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Programming the Mobile Web by Maximiliano Firtman

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Multimedia and Streaming

Serving audio and video content to mobile devices is very important for many portals and content providers. Unfortunately, there are so many formats and distribution methods and the landscape is changing so fast that it’s difficult to provide up-to-date information in this book.

We can provide multimedia content in three formats:

  • Downloadable content

  • On-demand streaming content

  • Live streaming content

For downloadable content, there are many formats and codecs that we can use. Not all devices support all of them, so we should check the documentation for our target devices or use WURFL properties to check for support on the fly.

Video and audio files come with two technologies: a container format and one or more codecs inside. The most compatible container formats for mobile devices are 3GP and 3GP2, created by the 3GPP organization (formed with 3G companies). They are very similar to the MPEG-4 (MP4) format, so many devices support both.

There are also devices with support for MPEG, Flash Video, AVI, Real Audio, Real Video, MOV, and Windows Media Audio/Video containers. Most devices support the H.263 and H.264 codecs.

In the audio world, the most standard formats today are MP3 and MIDI, but some devices also support MP4, Real Audio, WAV, AAC, and other audio formats.

Delivering Multimedia Content

If we want to deliver multimedia content, we need to first look at the Accept header or WURFL properties to determine whether the device supports the format we’re using. If ...

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