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Video Formats for non-Windows Users?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the multi-platform-media dept.

Media 749

ccdotnet asks: "I look after a small web site for a rising sports star. We have a small number of short videos in .WMV (9) format available for download. These .WMV files are typically 3-5 MB in size (we do a "low res" and a "hi res" version). Each video is typically 1-2 minutes and 320x240. The site gets maybe 100 visitors per day. Our outbound hosting bandwidth is _very_ limited, so although we are keen to cater for non-Windows users (around 7% of our visitors), I've struggled to find a suitable video format which doesn't blow the size of the file right out. Ideally I would like to keep these files at a similar size but at the same time want to maintain a reasonable video quality. Are users of other platforms just out of luck? What non-Windows/Mac video formats can people recommend so that I can deliver this content to people who can't play .WMV for one reason or another?"A few years ago, playing .WMV files might have been problematic for users who didn't use either a Macintosh or a Windows-based operating system. Now, with MPlayer and its derivatives making strides, it's not as much of an issue. Of course, there are still .WMV files that don't play well in Mplayer, but what suggestions would you have for creating Mplayer-safe .WMVs as well as other, more cross-platform friendly formats?

cancel ×


Xvid (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481725)

What's wrong with Xvid [] ? It plays on Windows and Linux (and other things).

If you're concerned about bandwidth, why not Coral Cache [] things?

Re:Xvid (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481838)

What's wrong with Xvid? It plays on Windows and Linux (and other things).

If you're concerned about bandwidth, why not Coral Cache things?

Why not stop answering like the "you're dumb cause you don't know what I know" geek?
What's wrong with not acting like an ass?

Re:Xvid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481871)

Because these are easy answers anyone who had spent some time researching before asking Slashdot would've found? It's pretty hard to miss Xvid in any serious discussion of video codecs.

Re:Xvid (1, Informative)

dsginter (104154) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481875)

What's wrong with Xvid?

Umm... look at the download page [] . The process of getting footage into Xvid format isn't exactly straight forward.

Re:Xvid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481941)

On Windows, it's a matter of opening the file in VirtualDub and compressing it with Xvid. There are numerous guides to explain it in detail if you google a little.

If he's really really lazy, he can buy Dr. DivX and use that to convert files. DivX and Xvid generally decode each other fine.

(I'm assuming he's on Windows since he's already making .WMV files.)

Re:Xvid (3, Insightful)

JohnnyBigodes (609498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481920)

Maybe, just maybe, because it isn't supported out-of-the-box, and since most average users can't even double-click without help, they won't take the time/effort to install an external codec, much less one they never heard about (maybe you could get away with RealPlayer or something like that, but anything less known and it's pushing it).

XVID (1, Redundant)

pestie (141370) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481730)

I'm thinking XVid - open source, tight compression.

Re:XVID (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481799)

I love XviD, but while your average slashdot geek has the latest codec installed, your average net surfer, I'm afraid, does not. I'd say stick with the big three--wmv, quicktime, or real. But don't use real. It's evil.

Re:XVID (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481837)

It's 2005, a LOT of people have DivX or Xvid (or something else compatible) installed. ATI includes DivX with all of their video cards.

Plus, he's trying to cater to Linux users (ie more technical ones). Xvid is perfect for that. You can also easily provide a link to Xvid binaries for Windows users, and they just need to run an installer.

Codec installation as a limited user? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481898)

You can also easily provide a link to Xvid binaries for Windows users, and they just need to run an installer.

Under Microsoft Windows, can a limited user install a Video For Windows or DirectShow codec under his or her own user account? Not everybody uses a box that he or she owns.

Re:Codec installation as a limited user? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481955)

Under Microsoft Windows, can a limited user install a Video For Windows or DirectShow codec under his or her own user account? Not everybody uses a box that he or she owns.

Huh? I thought every Windows user ran as administrator, or else most software wouldn't work. I run as admin on my employer-provided laptop, presumably for this reason.

