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February 20, 2006



I wouldn't personally watch video because of its linear format; I enjoy the freedom of scanning headlines, seeing whats of interest to me.

It's the classic scenario of watching the 6 o'clock news, seeing the promo of the puppy stuck in the well, and waiting 29 minutes of other things just to see the one thing you wanted -- and more often than not I miss it because I'm channel surfing, doing other stuff at home, etc.!

I think the solution may lie somewhere in the middle, offering short clips of 20-30 seconds, rather than traditional anchor-story formats. When someone sees a story about a burning building, he or she wants to see the burning building -- not 1-2 minutes of intro filler time and 1-2 minutes of outro filler time. Perhaps the best solution is to immediately stream the video with sparce commentary and accomodating text that allows users to quickly and efficiently navigate to other points of interest.

One last point, consider using Macromedia Flash's Video Encoder to take advantage of Progressive Downloading. I think one deterrent to online video has been 1) modems, a problem we are finally getting around and 2) the codec wars. Windows Media, QuickTime, Real... Web developers are still trying to cover their tracks, developing for multiple formats over and over -- and each only offer marginal benefits over one another! Can someone say the browser wars have re-reared their ugly heads in the form of codecs? We've already adoped Web standards (XHTML/CSS) -- why are we still running around with media?

I've used Flash video for a few projects and I've been stunned with the results. It's really a technology worth investigating, and the process is simple to the point of absurdity -- drag and drop your video file, choose your compression settings and encode. Plus Flash offers skinnable videos, no more having to "brand" your video permanently.


I rarely bother to watch video clips on news web sites, and I'm especially annoyed when an intriguing headline leads *only* to a video, with no accompanying story (a common tactic on Every site seems to use different formats, and many require download and install of their own proprietary browser plugins to encapsulate the video. Many sites also append ads to the beginning of the videos.

If I want to passively absorb the news, streamed at me in a video format, I can do so by turning on my television.

I don't understand why so many web site publishers seem to want to turn my internet browser into a TV as well. It takes control and choice of content away from the web site visitor and hands it back to the publisher. It's a step backwards, in my opinion, and ignores what made the web so popular in the first place.

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