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flv and mp4 disagreement

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Chris Blair
flv and mp4 disagreement
on Aug 27, 2009 at 3:07:30 am

We have a non-profit client that's building a pretty big video based religious website. We agreed to encode hundreds of program length videos for their site at a very good rate, and we've provided lots of freebie advice on web video playback, opinions about the web and video player design, and we're helping them setup a Cloudfront account on Amazon's S3 server etc. (mostly for free)

The client is GREAT to work with...but the issue is this. The company that's designing their video player interface keeps insisting that using .flv's is better than using H264/mp4 files for playback. Their reasoning? FLV's load faster and our mp4 files are causing slow load times in the video player. They also continually suggest to the client that our encoding is bad. They don't give specifics of what "bad" is.

I'm not even sure what my question is except, is there ANYTHING in the encoding of an H264/mp4 file (average of 350kb/sec) that could cause slow load and startup in a flash player?

We tried but cannot duplicate what the web programmer is claiming so I'm turning here to make sure I don't make claims to the client that aren't true. We tested dozens of formats and codec combinations with these guys before they built the player page. FLVs were included in the tests and while we pushed for mp4, we let them decide what to use. We even tested our files on our crappy, slow web server along with the designer's own flavor of flv encoded files. We used JWPlayer for the player and the mp4 files loaded consistently in 3-4 seconds, the flv's a little faster. But playback performance was identical. Ours played great, the programmer's flv's stuttered and paused and buffered.

As I said, the sizes of our encoded files are tiny (350kb/s avg). They are almost all talking head based shows and they look very good at that rate. The flv files were twice that size and looked worse, and in tests they would occasionally pause and buffer playing from Amazon's S3 server (which the client is using). The mp4 files play continuously with no buffering.

Any feedback is appreciated.

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


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