Quicktime is cross-platform (4, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481736)

Quicktime might be the best compromise. It's cross-platform, has reasonable file sizes, reasonable quality, etc.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481782)

I agree.
Quicktime makes some very nice mpegs.

Windows User (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481793)

As a windows user I prefer QT to WMA/WMV files. Mainly because I despise Windows Media Player so much (why should a #%$%# update to a movie player require a reboot!). With QT I can transfer and send the links anywhere and know they will work. Plus, when you blow up the pictures there aren't many artifacts compared to others. (Look at redvsblue)

Re:Windows User (3, Informative)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481944)

OMFG, you're actually using the windows media player? Go grab a better one from this site [] . Those players are all free. Personally I like WinAmp and VLC the best.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481812)

i have converted avi to wmv then back to avi then using SWiSHvideo to convert to flash a great compromise of quality and file size.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481823)

I do believe quicktime is THE best MPEG-4 implimentation. Its very scalable, so if you ever decide to go higher res. you won't have to change formats. It plays great on Windows/Mac and on Linux/*nix with mplayer.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481841)

Quicktime isn't very good for linux users imho, it needs high CPU power compared to other formats, and streaming is pretty stuttery, and a few commercial distributions don't include the decoders for it due to legal reasons. But it's probably the 'recommmended' choice for a mac audience. Personally I like xvid best, but could there be patent related issues if a major site distributes videos encoded in xvid?

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (1)

twofidyKidd (615722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481845)

I agree that quicktime should be used, but I'm going to 1-up it by saying that even though the quality to file size ratio is a little larger than say, mpeg, the quality at the high end of the spectrum is far greater than any other format for web.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481852)

For values of cross platform being "windows/linux x86 or Apple PPC" depending on which codecs you use inside it, since most of the codec support on linux for things like sorenson come from loading the windows .dlls .mpg is the only truly cross platform encoding I can think of that doesn't require people scrambling to find some arcane codec (or installing some m3g4 c0d3x p4k with 3 codecs and 2997 spyware applications) and that is "understood" well enough to be implemented in popular platforms and easy to implement in new platforms.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (4, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481899)

it's also nagware - that costs 30 bucks.
also they don't offer version for xp without itunes anymore(on their site at least).

and officially cross platform if you count windows and mac os(x) as the platforms that exist..

xvid, and give them a link to videolan client or something, put up some googleads and go look for some cheap bandwith or a sponsor.

Did Quicktime for Linux just come out? (1)

BierGuzzl (92635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481946)

I dunno.. I might have missed it, but last I checked you had to run through whine.

Re:Quicktime is cross-platform (1)

btSeaPig (701895) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481969)

yeah - if there were only two platforms.

sure, Linux users can download the file, then play it with mplayer, but afaik there is no quicktime plugin for browsers on linux.

Sounds like... (2, Interesting)

turtled (845180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481739)

Sounds like a porn site... =) I would think MPEG1 would be decent quality at a reasonable size.

Re:Sounds like... (2, Informative)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481809)

Heh, they dont say what kind of 'sports' this 'rising' star is part of....

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481741)


I would say (-1, Redundant)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481744)


Re:I would say (1)

BlackHawk-666 (560896) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481783)

AVI is a container format, not a CODEC. Use Xvid, do a two pass variable bitrate encode on your source. Select a bitrate that is suitable for your bandwidth requirements. Divx is also a good candidate.

Container format polymorphism (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481939)

AVI is a container format, not a CODEC.

In practice nowadays, most people overload [] the term "AVI" such that CodecOf(AVI) = DivX, just as "QuickTime" meant Sorenson Video in the QT 3-5 days.

Re:I would say (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481791)

fuck you you fucking morons who refer to 'avi' as a video compression or format. especially when you are pretending to know what youre talking about. avi is nothing but a container format 'audio video interleave'. you can put all sorts of video compressions inside it.....same with audio.
get a clue.

Re:I would say (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481797)

Look at the times you moron moderators!

OT your sig (1)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481844)

Disgruntled Defence Signals Directorate employee, will exchange secrets for diet coke.

Are you Aussie?

