flv files vs. mp4
by Chris Blair on Aug 28, 2009 at 4:22:03 pm
I'm still interested in hearing thoughts on many web designers' preferance for flv over mp4/H264 video. With all the major video sites switching or having already switched to H264, why the seeming preference among web people for flv?
It kind of reminds me of people's reluctance 6-7 years ago to switch from VHS to DVD, and the reluctance today to switch from tape based video delivery to digital FTP delivery. I'm not knocking anyone's preference, but video people have embraced mp4 and web people seem to be running from it. Why?
From what I've found it's because there are tons of variables for mp4 and h.264. You can use many different sub-codecs for the audio and video and hinting is a factor as well to have the h.264 file properly play through the flash player. FLV files are designed for the Flash player and by nature just work.
If you go to http://shorts.creativecow.net/upload you'll see this sites upload instructions are designed for either h.264 or flv. You would be shocked to find how many audio codecs to play and how many times people swear they are doing exactly what the instructions say but their video won't play when using h.264, of course most do play fine but FLV is sooo much more straight forward. If you use FLV it WILL work.
Re: flv files vs. mp4 by Chris Blair on Aug 28, 2009 at 5:43:41 pm
Interesting. I thought for using H264 I had read that Adobe recommended AVC (advanced video codec) for video and AAC for audio.
As far as I know (and I could be wrong), all H264 codecs (Main Concept, Apple, Nero, Lead and others) follow the standards set for H264/AVC so that should be a non-issue. It was designed to be like MPG2 where the specs are pretty tight on the video part of the codec.
Audio could be an issue since you typicaly have a choice of several codecs in encoding apps, but if the file is encoded using AVC and AAC, from everything I've read on Adobe's site and other forums, it should be a non-issue.
I don't recall hinting even being an option in any encoding app I've ever used for doing H264, unless it's called "streaming" which is often an option you can check. But from my reading, that typically just places metadata at the beginning of the file so the player can find it and read it quickly.
I could understand if some of the other encoding options such as profile levels, keyframing, I,B & P frames etc. affect it...but if you stick with AVC for video and AAC for audio, according to Adobe it should work fine.
I just find it interesting that major video sites are using H264 without issue yet there seems to be this reluctance to implement it on smaller sites.
[Chris Blair]"I just find it interesting that major video sites are using H264 without issue yet there seems to be this reluctance to implement it on smaller sites. "
Could have to do with the difference between the way H.264 operates in a streaming server environment vs progressive download or the capabilities of higher end video conversion programs to convert video into the correct format vs open source packages. Video technology on the web is relatively new and the tools to properly implement a full featured system that works with and deals with the problems that arise with the plethora of video codecs isn't fully developed in the open source market.
Money answers all things and if you don't have it, many problems arise trying to accommodate the problems at this point. And believe me there are a lot.