Which audio / video formats?

Discussion in 'HTML' started by James Hutton, Apr 8, 2007.

  1. James Hutton

    James Hutton Guest

    I'm building a day by day history page, and I've managed to get hold of
    several audio and video clips from the time. (I've already sought
    permission from the copyright holders to host them.) Some of these are a
    simple <embed> of youtube videos, however there are also several
    multi-mB .mp3 files and video files currently in .mpg and .wmv formats.

    I wonder what the "best" format is, and whether media should be
    streamed, downloaded into a standalone player, or should I be all
    dictatorial and not give the user any choice ;-) !

    I realise there will be no right or wrong answer, but I'd like to please
    "most of the people, most of the time."

    James Hutton, Apr 8, 2007
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  2. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    As mpeg is supported on most platforms and is well suited for streaming, I do
    recommend it strongly, of course it will be larger than "divx" files, which
    are less suited for streaming, specially on microsoft systems.

    For audio mp3 is quite common, but there are operating systems that do not
    include support for it due shady licenses, so ogg may be a better option,
    which gives you better quality if you have the original audio in raw format
    (converting mp3->ogg won't make the audio better).

    Then you should ditch any thought about wmv and wma formats as those are not
    open formats and limited more or less to one operating system.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 8, 2007
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  3. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    If you include only one format for video, then use the modern flv/swf
    method. The reason is that more computers will play flash than any
    other format. You can now use anything from very low to very high
    resolution depending on the quality of the source video and the
    intended audience. Moreover, you do not need a full set of swf
    software, which is rather expensive. I use a program that costs about
    US$50. to convert from most usual video formats to the flv(flash
    video) and swf(small swf container file for the flv ). The flv/swf
    method is now being widely used by major video sites including Google,
    YouTube, MySpace, and major news sites because of the mentioned
    advantage. It also is possible to use this method for a audio only
    file. Of course nearly everyone also can play mp3 audio. If you go
    this route, you can gain much better quality at low bit rate if you
    use the relatively new professional mp3 encoder. It does not require
    any special software to play back and works on all mp3 players of
    which I am aware.

    There are plenty of other video formats you can use. See examples of
    15 formats at my page at http://www.cwdjr.info/video_extreme/VideoZoo.php
    .. These videos are designed for very high quality in most cases and
    require a good broadband connection to stream without undue buffering
    time, but of course most of them can be encoded at much lower bit rate
    with loss of resolution.
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 8, 2007
  4. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    Thats quite untrue, even if there is an opensource project for a flash player,
    it do not play flash well and official flash player supports only x86
    machines. Mpeg is a lot more supported format and could even be played on a
    Commodore C64.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 8, 2007
  5. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    Mpeg is the format often used for capturing video to a HD. However for
    streaming by either progressive download or a dedicated streaming
    server, it seems to be little used by major video sites. Many other
    formats give better results for streaming at the much lower bit rates
    often used for video on the web. Of course the best format to use
    would be a vob as used on a DVD. A vob is just a special mpeg format,
    but to use it on the web would require over 10Mbps, so it is seldom
    used. The recent surveys of what video on the web can be played by
    computers that I have seen indicate that flash is the most often
    playable. Also wmv often is used, likely because there are so many
    Microsoft OS computers, and the WMP usually comes pre-installed on
    them. Open source is of no importance for the flash viewer, since the
    flash player is free and even installed on most computers sold in
    recent years. One does not have to use the full flash authoring
    software for authoring much video, and there are several limited flash
    encoders for this for those who have no need for the full flash
    authoring suite. The results using such encoders are more than
    adequate. The flv/swf example I show on the VideoZoo page is of about
    the same quality as the better of the other video formats encoded at
    about the same file size. The use of flv/swf format instead of the
    older swf format for video has many advantages. Of course basic swf is
    used for many other things than videos.
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 8, 2007
  6. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    "Major" video sites don't care about other users than microsoft users.

    And those are more often closed source formats, that are supported on a
    limited amount of platforms and looking at flash videos, they usualy aren't
    much better than mpeg1 when it comes to quality.

    I can from my own experience tell that only one of my computers can play
    natively play flash and use the closed source player, but all my computers
    uses the same operating system. All of them can play mpeg natively.

    If I don't recall it wrong, flash isn't by default installed on a microsoft
    installation, you need to download it. And still, the closed source flash
    player do not support many platforms.