If so, wtf happened with that Tampa Crisis thing?

What were you expecting? Animated gif? (2, Informative)

nounderscores (246517) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481747)

mpeg. or quicktime.

Re:What were you expecting? Animated gif? (1, Interesting) (783783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481909)

I've never been able to get Quicktime files to play on Linux. Is there a secret I'm missing?

For bandwidth management... (5, Interesting)

PincheGab (640283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481748)

Why don't you try what others have done: Istead of a straight download, provide a BitTorrent seed? There was a recent story about this on ./ IIRC...

Re:For bandwidth management... (4, Informative)

ahecht (567934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481781)

Many people, especially those on certain univeristy or corporate networks, cannot use BitTorrent.

Re:For bandwidth management... (5, Insightful)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481819)

It's a small site too.

How would you explain to your cousin to download Azureus, update JVM, download the file, put it in Azureus, and leave it running for a few days?

Direct download is the better solution than torrent in some situations.

LOL (2, Informative)

PincheGab (640283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481924)

Ok, if so many people are anti-BitTorrent then modify my reply to read: "Why don't you provide a BitTorrent seed as well, and ask people to use it instead of the straight download, if they can?"

What the URL of your PORN site? (0, Troll)

hey (83763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481749)

Just wondering ;-)

Re:What's the URL of your PORN site? (1)

Myrkridian42 (840659) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481874)

Our outbound hosting bandwidth is _very_ limited

This is Slashdot, so don't hold your breath for that URL. Posting it here woud be suicide.

Mpeg. (3, Informative)

sharkb8 (723587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481752)

Seems to be more of a standard than .wmv. And every player seems to support .MPG files.

Re:Mpeg. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481853)

Or try out the RealMedia Linux offerings and after being a guinea pig for the rest of us, let us know how it went.

Re:Mpeg. (4, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481882)

But MPEG (1 and 2) files are much larger than WMV9 files. MPEG4 is more in line with the size for which he is looking. But player support is a bit more dodgy.

first post shitbags (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481756)

first post shitbags

Short Answer: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481757)

lots of choices (4, Informative)

supersuckers (841107) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481759)

The two that come to mind the quickest are xvid and divx. Beyond that, check out [] for a lot more info on video codecs.

Free IPod/MacMini (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481903)

Take anything this guy says with a large grain of salt. Look at his sleazy sig.

Re:lots of choices (2, Informative)

c.r.o.c.o (123083) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481968)

Yeah, I'd go with xvid or divx. The codecs are available for any OS, so regardless of your player, they should run without problems. Not to mention that these formats give you so many options in terms of quality settings you can have any filesize you want.

On a side note, WMV files have problems playing in Windows as well. I'm still running Win2K on my laptop, and I did not want to upgrade to WMP9 from WMP6.4 because of its bloat and DRM, but I installed the WMP9 codecs. All WMV files will play, but some refuse to scroll forward. If you do, you can lose the video.

FFMPEG mpeg4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481761)

Just use libavcodec's mpeg4 library. You can even encode the audio in OGG. It's completely open source and Linux media players will handle it perfectly.

Re:FFMPEG mpeg4 (1)

Billy the Mountain (225541) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481895)

I'll second .mpeg4. Although it's newer, I think the majority of users out there can play it. The quality is good but I think the best thing is that it really compresses well.


BitTorrent? (1)

Robmonster (158873) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481767)

You could always create a torrent for the larger files, that way the sports fans get to help each other download the file.

Re:BitTorrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481930)

Will people PLEASE stop thinking BitTorrent is the answer to EVERYONE'S bandwidth woes for EVERY problem? And maybe RTFQ? BitTorrent is a hammer. That does not make this a nail.

He's talking about 100 visitors per day. Probably not all of them look at the video clips. I'm sorry, but the economies of scale you get in a torrent-ed world are really not significant here. Torrents are great for many users downloading the same file at the same time. They're not so great when the user base is low and the concurrency of download is infrequent. Plus, not everyone is set up for bittorrent, and assuming that everyone will obviously have that installed is really not a reasonable assumption.

