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mp4 using flash & website load question

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Chris Blair
mp4 using flash & website load question
on Aug 1, 2009 at 11:15:12 pm

We've recently compressed hundreds of television shows for an overseas client. There was a LOT of testing back and forth between us and the client's 3rd party designer of their web player interface.

Most of the programs are 30 minutes in length, and the client is in a part of the world where internet connections, while common, are often slower than speeds here in the U.S.

The client is also a non-profit and so they're building this video channel as cheaply as they can. So they're using Amazon's S3 server for hosting their videos. From all I've read, it's not really optimized for serving video (although a LOT of non-profits use it for that), and in some of our tests it was pretty slow.

We settled on using 320x240 at 25fps using H264 using VBR encoded at 250 minimum and 350 maximum & mono audio at 64kb/sec using AAC. All videos were encoded in Carbon Coder. The videos play flawlessly, without any pausing or buffering.

Ok...here's the problem. Now that the site is ready to launch, the web designer has gotten the client all worried by telling him there's something wrong with the encoding of our videos because they take anywhere from 3 to 5 seconds to load and start playing (depending on the time of day, the speed of your internet connection, and a whole host of other factors). We tested the videos extensively on our own servers AND Amazon's, and found that the load times on Amazon vary even more depending on the same factors noted above. Sometims taking 9-10 seconds to load and play. But, in other tests using our web servers...the videos loaded consistently within 2-4 seconds. I might add that this lowly webhost is certainly not designed to host video content.

We've checked the videos for problems, like the moov atom being in the wrong place or metadata being at the end of the file, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with the video files. So...my question...is 3-4 seconds load time excessive for a 30 minute video using H264 inside a flash player interface and being hosted on a web server not really designed for video hosting?

Thanks for any input here. As an aside, if I load these videos into Quicktime (when it's open), it takes about 3-5 seconds for Quicktime to load the video from hard drive before it begins playback. So I don't see how someone can think that taking 3-4 seconds to load and play a 30 minute video from the web is long. In our tests, we set the buffer length (using JWPlayer) at 4 seconds, and again, we consistently saw the videos load and play within 2-4 seconds.

Thanks in advance.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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Daniel Low
Re: mp4 using flash & website load question
on Aug 2, 2009 at 2:53:59 pm

[Chris Blair] "So...my question...is 3-4 seconds load time excessive for a 30 minute video using H264 inside a flash player interface and being hosted on a web server not really designed for video hosting? "

Certainly not excessive at all. I'd be perfectly happy with that.


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There are no significant bugs in our released software that any significant number of users want fixed. … I'm saying we don't do a new version to fix bugs. We don't. Not enough people would buy it. You can take a hundred people using Microsoft Word. Call them up and say "Would you buy a new version because of bugs?" You won't get a single person to say they'd buy a new version because of bugs. We'd never be able to sell a release on that basis.

Bill Gates. Focus Magazine No. 43 (23 October 1995)


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Chris Blair
Re: mp4 using flash & website load question
on Aug 3, 2009 at 1:37:48 am

Thanks...that's what I thought... but I wanted to make sure. Thankfully this client is very savvy and already suggested they didn't think it was long either.

Chris Blair
Magnetic Image, Inc.
Evansville, IN
http://www.videomi.com


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