Five Reasons You Should Use Flash Video on Your Site
Before I explain why you should use Flash Video on your site, let me break that down just a bit. I’m going to explain why you should use Flash Video on your site. The “Flash Video” part will cover why this format is the best choice for sharing your videos online. And the “your site” part will explain why you can, and should, pop Flash Video files up on your own site, rather than sticking them up on YouTube.
Flash Video is Accessible and Fast
Flash Video is the standard format for YouTube because it is accessible—almost anyone can watch it in any viewing environment. And Flash Video is accessible because it is the standard format at YouTube. Because YouTube (and other venues for downloadable video) have standardized on Flash Video, web browsers and, increasingly, mobile device makers, are pre-loading their products with the Flash Player—the plug-in required to play files in Flash Video format.
It also helps that Flash Video downloads faster than both Windows Media and QuickTime files thanks to its highly sophisticated video compression technology. You can produce Flash Video at a variety of compression levels, which enables viewers to choose between large, high-quality (but slower downloading) video or smaller, faster, lower-quality video.
I like to offer viewers a choice when it comes to video quality. For example, at the project page for my book Enhancing a Dreamweaver CS3 Web Site with Flash Video, I have two thumbnail videos—one a high-quality, stereo video; the other a lower-quality mono version of the video. Viewers using a mobile device or slow connection can be dancing and singing along with the video in minutes, while serious audiophiles can appreciate my soundtrack in near CD quality audio as long as they have a faster Internet connection. Try them out at http://www.peachpit.com/vqj/flashvideo (click on the Project Site link).
Figure 1 Two versions of a Flash Video file—one with high quality video and near CD quality stereo sound, the other with lower-quality video and sound for mobile device viewers.