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Remote Central’s Video Collection Revamped
7 years of videos upgraded to snazzy new MPEG-4 encodes, with a handy new embedded Flash player.
Posted by Daniel Tonks on December 10, 2009 at 8:08 AM
RC News Story
2002. September. Minneapolis. There we were, with our low-end Samsung camcorder for the very first time, filming CEDIA Expo 2002. The resulting video was rather short and particularly low quality due to Microsoft’s mistakes with Windows Movie Maker 1.0... but we finally had online video!

The next milestone came in January of 2005 when we attended CES 2005 with our weeks-old Sony HDR-FX1 high definition video camera, shooting everything we could in glorious 1080 resolution. Unfortunately, as I was to learn afterwards, my computer was just not up to the task of actually editing that footage, and what was supposed to have been our first HD video turned into merely our first widescreen video. By September of that year when it was time to prepare the CEDIA video the computer situation was corrected, and Remote Central was still one of the first niche sites to offer true high definition video online.

Over the years as our videos have become longer and longer, the resulting high definition encodes would have grown unmanageably large had quality levels not been continuously tweaked lower and lower. This year, however, we hit a threshold – the 18+ minute long CEDIA 2009 video just didn’t look at all acceptable when the file size was kept small enough. It was time for a new encoding format... and that would probably entail a new delivery system.

Today I’m very pleased to reveal that new system! First, all videos are now encoded in MPEG-4 AVC/AAC (h.264), the same technology as used in Blu-ray Discs. The main problem with MPEG-4 files such as these is that they’re really not well supported by video players, especially when compared to the ubiquitous support for WMV thanks to Windows Media Player. So the second part of this new system is an embedded Adobe Flash video player, which will play videos YouTube-style right on the site (so no more manual file downloading and loading WMP).

And here it is!
These new super-efficient encodes are much smaller than anything we’ve released before, and yet manage to look even better than our prior WMV encodes. Here’s an example of the compression efficiency:

WMV 720pMPEG-4 720p
CEDIA 2005236mb144mb
CEDIA 2008350mb266mb
EHX 2008278mb183mb
You Had to Know215mb178mb

Did I mention that these new versions look much better?

You’ll find all 15 of our video reports in an entirely new database-driven section of Remote Central. There are “regular” and “720p” (or “large”) encodes for all videos, along with the ability for members to add comments or even download the original .MP4 files if you’d prefer to play them with another player. Note that I’ve abandoned the old “small” format, as it was such low quality as to be useless... and the new “regular” encodes are already smaller than the old ones.

I’ve also gone back in time to correct the problems of 2005, re-capturing and re-mastering our CES 2005 video so that it can be shown the way it was always meant to have been seen: in true high definition!

Check out the new video section!

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