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Flash 8 Cookbook by Joey Lott

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18.7. Optimizing Video Playback

Problem

You want to ensure that the user gets the optimal video playback for his computer’s bandwidth.

Solution

Create several Flash Video files (FLV), each with a specific data rate, for each piece of content.

Discussion

As discussed in the previous recipe, publishing several Flash Video files for a wide range of bit rates (or data rates) can enable you to offer your content to just about anyone watching your content. Two important factors to keep in mind with video playback over networks, including the Internet, are:

Delay

Is the user waiting too long for the video content to buffer, or does the video play nearly instantaneously?

Quality

Is the image quality of the content acceptable to the user? Is too much information lost if the image is severely compressed?

Some content can be highly compressed yet retain the information that made video the acceptable medium for communicating the content. For example, the visual of an avatar guiding you through the steps to use an online form doesn’t necessarily need to be a high-quality image—as long as the audio track has sufficient quality to be intelligible by the user. Nor would such video content be conducive to user selection of the data rate—the playback of a video “guide” on a web site should be rather transparent and unobtrusive. Other content, however, may not be able to sacrifice image quality (or user choice) so easily. A movie trailer, for example, is usually watched by avid filmgoers, who appreciate ...

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