Despite all the fruitless discussions about the clash between H.264 and Flash (which you know are simply FUD, being H.264 a codec and Flash a platform) , I think instead that H.264 and Flash form a wonderful duo. Fortunately enough I’m not alone if a giant like Hulu (over 500 million streams per month) has declared HTML5 to be too young to be used in scenarios where monetization is a key factor. This will probably change in the future, but by now only a plug-in like Flash (or possibly Silverlight) can assure the performance (dynamic streaming), the security (DRM or RTMPe) and the control (Monetization and Reporting tools) in video delivery.
Furthermore, the control over the streaming parameters and how the video is displayed on stage are two invaluable key factors for maximizing the QoS in video streaming.
With this Article I want to show exactly this: Flash + H.264 = H.264 squared
You know that I like to push the limit of H.264, trying to find the best processing chain to obtain HD quality at a fraction of the usual bandwidth.
If you are a reader of my blog probably remember my several tests (here you find a list of the most popular) where I showed HD (720p) contents encoded at very low bitrate like 500Kbit/s.
Ok, this time, I want to show you what is possible to achieve exploiting synergies between Flash and H.264.
In the video below you can see a HD* video encoded at … (drum roll prease) … 250Kbit/s!
* In my next post I’ll explain how Flash can be used to enhance video quality and obtain a result like this. In the meanwhile let me know what do you think about the quality / bitrate ratio of the video. Remember that obviously we are talking about a video that is using only 250Kbit/s, 8 times lower of what YouTube uses for a video like that and half the bitrate I used before in my extreme tests. So despite the inevitable loss of detail, I would draw your attention on the reproduction of film grain and on details of the text.
Dued to post processing, a fast computer is required, expecially at full screen where an upscaling schema is applyed. On Windows there’s no problem (I tested it also on a Pentium4 2.4 GHz), on Mac I suggest to update both Flash Player and Safari.