Device Inputs / A/V in the Browser

Session Type: Working group
Session Category: Open Media Developers
Session Leader: Anant Narayanan (Mozilla)

Day: Saturday
4:00pm – 5:30pm

Session Notes


A/V in the browser is currently mostly a one-way stream, content is served from a site and presented to the user. What if web pages could tap into a user’s local hardware, such as a microphone or webcam?

One of the projects working on a JavaScript API that allows web pages to do this is the Rainbow project from Mozilla for Firefox. Other browsers are also experimenting with such access. We’d like to see this capability evolve to a common standard.

In this session, we’ll:

  • Discuss the challenges involved in implementing device access in the web browser
  • Discuss the privacy and security implications of exposing microphone & webcam access
  • Gather feedback from web developers on what APIs they would like to see the browser implement
  • Come up with a list of use-cases that are reasonable to target for the first iteration of Device/Media APIs
  • Discuss the different approaches that browsers have taken to provide such an API


We aim to build a good understanding of the various issues surrounding device access in the browser, and work towards specifying the different sets of APIs that web developers will find useful to build compelling “two-way” web applications involving the user’s local hardware.

An excellent outcome would be an agreement between different browser vendors on a core set of APIs that should be standardized.