One of the most often asked questions when discussing transcoding is How do I support iPads, iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones?. The goal of this blogpost is to remove some of the mystery behind transcoding for devices and present a solution that will work across a wide range of them.
Many popular video formats, like FLV or WMV, will not play on devices like the iPhone. Even videos encoded in MP4 may not play back, resulting in the following screen:
Error playing video on an iPhone
Doesn't Flash already support hardware acceleration for H.264?
Last week, the W3C held its Second Web & TV Workshop in Berlin. The workshop focused on the convergence of web technology and broadcasting. In other words, how will web and television work together to eventually merge?
Along with sessions on second-screen scenarios and accessibility, the workshops covered adaptive streaming and content protection. Both sessions were very compelling considering that streaming and protection are two important limitations of today's HTML5 video support.
Adaptive Streaming: DASH
Publishing a few on-demand videos can be cheap and simple: just upload the videos to your site and use a tool like the JW Player to embed them on your site. Historically, publishing a live stream has been challenging and a lot more expensive.
The Google Chrome team recently announced it would drop support for the H.264 video codec. Dropping H264 is beneficial for Google in several ways: it may help Google's WebM format gain additional traction in the market and solidifies Google's stance as a supporter of open media formats in the WebM versus H264 debate, as most of Google's other properties (including YouTube) still support H264.
Shortly after the announcement, a truckload of blog posts popped up, explaining the impact this would have on the adoption of WebM over H264. A couple interesting reads:
As you may know, the JW Player has long included support for playing YouTube videos. We did this by integrating YouTube’s ActionScript 2 chromeless player as a JW Player Media Provider, and it has worked well for a number of years. You can see an example of it below. Recently, YouTube made a change to their AS2 chromeless player that affects our ability to support all YouTube videos. This change was announced last October and just went into effect. In short, if you embed a video that YouTube and/or their partners consider monetizable, then the video won’t play and your users will see an error (see the example below).
A video sitemap is an XML file that tells search engines where videos can be found on a website. It helps search engines understand that it is indeed a video file, what the video content is, and what the technical specifications of the specific video are.
Google recommends that you use video sitemaps for several reasons. First, you can explicitly tell Google which content you wish to be indexed, giving you more control than with an organic search algorithm. Second, and more importantly, video sitemaps allow you to choose how your videos are listed, and define what metadata is most relevant to your video, optimizing search results.
In early 2010, we officially merged with our longtime partner, Bits on the Run. Bits on the Run has gradually moved its content over to longtailvideo.com, assuming a larger presence on our site. We are pleased to announce that Bits on the Run has officially migrated the remaining bitsontherun.com content to longtailvideo.com. Bits Users will notice that they are redirected to LongTail Video's website automatically. All information previously accessed on www.bitsontherun.com is now available on www.longtailvideo.com.
To help ease this transition, below lists where you will find the various Bits on the Run content: