An Overview of Audio and Video Transcoding

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This post will try to peel away some of the layers of confusion surrounding media conversion by describing how media are stored, why you might want to convert from one format to another, and tools you can use to do it.

Safari & Quicktime are not Web Standards

To call HTML5 Video a hype would be an understatement. Every week, major tech companies announce improved support or new breakthroughs. Literally hundreds of new blogposts a day pop up on Google’s blog search. In this debate, no company is as vocal as Apple.

The company’s latest move is the release of an HTML5 showcase that includes a video demo featuring the capabilities of web standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. This effort, while exciting, is misleading and potentially detrimental to the landscape of web development and browser compatibilities. The demo is definitely inspiring and helps to move HTML5 Video along at a fast clip. At the same time though, none of the cool gizmos on this page are actually web standards. Instead, they are specific functionalities found in Apple’s Safari/Quicktime product stack (which is why access is restricted to Safari). A breakdown:

The Video

JW Player 5.2 Introduces New Skinning Features

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We're pleased to announce the release of the JW Player for Flash Version 5.2.  One of the JW Player's strongest features is its flexible skinning model.  Our focus for JW5.2 has been on improving on its XML/PNG skinning abilities.

We've also fixed over 30 discrete bugs, and added a number of performance and feature enhancements.

Promoting Your Products with Video

Update: JW7 is now released! Check it out here.

Many of our customers use video as a means of showcasing their products.  Whether a website’s purpose is to sell t-shirts or network routers, video creates an interactive and engaging experience for users to learn about the benefits of the product.   Combine video with the reach of the world wide web, and you have an effective viral marketing campaign.  But beyond describing the virtues of what you’re selling, you’ll actually want to sell it.

That’s where Adtonomy Text can be of assistance.  Designed to run overlay text ads during video playback, Adtonomy Text is ideally suited to display a call-to-action while a user is engaged in learning about your product.  Here is an example using a video that promotes our Bits on the Run product and text overlay ads encouraging the user to sign-up.

Introducing the JW Player for HTML5

Today, we're pleased to announce the beta release of the JW Player for HTML5. The JW Player for HTML5 leverages new technology within modern web browsers to playback video without the need for plugins or addons. This has the potential to improve both user experience and performance, especially as browsers begin to take advantage of the hardware-based video decoding available on most devices.

That having been said, no browser on the market today has the extensive playback capability of the JW Player for Flash. For that reason, we've built in a seamless fallback for those viewers who can't take advantage of these improvements.

HTML5 Video: Not Quite There Yet

Online video is an exciting field to work in.  As creator of the JW Player, I'm privileged to be at the forefront of the industry.  Every week, our team receives thousands of emails from web developers regarding various bug reports, product feature requests and general thoughts about the online video space. In these emails, we've seen a growing interest in HTML5, since its video implementation allows web developers to independently control video content.

So Have You Heard About Bits on the Run?

Bits on the Run is the newest addition to our family of products; an easy to use and affordable online video platform for streaming, hosting, and transcoding. The cool thing about Bits on the Run is that you can actually access all functionalities through our API, allowing you to build video transcoding, management and streaming capabilities in your own site or CMS.  

Already serving thousands of customers, Bits on the Run is fully compatible with the JW Player and provides Web Publishers with affordable and flexible video publishing tools. Some of the most exciting features (in our opinion) are: 

LongTail Video Merges with Bits on the Run

We are very pleased to announce that LongTail Video has merged with our long-time partner, Bits on the Run!  View the official press release here.

Since our founding, LongTail Video has focused on providing simple, easy-to-use solutions for publishers seeking to publish and monetize their video online.  With the help and support of our community, our products - which include the JW Player, the AdSolution, and AddOns - have gained tremendous traction in the market and are actively used on over a million web sites.