The state of the video viewers on the web is quite dull : flash, flash and flash again. If at least flash was The perfect viewer. Or if there were no alternative to it. But it is not the case. Let's start with a list of possible options :
- Quicktime : you can see it, of course on Apple web site, and any good movie web site propose trailers in that format (hint ?).
- Realplayer (yes, it looks like it is still alive, mainly thanks to historical reason).
- Windows Media plugin for windows only (on the mac, you read the associated media file from within the QuickTime plugin).
- VLC plugin : the real multiplateform solution... if you find and understand the information on how to install it. And it is open source too ! Great, but still miss some polishing.
- DivX, a future RealPlayer ? Will they be strong enough ? The recent shutdown of Stage6 is not a good sign.
- Vivo... well that used to be a promising one, from a prehistoric time
- Java... ok, it is just because i am trying not to forget anybody, like for instance espresolutions
Another path is definitely to go away from the web browser to deal with video. And the way we consume video, in a stream, even if a forking stream, as opposed to the hypermedia navigation, may validate that move. A good sign is that after Miro and Joost, Adobe is following that path too... but again, this could be the subject of another note.
So, plenty of possibility, and yet, any new and "trendy" web2.57 site will just follow up the previous one and adopt ... Flash ! How an innovative behaviour this is ! That player which until the end of last year was not even able to display good quality video. Adobe was then so proud to announce H264 support, when it had been fully available in Quicktime for more than 3 years at that time.
So, you will say, now that Flash is ready to display high quality video format, stop complaining about it and adopt Flash. But the issue is that Flash is not that good yet, at least from what I have seen so far. And I am indeed very curious to see if any flash developer can prove me wrong...
So, here is the challenge : Can Flash do any of the following ?And of course, I would be happy to hear about other challengers from the previous list.
|Fast forward (a clean one, not a clumsy jump every 5 seconds)||Y||You tube ??? no thanks !|
|Jog Shuttle (let's speed it up !)||YES !||Forget about it|
|Frame by frame step forward and backward||YES||N|
|More generally, direct access to any frame already downloaded||Y||N (sevenload is almost there)|
|Precise information about the currently displayed frame||Y||N|
|Precise information about the amount of already downloaded data (in progressive download)||Y||?|
|Selection control (constraint the navigation within the video)||Y||N|
|Can read any format||YES ! (and install Perian and flip4mac if you miss any)||NO MPEG1, NO MPEG2, NO ...|
|Encrypted cache, no easy way to pirate the video, even in progressive download||Good enough if you don't have to deal with hackers||NO : if you want a secure solution, you have to stream the video AND adopt and pay for the full Adobe system (server) : No way to use apache for instance|
|Addition of a transparent logo||Y||Y (but I haven't yet seen the effect on the full screen display with such a logo)|
|Full Screen||Almost there : maximising the browser window.||YES !|
|Multiplatform||Mac/PC IE/FF/Saf and various option on Linux, but no official release. As a result the following demo will probably not work on Linux||YES!|