Torrenting this data isn't all that likely to help. Maybe occasionally it will, but only when 2 people are looking at the same file at the same time, or are nice enough to leave themselves as part of the torrent after downloading (not the rule). It's certainly not NEARLY as likely to be useful in this application as making sure that the content that's offered is well compressed for the desired level of quality. Which was the original question.

DivX People! (1)

ResQuad (243184) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481768)

Come on, AVI+DIVX!! !ITS EASY!

It keeps the size down and the quality high. There are divx clients for every OS, even Linux.

i thought you said (1)

slackwalker (467195) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481772)

"...rising porn star."

Well, (1)

ShadeOfBlue (851882) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481910)

In some cases porn certainly seems like a sport...

...XviD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481776) ...

Xvid (1)

dj245 (732906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481794)

Anyone knowing enough to know that they don't want to be using Windows Media Player will eventually need the Xvid codec sooner or later. It the same quality as Divx5 (or perhaps better) but without the spyware associations. And its open source and works in Linux so it must be made of solid platinum according to most slashdot moderators.

Real great story (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481795)

I look after a small web site for a rising sports star.
Did anyone else read it as
I look after a small web site for a rising pr0n star.

This could have been a real great story!!

Re:Real great story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481933)

Goatse - The Movie!

XviD od DivX and vcl as player (1)

j0kkk3l (778886) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481800)

Best thing probably is to reencode your videos to an avi with XviD or DivX for video and mp3 or aac for Audio.

These can be played on virtually every platform including Mac, Windows, Linux, *BSD, BeOS and other with the free VideoLanClient (vlc) [] .

XVID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481810)

mpegs are too big, go with xvid, I don't see any other suitable solutions.

Try DivX or the OSS codec XViD (5, Informative)

TPoise (799382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481813)

Try DiVX [] or the open source codec that competes with it called XViD []

These produce very high quality along with very good compression.

For some intro how-to's, check out []

XViD is on:
- Win32 (MSVC, cygwin, mingw)
- GNU/Linux x86/ppc/sparc/ia64
- MacOSX
- *BSD
- Solaris 8 Ultra Sparc
- BeOS

That covers most of the major operating systems that your users will encounter.

MP4 status? (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481814)

A tangential question - what's the status of MP4 in various OSs? I can play it fine in OS X by default, I'm assuming various Linux players cope, but what about Windows?

Last I checked WMP could't do it, but that was some time ago. Oh, and I mean an ISO .mp4 file, not just the codec.


WMV looks lousy (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481815)

I don't care for WMV files - they are a small step above Realmedia files, but mpegs almost always look better (whether because mpeg is better or because users of the other formats over-compresss, I don't know). You might as well NOT show movies if the quality is too low - it's just frustrating to look at dancing blurry squares - offer hi-res images instead.

Real Player (2, Insightful)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481816)

Works on linux(Helix Community [] ), mac ( and windows of course. And if it is a pay-site and you can afford to buy the encoders you can get professional support as well.

Re:Real Player (1)

zangdesign (462534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481894)

Typically the quality with RealPlayer is so low that it's easier and more pleasant to just go blind.

Quicktime (1)

Datasage (214357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481818)

Quicktime using sorenson compression may be your best best.

Its annoying to users to make them have to download another player to play your content. Using native players is the best way to go.

Re:Quicktime (1)

0BoDy (739304) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481945)

Um, it pretty much doesn't matter, you can't have a multi-platform format without downloading a mutli-platform player like vlc, or quicktime (which deosn't run well on linux at all). If one switches from wmv one has to download a new codec for mediaPLayer anyway, better to just dl vlc, for multimedia, or use real, but I'll never bother. bittorrent's also a good idea.

Re:Quicktime (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481958)

because after all, quicktime has a native player for... one platform.

Shockwave Flash ? (1)

antani (303498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481824)

Why not use Shockwave Flash ? and give users also the choice to download a wmv (which, at the moment, i can play with the latest MPlayer or xine under GNU/Linux)

i miss the problem, maybe, wmv is a 'standard' also for GNU/Linux, isn't it ?


