Image Processing Reference
Other Player Alternatives
The Other Players
Having devoted a chapter each to the main player products, let's spend a few pages look-
ing at some other alternatives. These may help if your requirements are somewhat niche
The indications are that Macromedia Flash is probably more ubiquitous than any of the
other multimedia players. Macromedia has done a very good job of delivering its plug-ins
with the major operating systems. The Flash playback integrates with QuickTime and
RealNetworks players as easily as it does with web browsers.
You can make players any shape or size and they embed into web pages very nicely.
Note that the controller in Figure 25-1 neatly spans the bottom of the video and has only
the controls that are necessary. The close box is inset into the video area, but it needn't be
because you can completely determine the controller size, placement, and appearance.
With some of the other players, you can only turn the controller on or off.
Because you have total control over the look of the player and because the appearance
is an aspect of the content, it should look and behave the same on all supported platforms.
The Macromedia Flash player has become more important lately since the introduc-
tion of Flash video. This allows the same video to be played within the content on
Windows and Mac OS platforms. Many of the situations where you might have consid-
ered using MPEG-4 BIFS could be addressed by the Macromedia Flash format. It is only
when you get to the very advanced multimedia capabilities of MPEG-4 that the Flash
player requires too much programming to accomplish the same result.
You should be looking to deploy content that is at least Flash 6 compliant, but
Flash 7 is probably a better base level to start with if you want to do serious amounts of
video and mixed media. Flash player is available for Linux, but only on the vanilla x86
variant. The PowerPC and x86 64-bit versions of Linux aren't currently supported and
you should contact Macromedia directly for further advice if you need to support those
platforms. You can also get Flash player support for the Pocket PC platform.