Image Processing Reference
In-Depth Information
21
Players and Platforms
21.1
Any Color You Like, as Long as It's Black
We might like to think we have a lot of choice about which format to use, but in actual
fact that choice is quite limited. Mostly we are limited by the platforms we choose to
operate.
21.2
De Facto Playback Standards
Until now, streaming has been dominated by several de facto standards. They have been
important in generating interest and penetrating the consciousness of the buying public.
The different formats are proprietary. Some of the major proprietary formats are devel-
oped by companies whose primary interest is something other than video compression,
save one - Real Networks . The availability of the formats on operating system platforms is
subject to commercial decisions that are dictated by platform dominance and market
share. Generally speaking, de facto standards cannot deliver on a promise of 100% market
penetration, since they are limited by the market penetration of their hosting platforms.
For example, QuickTime is unavailable on Linux. To choose QuickTime as a stream-
ing solution facilitates delivery to Mac OS and Windows users, but you cannot reach any
users who operate the Linux platform. The same argument applies to Windows Media
(WM).
The Real Networks video format is widely available. The user experience is less sat-
isfactory on some platforms and the latest version of the player is not available every-
where. This is true of Windows Media players as well. QuickTime releases are better
synchronized for delivery on Windows and Mac OS, but the user experience is compro-
mised on Windows when other media players are installed.
21.3
Choosing Players and Codecs
Some service operators will choose WM9 on the grounds of market share. The Windows
platform is allegedly used by 97% of the world's population. The player is installed with
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