Streaming FLV Videos

FLV stands for “Flash Live Video”. It is a format designed for web video playback that offers high rates of compression and produces high quality video. Several products convert video files to FLV format, including our EasyFLV HD FLV Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze, On2 etc.

Notable users of the FLV file include Google Video, Reuters.com and YouTube.

Most FLV converters use H.263, H.264 or On2 VP6 codecs to encode the video. The audio in FLV files is encoded in PCM, ADPCM, or MP3 format.

In other words, if you have a video file in MPG or AVI format, you can convert it to FLV through an FLV converter and easily put that video on your website.

FLV Streaming – Progressive and Server Based

There are two techniques used to stream an FLV file from a website, Progessive and Flash Comm Server. While this may confuse most end users, the 2 techniques depend on a few parameters that we will outline below.

Progressive Streaming – Introduced in Flash 7.0, this method is a low cost yet effective one for the user. An interface or video player in SWF (Flash File Format) is embedded in the HTML/Php/ASP page. This video player contains the required code to playback a FLV file from a server location. Obviously the FLV file is externally placed. The video plays as the file is downloaded and the user doesn’t have to wait until the whole file is downloaded.

Pros

  • Easy to set-up and maintain
  • Consistent high quality playback at all connection speeds
  •  No streaming servers required normally based on monthly fees
  • Limited technical support required

Cons

  • The video needs to be downloaded completely before you can navigate to any particular part of it
  •  As the file is downloaded, it will reside on the viewer’s computer. Savvy users will be able to access their browser cache or temporary internet files to retrieve the video.

This is not necessarily harmful if you have no concerns about rights management for the video. But in case you want to protect your video, then this method of streaming is definitely not for you!

Server Streaming: Also known as Media Server, this method is more professional way of serving streaming video on web. While in progressive download, the file is downloaded to the viewer’s machine and played back at the same time, in this method the file resides on the streaming server and is not downloaded while it is played. Apart from that, there is no apparent difference between progressive download. The advantages of using Media Server are twofold. First, your media is protected from thieves. Secondly, viewers can seek to any portion of the video to view that portion. This is particularly helpful if you have long hours of training material on your website.

Pros

  •  Ability to handle huge user load.
  • Immediate random access to different parts of a movie.
  •  Video remains on server (cannot be saved by viewers).

Cons

  •  Not easy to setup for the average person.
  •  Monthly Fees and much costly than progressive download.

If you are looking for a low cost effective solution to put videos on your website and you have a low to moderate traffic then progressive download technique is your best option. If you have a pretty heavy user load BBC or CNN and you are concerned about your media rights then you definitely need a streaming server setup.