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Thursday, July 24, 2008

QuickTime or Flash ? Who's Better for You?

Right now there is a war going on in online video and it's not a pretty one. It's a war between video players. Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media Player and that other one what's it called? Oh that's right Real Player.

Sure there are other video players out there but these four are real "PLAYERS" in the online video business world.

From my point of view here are the simple benefits of the top four players.

Flash seems to have the biggest distribution (Installed on over 850 million Internet-connected desktops and mobile devices) being the player of choice for YouTube but more than that Flash is also the player of choice for online video Ad Networks because they can show their advertiser real time reports. The quality of flash is great if it's used at it's highest quality but to save bandwidth most sites don't use Flash at a high quality but it's use is getting better but not the best thing to watch on your wide screen HDTV.

QuickTime delivers high quality video and works on the iPods, Apple TV and yes with video sharing apps like mDialog you can even send video to the 3G iPhone.(Disclosure: mDialog is one of my sponsors) You can use QuickTime in your RSS feed and keep your subscribers iTunes full of your latest content. The big problem with QuickTime is that advertising networks don't use it because they don't have real time tracking of the views os RSS feeds.

Windows Media Player is well deployed on PCs and works really well on the Zune but I don't know of (and please correct me if I'm wrong) any ad networks using Windows Media Player to deliver advertising. If I was doing a sponsors episode of a product that was only targeted at PC owners I would definitely use Windows Media Player to distribute my videos.

As far as Real Player goes, I'm at a loss. From what I can tell Real Player is good for partnering with big corporations on "speacial" video projects that take advantage of Real Players network of subscribers. Like getting to watch all the BTS on CBS's Big Brother. Please feel free to help me out on this one. I know there is something great about Real Player but I forgot what it is.

Other videos players are in the mix like Silverlight which is Microsoft's competitor to Flash but I have yet to see traction with these other players.

As a content producer what video players do you like and why do you like them?


Philip said...

The great thing is that, with Flash 9r3 and later you don't have to choose. H.264/AAC MPEG-4 files will play in Flash player if called there. The same file can be accessed via an RSS feed to iTunes/iPod (and even the top two Microsoft Zune models).

One file format to rule them all. Use Flash when easy embedding and fancy interfaces are desirable. Use the QT player/iTunes in the download environment.



1 Tim Street said...

But will Ad Networks ever use this for RSS? If yes, when?

Philip said...

At least they could! RSS feeds often include ads already, and there'd be nothing stopping ads being added to an RSS feed, although they may not be downloaded.

Whether distributed in a Flash player or other player, it's the same H.264/AAC file. That's good news. No need to have two versions of a program.



Todd said...

I have been using the VLC a lot lately, works great for viewing and encoding on the fly.


My biggest problem with the space I am in is there is no simple way for people to index and search the text based equivalent of videos content. Google made a small contribution with their new speech-to-text, but its only for political videos, not available to everyone.


Format wars benefit no one. Opt-out. Do not participate.

Philip said...

Todd, I guess that's why Adobe are adding automatic transcription to a future version of Flash.