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Chapter 7. Media Preparation and Delivery > Audio and Video Compression

7.1. Audio and Video Compression

Most digital audio and video content is compressed for efficient storage and transmission. Uncompressed content requires large file sizes; for example, 1 second of uncompressed broadcast television-quality video consumes at least 26 MB of storage. Such bandwidth requirements are unrealistic for real-time viewing over even the fastest networks. As a result, media formats—such as Windows AVI (Video for Windows) and Apple QuickTime—use various codecs to compress and decompress audio and video information. One of the more popular consumer video formats, DVD-Video, uses the MPEG-2 codec. Some codecs are specific to the file format or platform. However, the Sorenson Spark codec used for the Flash Video (FLV) files is built into the Flash Player and therefore supported on all platforms. Sorenson Spark is the primary video codec used by Flash Player 6 (or higher), as well as FlashCom Server.

When not using FlashCom, Flash Player 6 requires the video to be embedded in a FLA file (it is included within the published SWF file), but Flash Player 7 supports progressive download video. This allows external FLV files to be played from a standard web server over HTTP and delivered to a browser equipped with Flash Player 7. FlashCom uses the same file format (FLV) but offers streaming capabilities and other features not supported by a web server alone, as described in the Preface.


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