    No matter that you can use flash for other things than just video, it's poorly
    supported format compared to mpeg. There are many places where active
    movements away from microsoft is done and alternative architectures are used,
    and there are manufacturers who pre-installs open source operating systems on
    all their desktop computers (when looking at the server market, it's been like
    this for a long time, but those machines are seldom used to surf the net).
    Just assuming that everyone else can use flash is a bad assumption, even if
    you and all your friends uses microsoft.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 8, 2007
  7. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    You do seem to have a limited conception of how modern streaming video
    works on the actual web today, and it is a waste of time to continue a
    discussion with you. Flash support has nothing to do with if you use a
    Microsoft system or many other ones. You can install free flash
    players on many OSs. In contrast, the WMP can be installed on only
    Microsoft and some Mac OSs. This likely is one reason that there has
    been some movement away from .wmv to flv/swf on many major sites.
    There are very good reasons why mpeg is not usually used for streaming
    video, one of which I mentioned earlier. Google and many other
    streaming video sites do not employ idiots for programmers, and they
    are interested in reaching the largest audience that might be
    interested in their videos. All video streamed on the web is a
    compromise, unless you aim it only for the very few who have a direct
    fiber optics connection that will support over 10Mbps, and even 2 or 3
    times that if you wish to use the newer HDTV formats. What may be the
    best streaming format for a desktop computer may not be best for some
    other device. For example, some of the formats listed in the VideoZoo
    are designed for various mobile and cell phone applications that use a
    small screen and can support only very limited bandwidth. In contrast,
    if you are providing videos to download to the computer to keep, you
    can use anything you wish, although the download time could be huge
    indeed if you use say a DVD quality .vob file format. A typical DVD
    movie many run 4 to 8 GB, and that is a very long download on even a
    5+ Mbps DSL or cable connection.
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 8, 2007
  8. James Hutton

    James Hutton Guest

    Noting all the responses (thanks) what about quicktime?

    (Runs for cover!)

    James Hutton, Apr 8, 2007
  9. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    Quicktime .mov will work fine too. See the example in VideoZoo.
    However a QT .mov will not stream as encoded by most encoders. The
    QT .mov must be "hinted" to stream. The most simple way to hint
    the .mov is upgrade from the free to pay professional version of the
    QT player. If you import a .mov or certain other formats to the QT pro
    and then export it somewhere to store, it is automatically "hinted" to
    stream. Note that once hinted, th QT movie will stream on either the
    free or pay QT player, so you need not be concerned what kind of QT
    player the viewing browser has. The main disadvantage I see on the web
    is that there are fewer QT players installed on computers than are
    flash or WMP players.

    If you are encoding and editing your own media for local use or for
    conversion to a format for the web, you usually must have a Windows or
    MAC OS. The reason is that many such programs often are produced by
    specialist companies, and the number of such, sometimes expensive,
    programs sold is small. The companies just can not justify making
    programs for low usage OSs. Of course anyone doing very extensive
    media work likely will have more than one computer, and the one you
    have with a Windows or Mac OS can be used only offline, if desired.
    Likely the only reason that some of these programs are available for
    Mac is that many Hollywood movie technical people love Mac, and want
    nothing else.
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 8, 2007
  10. James Hutton

    dorayme Guest

    Wonderful clip there of can can scene! Do you have any
    recommendations for an online tute about the technique you
    mention of using Flash to present movies? Perhaps my technique of
    the last few years is a little primitive: I present a link and
    tell them to get Quicktime if they are have any trouble...
    dorayme, Apr 8, 2007
  11. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    I do not call 3 operating systems as many, and only one has at this moment
    support for more than one architecture (OSX PowerPC will be most likely be
    dropped at next release).

    No flash player for *BSD, Linux PowerPC, OpenSolaris or QNX users (there are
    quite many other operating systems, but those are the most common or the minor

    Still many of those examples are based on mpeg.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 9, 2007
  12. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    QT is better supported, but has still some troubles when not using the
    software from apple, mpeg still has a broader support (you find some
    variations of mpeg at VideoZoo).
    J.O. Aho, Apr 9, 2007
  13. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    How you code for flv/swf will depend on what software you use. If you
    have a recent full official flash authoring suite, you likely have
    everything you need. However I, and likely many others, have no need
    for most of the features of this expensive software because I do not
    make elaborate flash ads and such. There are several programs of
    reasonable price now for encoding flv/swf videos. I suggest you try
    Flash Video MX that can be downloaded for free from http://www.flash-video-mx.com
    .. It puts a watermark on your video until and if you buy the program.
    Input video formats can include avi, mpeg, wmv, mov, rm, rmvb, 3gp,
    mp4, asf, ram, mpe. I find it also can use .vob DVD standard files if
    you select to show all files when you browse to find the video file
    you want to encode. There are the usual size, bit rate, frame rate,
    etc settings that most video encoders have. There are limited editing
    procedures. You can select to encode to flv/swf or just old fashioned
    swf. If you select for encoding to flv/swf only, you get 2 output
    files, the flv and the swf. These files should always be put in the
    same directory on you web site and should not be renamed. You only
    refer to the swf in your page code. The swf is just a small byte size
    container that might contain controls, logos, and the like. It is
    automatically internally coded to call the flv created at the same
    time it was.

