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Adobe Flash 9 IconI noticed in my RSS feeds recently that the new version of the Adobe Flash Player browser plug-in supports H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and AAC audio, but I didn't think much of it at the time. As it turns out, I'm really happy that Adobe supports standard MP4 files accessible through plain HTTP, as it cuts out the proprietary Flash Video (FLV) format. Macs are wonderful when creating rich media since they now ship with iMovie, and relatively inexpensive tools such as ProfCast are out there. This rich media derives a lot of value from being represented in standard formats such as MPEG-4 AVC (H.264) video, and AAC audio, all rolled up into the standard MP4 container. However, it turns out to be incredibly difficult to publish this standards-compliant media to a web page player that "just works" like Until now, the only viable way to embed this content in a web site was to use the quicktime plug-in, which is a bit heavy for the task. With the most recent versions of Flash Player 9, we now can directly play high quality videos, in a standard format, produced with free tools. Here's an example using Jeroen Wijering's excellent, and free (Creative Common's Licensed) Flash Video Player. Check out how nice "The Machine is Us/ing Us" looks, compared to the Youtube version at:

The code for this is relatively simple, though a bit of a pain to get formatted correctly. And by "bit" I mean, it took me hours. If I start to do more video content, I'll definitely look into a plug-in so the blog handles these details.
<embed src="/blog/flvplayer.swf">
  align="middle" height="315" width="420" />
The video is a conversion from a high quality Quicktime file to standard H.264/AAC video. Hopefully we'll start to see higher quality videos up on Youtube now. In the meantime, you're able to do it yourself if you need to publish higher quality video in an easily accessible manner.
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