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Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by blaklaybul, Feb 5, 2008.
Im setting up a web page but I wish to know which video format I should use.
I'd recommend using MOVs and encoding them using the H.264 codec. Almost everyone has QuickTime on Windows since a majority of people on Windows also use iTunes, which includes QuickTime.
wmv, or mov
most people now own quicktime or flip for mac
Flash is probably the most universal and the easiest for people to "upgrade" if they have an out of date version.
If you use .wmv, then you have to use WMV 9 or older. Nothing on the Mac plays WMV 10 or WMV 11. There are certain groups of Mac users who have Flip4Mac installed, but I seriously doubt that they constitute a majority of Mac users. However, virtually every computer user can play .mpg out-of-the-box.
Flash would be the format to reach the widest cross platform audience, saying that I use H.264 but in terms of a wider audience for QT I'd choose MP4 - simply for webpage compatibility cross platform and certainly windows users tend not to update their software that often.
I know a few windows users who can't view the H.264 Quicktime files on my website.
And .wmv is a sin of webdesign!
Microsoft began endorsing it about three years ago when they discontinued their own version of WMP. I would think that more people are using it now.
I always prefer QuickTime.
Flash: almost universal compatibility and great quality
MPEG-1: universal compatibility, low quality
MPEG-2: poor compatibility, good quality
MPEG-4: moderate to good compatibility, good quality
h.264 (MPEG-4 variant): moderate compatibility, good quality
WMV: good compatibility, moderate to good quality
Most people on this forum know the history quite well. However, we are a teeny-tiny minority of Mac users.
Almost any tech help section of major websites that use WMV or WMA now encourage people to download Flip4Mac.
And what percentage of users go to tech websites? And of those, what percentage go there for video viewing issues?
No, you're misreading my statement. Please look at it more closely.
I'm talking about the video tech support section of a video segment section of a website of any topic, not just tech websites.
EDIT: For example, CNN.com Live Video endorses Mac uses to download Flip4Mac. The linked page is what I'm referring to as the tech support section as it provides support and other information on how to get CNN.com Live to work properly.
Good for CNN.com. However, it is in the clear minority. The vast majority of websites that feature video only tell users which video format they are using, if that much. If their video doesn't play on your system, then you are SOL.
A lot of times, sites usually include links to download or upgrade the latest player.
what about .mov or .avi?
.mov/.avi says nothing about the encoding of the video in question. Those are just container formats, which can hold many streams of video and audio encoded in various formats.
.AVI is a decrepit VfW container that really needs to be taken out back and shot. It's definitely not a good choice for streaming media on a webpage, since it was never designed for that purpose.
.MOV is of course the QuickTime container, which is great as long as the person viewing your site has QuickTime installed. Some Windows users don't, but a lot do. The question of which video codec you should use within a QuickTime MOV is another question entirely (I'd encourage H.264).
.MP4 (with H.264 video and AAC audio) is probably a good bet. QuickTime can play it, and I believe Windows Media Player can as well (since Zune and the Xbox 360 support these formats).
Frankly though, MOST people have Flash installed, so a Flash video (.flv) would probably be the best way to go for the widest compatibility.
.wmv would be a bad idea. Flash or quicktime is the way to go.
And yes, I agree that the percentage of Mac users with Flip4Mac is probably way, way, wayyy lower than the percentage of Macrumors users who have it.
I would use either Flash 8 (VP6 codec) or Flash 9 Update 3 (H.264 codec). Although QuickTime (H.263 or H.264) runs beautiful on Mac, many folks still do not have it installed (or particularly beloved) on Windows PC.
I think it's a mistake to tag "poor/good/great quality" with any particular codec. Although efficiency of codecs play large role in outcome, it is more important to choose the right encoder and settings. If you want smallest possible file size at decent output quality, Flash 9 Update 3 (H.264) is probably the way to go. But most people have older version of Flash installed, so I would go with VP6.