Re:Shockwave Flash ? (1)

antani (303498) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481872)

sorry, smoking weed while reading slashdot can produce those effects

real reply follows:


A few come to mind... (1)

ral315 (741081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481826)

MPEG, definitely.
Quicktime format would work well, and AVI should be fine as well.

QT or MPG (5, Informative)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481828)

I did some video work for a very well known media company... one 99% of slashdotters here would likely recognize.

Here was my analysis:

QuickTime had the best quality, bandwidth, compatibility for the largest target audience. The player is of equal quality on platforms, and performs very well.

RealPlayer supports more Platforms that QT, but it's player is at different levels on different platforms, so customizing the appearance of functionality may cause some funny behavior on some operating systems.

If you want to make sure 100% of the audience can see the media, mpg is still the best format... though be aware that it's not exactly prefered.

IMHO if you want to get your entire audience, push towards quicktime, and give the option for real player (alternate).

You'll get most of your audience that way, with the greatest quality video, and the least bandwidth.

QuickTime pro is only $29, realPlayer producer basic is free. Players for both are free, and widely installed.

It's very easy to get going on that platform. IMHO it's the best bet this day and age.

If Apple would support Linux with Quicktime, I would push QuickTime 100%.

QuickTime's plugin on Windows and Mac OS X is very stable, and reliable. The media quality is also very good.

Real has compatibility problems on non-windows players. Not everything is implemented on them. Hence they are 2nd class.

opts (1) (783783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481835)

I'd say
2. RM (Real Media)
3. AVI
in that order with a strong pref for MPEG.

WMV is really the best for size... (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481836)

but if you want easy crossplatforming, real player runs fine on linux and on windows and mac too.

MPEG-4 (1)

TexTex (323298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481854)

There's lots of suggestions for MPEG...but any MPEG-1 encoding will probably be much larger than the file sizes you're currently using to maintain quality. It does have the advantage of being cross-platform.

You could create some good quality, small size movies using MPEG-4. Older systems might not have the codecs to play that back installed. But, as an alternative in addition to WMV, your Mac and Linux visitors will probably be able to deal with MPEG-4.

Video Format (2, Interesting)

Gallenod (84385) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481856)

Mpeg4 or divx would be good. Most players/platforms can handle them.

I have a fondness for Quicktime, though, because releasing something in QT just flat-out annoys both Microsoft and Real.

(Yeah, I'm bigoted. But at least my bigotry is based on honest hatred and distrust, not hypocrasy.)

Umm (1)

Democritus2 (553661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481860)

Huh? I use mplayer and the browser plugin on linux. I play wmv files all the time.

Am I missing something here?

The problem with xvid and divx is.. (1)

fatron (645513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481862)

The last I knew, xvid and divx codecs don't automatically download and install from microsoft, so while good for non windows people, it may not be very good for inexperienced users. I'll probably get flamed for this, but consider something like real, or even look into using flash to create the movie.

Flash Video (5, Insightful)

modeps (731250) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481866)

Convert your files to Flash video. As much as Macromedia kinda stinks, most people have the Flash plugin installed. Crossplatform and cross brower friendly. [] has a cheap converter. Quality and size dont change much.

Why not try Discreet Cleaner to create the files? (4, Informative)

Buran (150348) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481869)

I use Discreet's Cleaner (was Media Cleaner) here to compress videos taken of cells through a light microscope. While we save our videos in Quicktime format as we are an all-Mac lab (with one or two unavoidable exceptions) and as the QT Player is free and can be downloaded easily by Windows users, Cleaner can also process other formats as well -- it can create RealPlayer files (but not read them, which drives me crazy when I want to do personal conversion projects on the side... WTF?), MPEG streams, QT files (of course), and so on. It is very good at optimizing video for different kinds of uses (you'd be tuning for web use) and is quite good at compression. It will work with any QT codecs you drop into the appropriate folder, should you be using a Mac; I've never used the Windows version, so I can't give advice there.

