Study: Windows Media loses ground to Apple H.264

StreamingMedia.com on Monday announced the publication of two new reports that suggest that Apple’s QuickTime H.264 video encoding has gained ground on Microsoft Windows Media. The winner, however, was RealVideo. The reports are available for $295 each.

The first report, “Proprietary Streaming Codecs, 2006,” pitted RealVideo and Windows media with compression schemes employee by top Flash Video and H.264 codecs. The report concluded that Flash and H.264 codecs trail RealVideo “often by a significant margin.”

To test, a six-minute file comprising 38 scenes were encoded for model, 3GPP, 100Kbps, 300Kbps and 500Kbps playback. Frame quality, temporal and color quality and playback smoothness were measured.

The report’s author, Jan Ozer, said that StreamingMedia.com expected Microsoft’s technology to come out on top, but it was usually near the bottom. “Companies using or considering Windows Media really need to evaluate other technologies,” said Ozer.

The second report, “Flash Codecs, 2006” compared different companies’ Flash Video offerings. StreamingMedia.com concluded that On2’s VP6 codec came out on top when compared to Wildform and Sorenson Spark, but that “there are no one-size-fits-all solutions for Flash producers,” according to Ozer.

In this case, Ozer produced more than 1,000 Flash videos using four encoding tools.

Another forthcoming report entitled “H.264 Codecs, 2006” will compare H.264 encoding from Apple, Sorenson, Main Concept and Ateme.

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