Many of my clients ask for Flash video. And they know that .flv files are the way to go. It’s YouTube, it looks good and it works. And that is all very understandable, but wrong! Here is why:

  1. .flv is an old codec. It’s in fact H.263 (developed in 1995), the predecessor of H.264. It’s a deprecated codec and will not be supported nor improved.
  2. .flv gives problems with long video’s
  3. .flv gives problems with big video’s (HD is out of the question)
  4. .flv gives problems with screen-sizes that are not a multiple of 16
  5. .flv image quality is nice but not great.
  6. Professional .flv encoding software is expensive.

And this is why you should H.264 instead:

  1. H.264 has been supported by Flash for years so compatibility is near 100%.
  2. H.264 can be uses with all screen sizes, including HD
  3. H.264 will play loooong video’s without problems
  4. H.264 has a better image quality. Sharp and bright colors. It has this ‘now’ feel to it.
  5. H.264 is easy and cheap to produce.

Don’t get me wrong: I do love the .flv image quality. It’s soft and has cheerfull colors. It reminds me of the time that YouTube wasn’t hot. It is also cute that people call it by it’s file extension. But then again, I liked VHS as well. Untill I got a DVD player.