It can also do batch conversion -- we set up an entire batch of files to convert overnight, set it going, and walk away. When we return in the morning, it's ready and waiting.

If you encode on a Windows box, use cleaner XL [] . If you use a Mac, like we do, use cleaner 6 [] .

Be sure to provide download links for appropriate players on your page, if you don't already. Users are likely to not know about vlc and other appropriate players.

mp4 (1)

mrbeaton (529364) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481877)

We've had good luck with mp4 videos. They'll play back in QuickTime on Mac/Win and seem to have a pretty good quality:size ratio.

Not sure there is a player for them on linux, but I'm guessing there is.

Ogg Theora/Dirac (2, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481887)

How is the Theora codec doing?

And the BBC's Dirac codec? ml


One thing to keep in mind (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481893)

If you choose to use Xvid or DivX your users will have to download codecs for those. I'm guessing not too many grandmas and uncles would know how to do this.

I reccomend using quicktime to make mpeg movies which have high quality, can easily be paused, forwarded and "rewound" to any part of a downloaded clip, and can play on pretty much any platform.

Re:One thing to keep in mind (1)

Ziviyr (95582) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481931)

VLC practically ignores the windows video filter system, no codec installing there.

Its just as hard as installing quicktime, but then you don't get nagged at by quicktime, and the interface sucks less.

So divx or xvid is good.

Surprisingly, Real (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481897)

Although I would never recommend producing RealMedia content for Windows users (I really hate the RealOne player), it's a different matter if your audience is UNIX! Never thought I'd be saying this, but it's actually quite pleasant playing Real videos on Linux/UNIX/Solaris using RealPlayer [] which actually comes out of Real's open source Helix project [] . The only platform I know of where there isn't a good player for Real content is Windows.

MPEG-4 (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481902)

MPEG-4 (aka mp4) is the standard everybody's running towards. The wildly popular divx is really a MPEG-4 pre-release spec but their current players handle the release spec. Quicktime on Mac or Windows will play it as will mplayer on linux. Quicktime Pro ($29) will encode is and there are some free encoders on Linux (patents are an open question).

Moreover next-gen DVD's will use MPEG-4 as do cellphones with 3GPP support so you're heading in the right direction for future work.

Codec w/ most market penetration (4, Informative)

LeiGong (621856) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481912)

The best choices are Quicktime or mpeg. I wouldn't recommend DivX or XVid simply because the user has to install a 3rd party codec. More often than not, they're just going to skip over it and move on to another page. The hassle of installing the codec will outweight their interest in actually seeing the video. Sure QT is proprietary, but it has the highest market penetration next to standard Windows video codecs. So if you must have a cross platform codec that isn't mpeg, you should go with QT. Also keep in mind, ofthat 7%, the majority will be using Macs and very few will be using *nix. Desipte what the demographic on /. maybe, you'll need to think less like a geek and more like a sports agent. :)

XviD or VCD-compliant MPEG-1 (1)

Bodysurf (645983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481923)

As others have mentioned XviD [] is a good choice. It's compression and quality is the same as, or slightly better than, WM9 according to Doom9 [] (codec comparison [] ). It's open-source, but on the downside, it requries you to install a codec and PCs don't come installed with it "out of the box".

Another good option is VCD-compliant MPEG-1 [] . Nearly every modern PC/OS with a GUI comes equipped to support/play it "out of the box", and you can burn it to a VCD and watch it with most DVD-players. On the downside, the compression and quality is not nearly as good as the more modern codecs such as RM10, WM9, XviD, MPEG-4, etc.

RealVideo (1)

ehudokai (585897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481937)

Why not use RealVideo. I have seen many good sites that stream their content in both .WMV and realvideo to allow everyone to see it.

With the new Helix open source player and RealPlayer 10 realvideo is available everywhere, and real has been a leader in creating good low bandwidth codecs.

I don't work for Real BTW. And I agree with many that XViD would be nice, but if you went that route you would need to provide a link/instructions for people to download/install the xvid codec under windows/macos.

