I need to export a 1:30 movie from final cut pro for streaming on the web. The intended viewer is a general audience on slow to medium broadband connection. Viewers will be about 75% PC and 25% Mac. Have been very impressed with H264 but wonder whether not enough people have Quicktime 7 or fast enough computer. Please recommend best software to use: H256, Flash8 or WMV9 using Flip4Mac?
Here's my "instant" thoughts although nothing is ever one size fits all.
I'd find WMV9 safest for quality and reach.
Flash8 (if you mean On2 VP6 for example) requires Flash8 (won't work with earlier players) and I'm not that crazy about the quality of the earlier/other Flash codecs for video. They work if you're building that kind of interactivity but I wouldn't use it otherwise. VP6 is good (and slow to encode) though. I'd give it more time for people to update to Flash8 Player before using.
H.264 looks great but requires Quicktime 7. Many people, especially Windows users, have not or will not update to Quicktime 7 though. Some complain of conflicts. Some Windows users abhor Quicktime, some corporate IT environments won't allow it or won't allow the update.
Many people though, who use their computers for entertainment (movie trailers for example) DO have Quicktime 7 (because they're quality junkies) so if that's your target H.264 is good.
I would go with WMV 9 if you have mostly PC users. Mac users tend to be up to date on the latest software for everything, but PC users not necessarily so.
I agree with the comment about IT departments. We often have to convince IT departments to open a port in their firewall to allow streaming video at all, since most of what happens on corporate networks is not multimedia.
Flash is good because you need the updated player, but no external media player. We are using both, and find at this point in time we need to direct people to update their Flash players, but over time this will be less of an issue.