Streaming MPEG-4 with Linux
Before encoding an MPEG-4 streaming video clip, you must consider a few things. Do you want to keep the maximum quality or compatibility? Who is the intended audience for the clip? If you are showing the clip to a large group of people or the general public, it is best to encode the clip so it may be played by common video players. If you want to preserve quality, you can use an MPEG quantizer during encoding or the MPEG-4 encoding tools discussed above. You should provide download of the MPEG4IP player so users are able to play them properly. The MPEG4IP suite includes Visual Studio workspace files, which let you compile Windows version of the player, wmp4player. Provide it as well, as most of your clients are probably running Windows.
MPEG-4 will be the trend in video streaming in the coming years. The MPEG-4 implementations we have today are still not the full MPEG-4 toolbox. For example, integration of natural and synthetic content and broadcast-grade synchronization need to be advanced. With the technology becoming more mature, MPEG-4 will soon become the standard for internet video.
I would like to thank Bill May, the main developer for the MPEG4IP project, for his comments and suggestions on this article.