as the actual cross-browser portion, I arrived at Video For Everybody as well. I already tried the MediaelementJS Wordpress plugin, which turned out to cause a lot more issues than it resolved. I suspect the issues were due to the Wordpress plug-in and not the actually library. I'm trying to find something that works without JavaScript, if possible. So far, what I've come up with is this plain HTML:

<video width="300" height="150" controls="controls" poster="" class="responsive">
<source src="" type="video/ogg" />
<source src="" type="video/mp4" />
<source src="" type="video/webm" />
<source src="" type="video/mp4" />
<source src="" type="video/mp4" />
<object type="application/x-shockwave-flash" data="" width="561" height="297">
    <param name="movie" value="" />
    <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" />
    <param name="wmode" value="transparent" />
    <param name="flashVars" value="config={'playlist':['',{'url':'','autoPlay':false}]}" />
    <img alt="No Video" src="" width="561" height="297" title="No video playback capabilities, please download the video below" />
<strong>Download video:</strong>  <a href="video.mp4">MP4 format</a> | <a href="video.ogv">Ogg format</a> | <a href="video.webm">WebM format</a>

Important notes:

  • Ended up putting the ogg as the first <source> because Mac OS Firefox quits trying to play the video if it encounters an MP4 as the first <source>.
  • The correct MIME types are important .ogv files should be video/ogg, not video/ogv
  • If you have HD video, the best transcoder I've found for HD quality OGG files is Firefogg
  • The .iphone.mp4 file is for iPhone 4+ which will only play videos that are MPEG-4 with H.264 Baseline 3 Video and AAC audio. The best transcoder I found for that format is Handbrake, using the iPhone & iPod Touch preset will work on iPhone 4+, but to get iPhone 3GS to work you need to use the iPod preset which has much lower resolution which I added as video.iphone3g.mp4.
  • In the future we will be able to use a media attribute on the <source> elements to target mobile devices with media queries, but right now the older Apple and Android devices don't support it well enough.


  • I'm still using Video For Everybody but now I've transitioned to using FlowPlayer, to control the Flash fallback, which has an awesome JavaScript API that can be used to control it.

I have a similar web app and am not facing that sort of problem at all. What i do is something like this:

var sources = new Array();

sources[0] = /path/to/file.mp4
sources[1] = /path/to/another/file.ogg

then when i want to change the sources i have a function that does something like this:

this.loadTrack = function(track){
var mediaSource = document.getElementsByTagName('source')[0];
mediaSource.src = sources[track];

    var player = document.getElementsByTagName('video')[0];


I do this so that the user can make their way through a playlist, but you could check for userAgent and then load the appropriate file that way. I tried using multiple source tags like everyone on the internet suggested, but i found it much cleaner, and much more reliable to manipulate the src attribute of a single source tag. The code above was written from memory, so i may have glossed over some of hte details, but the general idea is to dynamically change the src attribute of the source tag using javascript, when appropriate.

Try moving the OGG source to the top. I've noticed Firefox sometimes gets confused and stops the player when the one it wants to play, OGG, isn't first.

Worth a try.

Using JavaScript and jQuery:

<script src="js/jquery.js"></script>
<video id="vid" width="1280" height="720" src="v/myvideo01.mp4" controls autoplay></video>
function chVid(vid) {
<div onclick="chVid('v/myvideo02.mp4')">See my video #2!</div>

Another way you can do in Jquery.


<video id="videoclip" controls="controls" poster="" title="Video title">
    <source id="mp4video" src="video/bigbunny.mp4" type="video/mp4"  />

<div class="list-item">
         <li class="item" data-video = "video/bigbunny.mp4"><a href="javascript:void(0)">Big Bunny.</a></li>


$(".list-item").find(".item").on("click", function() {
        let videoData = $(this).data("video");
        let videoSource = $("#videoclip").find("#mp4video");
        videoSource.attr("src", videoData);
        let autoplayVideo = $("#videoclip").get(0);