What Is It?

Videograms are self-contained emails that combine graphics, audio and video content into a compact HTML file that can be played back on any Windows or Macintosh PC. Other than a browser containing a Java Virtual Machine, no special hardware or software is required to play back the Videogram.

Using proprietary compression techniques, the entire content of the web page is enclosed in the HTML file except for the Java applets. And since the Java applets are so small (less than 15KB), the latest versions of the players can be downloaded in seconds over the Internet when the user wants to play the Videogram.

How Videograms Work

Videograms are made from previously recorded video or from video captured using Alaris’ Videogram Creator software. The audio and video data is encoded by the Videogram Creator software into a self contained HTML file. When viewed, the HTML file looks just like a normal web page with a video window where the encoded video is played back. The video clip starts playing immediately when the HTML file is opened.

Videograms are played back by very small Java applets that are automatically downloaded over the Internet. The Java applets are so small (less than 15KB for both the audio and video players) that they load in seconds over any Internet connection. There is no separate download and software installation process. And because the audio and video playback is done by Java applets that cannot access your computer’s hard disk or other local resources, Videograms are a highly secure way to deliver video messages.

You can download a free demonstration copy of Alaris’ Videogram Creator software at and make your own Videograms. Or go to to get more information on the LittleBits technology behind Videograms.

Advantages of Videograms

  • Highly Secure – Videograms use Java applets to play back the audio and video data. The Java applets are limited by the security features of the Java Virtual Machine and your browser and have no access to local resources including the hard disk and other local data. Videograms are therefore just as secure as the Java Virtual Machine loaded on your PC.
  • Works on Macintosh & Windows PC’s – The same Videogram will play on a Macintosh or a Windows PC. Since the Videogram uses Java applets to play back, cross platform compatibility is ensured.
  • Simple to Use – There is no separate software to download or install before you can view a Videogram. When a Videogram is received, you just open the file as a web page and the audio and video content starts playing immediately. Users don’t need to know anything about video files, Media Players or complex download and installation procedures. With Videograms, users can feel secure that the Videogram email cannot access his computer and will not alter anything in his system.
  • Small Size – Videogram files are very small when compared to the original data or other methods of encoding video. Typically, excellent quality video can be encoded at less than one megabyte per minute of audio and video data.
  • Excellent Quality – Videograms can encode and play back video at a full 30 frames per second and at resolutions up to 320x240. In side by side comparisons, we have found that Videograms compressed with LittleBits codecs surpass other solutions in both quality, frame rate and file size.
  • Video Stored Locally – Videograms are delivered complete except for the small Java applets (typically less than 15KB). Recipients do not have to download the video data each time it is played back.
  • Requires Only Browser with Java Virtual Machine – Videograms require that the recipient’s PC contain a browser with a Java Virtual Machine (1.x to 2.x). This requirement is satisfied by most Windows PC’s and all Macintoshs (although Microsoft is not shipping the Java Virtual Machine with Windows XP, most OEM’s are bundling the Java Virtual Machine from Sun on machines that ship with Windows XP). Alternatively, users can eliminate the need of the Java applets by downloading an ActiveX player on Windows PC’s or the Quicktime plug-in on Macintosh’s.

Viewing a Videogram

Videograms are designed to play back like any other web page. All you need is a browser (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.) with the Java Virtual Machine enabled. Since Videograms are delivered as HTML files, double-clicking on the file will launch your default browser if it is not already open and the Videogram will start playing back immediately in a new browser window.

If You Have Problems Viewing a Videogram

Videograms require web access to play using the standard Java applets. If you do not see any video, it may be due to your browser’s inability to get the Java applets or your browser may not have the Java Virtual Machine installed.

To play the Videogram without the Java applets, you can download the ActiveX player if you are using a Windows PC or the Quicktime plug-in if you are using a Macintosh. The ActiveX player and Quicktime plug-in are very small and will only take a few minutes to download and install in your computer.

If you have a Windows PC:
Download ActiveX Videogram Player

If you have a Macintosh:

Download Quicktime Plug-in

Other Miscellaneous

What makes a Videogram different than sending a AVI or MOV file? What about other video email and video streaming solutions?

In some cases, videos encoded at the maximum resolution will require the ActiveX player. Playback quality is highly dependent upon the performance of the Java VM on the recipient’s PC.


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