Streaming FLV videos #1

November 25, 2008 by Samantha Halfon · 2 Comments
Filed under: Computing, Internet 

Adobe Flash Player logoAs we were building our website for World Wide Angle these past two weeks, we looked at the available solutions to show videos online. It didn’t take long for us to pick flash as a format for three main reasons:

  1. Since Adobe Flash 9, the quality of the FLV video has increased while the file size drastically decreased makin it easier to share this format online
  2. Adobe Flash player is widely accepted and installed on about 95% of the computers in the world and run on the most mainstream systems: Windows, Mac and Linux
  3. Adobe Flash is supported on more and more handheld devices

I’m not sure it’s a reason but the FLV format was also chosen by video sharing platforms like youTube and DailyMotion.

The second step was to choose which player to use. We wanted a good looking and an easy to use interface. We wanted the possibility to display a list of available videos and possibly some information about them. We also wanted the interface to be customizable if possible. And, as I like to look at the code a bit (can’t learn too much), I was leaning toward an open source solution. After some research, we elected the JWPlayer which claims to be the most used video player on the Internet.

What can you do with the JWPlayer:

  • easily place your videos online (the jwplayer site offers a wizard to get you started)
  • customize the size about your player
  • customize the controls
  • add a logo to your player
  • enable or not the autostart of the video playback
  • easily customize the main colors of the interface
  • enable streaming if you have a server for it
  • enable http streaming emulation using a server side script
  • share several independant videos clips
  • or share a single videos as several “chapters” in a way similar to a dvd with its menu
  • skin the player
  • add or even develop plugins
  • play a youTube playlist
  • play the playlist coming from a RSS feed

Considering the player can be extended via plugins and that the code is open, there are probably a lot more features that could be added to this list but these are the features that made us pick this player.

You can see the player in action on our main page

In a next post, I will explain how we setup the player to emulate streaming or at least the seek funtionnality.

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