[MPlayer-users] OT question - Video-Streaming - how?

Holden McGroin holden.mcgroin at dsl.pipex.com
Thu May 12 09:37:19 CEST 2005

Rainer Hantsch wrote:
> Hello, and thank all of you very much for your informative hints.
> What I totally forgot to mention is:
> As everybody of you surely knows (and many of yours mentioned), most clients
> use Windows based computers, so I must live with IE and Windows Media Player,
> too.  :-(
> Well, meanwhile IE gets more and more "compatible" to the w3m standard, but it
> still lacks many features that are standard in NS, FireFox, so I will be
> restricted to very basic HTML anyway...  -- So you are right, keeping it
> simple is the best choice.
> Which file format would you recommend in this situation? I need some basic
> things:
> .) Good image quality (size 1/4 PAL)
> .) Good data compression
> .) Good "compatibility" with existing Windows systems
> .) If possible, I would prefer to prevent the average user from downloading
>    the file. He may view it, but not store it on his disk.
> I see the following options:
> a) The last point seems to be the most problematic one. I (for myself) would
>    prefer DivX4 files, because mencoder can produce them easily and they have
>    both: good quality and small size.
>    But the disadvantage is that standard Windoze PCs do not play DivX by
>    default, so the customer must install a codec first. -> Not every user is
>    able to do that.
>    Ok, I could place a link to DivX' codecs below. Is it possible to test
>    with JavaScript, if the used browser (with plugins) is able to play DivX
>    and automatically point users to a download URL if NOT? (As this is done
>    mith Flash player on many sites?)
> b) Another option is using .mpg files. This is a little bit more problematic,
>    because SuSE doesn't have a really working codec library. It can decode,
>    but not encode. So this requires more work and also gives much bigger
>    files.
> c) I could try to produce MPEG4 files, but I have no experience if (and how)
>    mencoder can do that, how the filesize is, ... If I understood right,
>    this file format (as well as an .mpg file = MPEG2 ?) should automatically
>    play while it is still downloading. Would appear similar to a stream, but
>    without a stream's disadvantages.

Typically, MPEG-1 files are bigger than MPEG-2 files which (in turn) are bigger than 
MPEG-4 files. Or, restated, MPEG-1 files at a given bitrate are lower quality than MPEG-2 
files which are lower quality than MPEG-4 files.

MPEG-4 is great but isn't really standardised in real-world applications. The Internet 
Archive has this available as a streaming option but I've never tested this on a Windows 
PC to see how well it works:


As far as I'm aware, all the MPEGs are streamable in standalone files though not when 
embedded in AVI files (which, I believe, are not streamable).

In terms of compatibility, MPEG-1 (.mpg) files are great - they should be supported even 
by older versions of Windows. MPEG-2 should be available on most Windows installs and you 
can probably forget about MPEG-4 unless you want the user to install a CODEC.

As for Linux encoding, I believe all those formats can be produced by mencoder, ffmpeg and 


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