Playing sound from INACTIVE browser tab

I have a control panel for restaurants and it plays an alert sound when an order is given. The problem is that when the control panel tab is not the active tab in Chrome (it’s also same for Firefox) the alert sound doesn’t play. After clicking the tab it plays the sound.

I see some sites (Facebook Chat, Cloudstats.me server alert, …) play sound even if they are in inactive tab, so what is the workaround for this problem?

Answer

Had a similar thing happen to me as well, we were trying to play a marketclock when the stock market opened and closed for the day. The issue we had was we tried to load the mp3 then play it when the condition is met. So originally I had.

var bell;

// Update the clock, countdown, and tooltips as needed.
function updateClock() {
    service.getMarketDate(function(data) {

        if (data.soundMarketBell) {
            if (!bell) {
                bell = new Audio('/sounds/marketclock.mp3');
            }
            bell.play();
        }
    });
}

var intervalId = $interval(updateClock, 1000);

By moving the resource loading to happen on page load and then just calling the Audio.play it fixed the issue

var bell = new Audio('/sounds/marketclock.mp3');

// Update the clock, countdown, and tooltips as needed.
function updateClock() {
    service.getMarketDate(function(data) {
        if (data.soundMarketBell) {
            bell.play();
        }
    });
}

// check for a time update every second
// to balance accuracy with performance
var intervalId = $interval(updateClock, 1000)

Browsers restrict loading resources when a tab is inactive