    When you play back a flv/swf video from the web, you usually will not
    see an address for the flv. However if you clear the browser temporary
    cache and then play the video, you should then change nothing and go
    to the browser temporary cache where you will find the flv and the
    swf. Sometimes the flv is named with another extension, but then you
    just rename it flv after you save it. It is easy to spot, because it
    is a very large file. The browser temporary cache can be a bit of a
    chore to view on some browsers, and you may have to turn on some
    hidden files to navigate there. I find it most easy to do for the
    Opera browser. There are now several programs for extraction of flv
    videos from such sites as Google, YouTube, etc for those who do not
    want to go to the trouble of going to the temporary cache. There also
    are several free flv players now for a bare flv without the swf
    container file.
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 9, 2007
  14. James Hutton

    dorayme Guest

    I have access to Flash MX 2004 for Mac, is this not recent
    enough? In any case, if it is $50 or so to get the bit that is
    needed (you mentioned this figure), this would not be a problem
    for me. It would be well worth it to deliver movies in some style
    and with a lesser chance of perplexity by the user. I will
    understand more when I have actually done this thing, what I get
    must be OS X Mac compatible. I am looking at the page you mention
    etc and I am not immediately seeing anything about Mac OS X...
    but I will keep looking ...

    Thank you for your suggestions, it will encourage me.
    dorayme, Apr 9, 2007
  15. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    There been a move by quite many OSX users to Linux PowerPC, as the support for
    the older architecture does lessen for each day, without dual booting, the
    users won't be able to watch flash movies.

    Linux PowerPC is the next largest GNU/Linux architecture, but the architecture
    which has had the most active developers and still not supported by
    adobe/macromedia, even if there have been end users requesting for support for
    quite many years.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 9, 2007
  16. I realise there will be no right or wrong answer, but I'd like to please
    For maximum compatibility and control, your best choice is Flash. For
    video it takes an extra step of encoding to FLV format, but in the
    long run there are more people that will have the ability to see and
    hear your media.
    Travis Newbury, Apr 9, 2007
  17. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    Why do people think flash is a good choice from compatibility point of view,
    adobe supports 3 operating systems, but only in two architectures for one of
    the operating systems (one will be dropped) and the two other operating
    systems only in one architecture (even if both has been released to a good
    number of architectures).

    Sure there is a open source flash player (hardly supports flash4), but it's
    still have years to go before it's on the same level as todays flash players,
    but at that point todays adobe flash player will be obsolete and replaced with
    one with features that makes no one will be releasing anything working for

    Just looking at flash player 9, it don't support transparency in all the
    operating systems it has been released for, one site that works for flash 9 in
    one operating system don't work in another. If wanting as broad user base as
    J.O. Aho, Apr 9, 2007
  18. James Hutton

    cwdjrxyz Guest

    As I said in an earlier reply in this thread, many of the specialist
    programs for writing media files are available only for Windows and
    often for Mac- but not always. You absolutely must have a Windows OS
    computer for using some of these specialized programs. That is just
    how the world is, and it just does not pay for a company to write
    specialized programs of limited sales for OSs that are not used nearly
    as much as Windows, and sometimes even MAC. However, once you have
    encoded your media files, they will work just fine on web pages viewed
    using any OSs that will support a player for the type of media you
    cwdjrxyz, Apr 9, 2007
  19. James Hutton

    J.O. Aho Guest

    Many developers choose to use development environments that is locked to one
    and only one operating system, if instead picking an environment that has been
    developed for a multiple operating systems in mind, they will be able with
    minor or some cases none code change get the program to work under multiple
    operating systems, including all the binaries on a CD will not be a problem.
    J.O. Aho, Apr 9, 2007
  20. Well I think they (adobe and Flash 9) have covered a greater majority
    of OS's and browsers than any other single medium

    Microsoft® Windows® Vista Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, Firefox
    1.5, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x or later

    Microsoft Windows 98
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape
    7.x or later, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later

    Windows Me
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape
    7.x or later, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later

    Windows 2000
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape
    7.x or later, CompuServe 7, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later

    Windows XP
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 or later, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x,
    Netscape 7.x or later, CompuServe 7, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later

    Windows Serverâ„¢ 2003
    Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0, Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape
    7.x or later, CompuServe 7, AOL 9, Opera 7.11 or later

    Mac OS X v.10.1.x, 10.2.x, 10.3.x, or 10.4.x (PowerPC)
    Firefox 1.x, Mozilla 1.x, Netscape 7.x or later, AOL for Mac OS X,
    Opera 6, Safari 1.x or later

    Mac OS X v.10.4.x (Intel)
    Firefox or later, Opera 6, Safari 2.x or later

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 3 update 8, RHEL 4 update 4 (AS/ES/WS)
    Firefox and higher; Mozilla 1.7.x and higher; SeaMonkey 1.0.5
    and higher

    Novell SUSE 9.x or 10.1
    Firefox and higher; Mozilla 1.7.x and higher; SeaMonkey 1.0.5
    and higher

    Not to mention NO other media player gives you the ability to interact
    with your media the way Flash does. If they did, then all the multi
    media sites would be turning to that rather than Flash. And the trend
    to move to Flash video is apparent to everyone that watches the
    Travis Newbury, Apr 9, 2007
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