One of the most annoying things on the Internet are auto-playing contents. This can be a video that suddenly starts playing with or without sound, a bright flashy ad that makes you dizzy just by looking at it, or audio-only contents.
Not only can this be highly irritating considering that it is not always clear where audio may be coming from, but also because it is distracting and may impact the load of the system as well.
While click-to-play may be a solution for it, as it blocks all Flash contents by default, it may not be the ideal solution. For one, it does not block HTML5 video contents from being played on sites such as YouTube. For another, it may not reveal information about the content that the site wants to play.
That's where other specialized solutions may step in.
FlashStopper is a free add-on for the Firefox web browser that blocks Flash contents from playing automatically in the browser. While it is all about Flash, it can also block YouTube and Yahoo HTML5 video contents as well.
The add-on depends on the autoplay implementation of sites which means that it may not work on all sites that you try it on. With that being said, it should work on many different sites including some of the most popular sites on the Internet.
When you open a site with autoplaying contents, the add-on will block those before they start to play. When it comes to video, it will display a still thumbnail image of the video in question and a play button which means that you can click on the button to start playback immediately.
While it may be convenient to block auto-playback of Flash and HMTL5 contents on websites, you can customize that for some sites.
If you like to watch videos on YouTube for instance, you can allow the site to autoplay either for the session or until you revoke the permission again.
Another interesting feature of FlashStopper is its proactive blocking functionality. This attempts to modify source code on sites you visit to alter the playback method to make it compatible with the add-on so that it can block autoplay contents.
Last but not least, it is possible to manage all site permissions to revoke them again.
FlashStopper for Firefox is a useful add-on for users of the browser who like more control over auto-playing video contents on the Internet.
While it won't catch them all, it takes care of many that you may be exposed to otherwise.
Is it better than click to play? That depends on how you use the browser and if you prefer to use the blocking of the extension over the plugin blocking. If you require HTML5 video blocking on YouTube or Yahoo, this is the add-on to get for that.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.