Geeks like us don't worry about installation, but the average user is not going to want to install something that requires a small amount of computer knowledge.

You could do .WMV/real/Xvid and satisfy everyone :)

Mplayer/VLC do NOT play files created with WMP9 (1)

syntax (2932) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481948)

WMP9 (supposed, I can't confirm -- but some WMP product is generating these) creates files with the WMV3 codec, which I have had zero success with playing with any Mac or Linux player except for Windows Media Player on the Mac. To make problems worse, if the WMV3 video is encapsulated by an avi or any other format, WMP for Mac will not open it, as it is limited to .asf and .wmv container formats.

MPEG4!!!!!!! works with iIBMs cross platform java! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481950)

MPEG4!!!!!!! works with iIBMs cross platform java applet.

the applet works on bsd, mac osx, and windows just fine!

try MPEG4 Video with IBMAppletForMPEG4 on a web site of yours its simple.

to create H.263 video use Quicktime 6.5, or to create H.264 MPEG4 use Nero, or Quicktime 7 (Tiger)

3gpp and 3gpp2 video are also supported by Quicktime

regarding MPEG4 at fanciest abilities :
two reference sets of source code exist, the "official slowish buggy one with all features" snaggable at :

and the finally supporting h.264 gpl one at :
http: // 7656

read this page

HD video (1920x1080, 24p) at 7-9 Mbp !!!!!! meaning a standard 4.3 GB dvd can be full hidef !!!!!!!!!! over 4 times more pixels

but the main thing about it is that MPEG4 and AAC-HE play in Mplayer, the xbox, pc, mac, etc etc

MPEG4 is what you want for dialup or broadband

watch the demo of IBMAppletForMPEG4 with some demo files in your browser (linux,bsd,mac,windows) if you do not believe me. WOW!

regretfully you need to put IBMAppletForMPEG4 on a webste to try it because it uses remote URLs only to playback, but it is interactive and has lots of features (mouseover navigation, mouseover graphics layers, controll buttons, etc etc)

too bad no one moderates anymore

I recommend.... (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481952)

ASCII animation.

If these guys [] can do it, so can you!

Streaming (2, Informative)

hendridm (302246) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481953)

Wow, talk about some lousy responses. I'm guessing you want to avoid making users install extra software, right? So BitTorrent and DivX might not be the most favorable solution. Although I think DivX would work well, I think you'd best be served by creating HTTP streamable videos with either RealPlayer or QuickTime. I think most Linux users are savvy enough to play any format, and Mac users will be comfortable with either format. Real has a player available for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh. If you think Real is evil like 95% of the Slashdot community, Quicktime would be a great alternative.

And Real does have an annoyance-free version of their player available for Windows: []

MPEG 4 (1)

beejay54 (781673) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481954)

MPEG, specifically MPEG 4. You would be suprised at the high compression with still pretty decent quality. It will play in quicktime and other players which go across most popular platforms, Windows, Mac, Linux. If you download quicktime from apple (Mac/Windows) you can compress your raw videos into the proper format with that.

On a side note, thanks for considering the rest of us. I know it can be a headache, but nothing drives me more crazy then seeing web sites designed for only one platform, specifically windows. Good luck.

flash 6 or 7 with sorensen video (1)

redvision4 (105878) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481957)

I use it on my movie site [] with smaller videos for movie trailers because it's compatible with Windows, Macs, and Linux. I develop on Mac and Linux (laptop). Unfortunately, the full movies are still reliant on QuickTime. But we hope to change that soon.

Where's the link to the site? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11481965)

This site would make good slashdot fodder.

Lots of options (1)

gaj (1933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11481971)

mplayer plays WMV just fine (or as fine as possible, anyway), so, at least for Linux and *BSD on x86 and x86_64 it isn't really a problem.

None the less, for maximum crossplatform happiness, I'd say one of MPEG, DivX or XviD would be your best bets. MPEG is most portable -- it's available every-damn-where, but is showing it's age in both file size and image quality. DivX and XviD are nearly as available, and better in virtually every aspect.

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