SLC Releases Book: Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5


On May 3, 2011, the Streaming Learning Center and Jan Ozer released Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5

This book is for anyone seeking to efficiently produce high quality streaming video for distribution to Flash or HTML5 players, or playing on Apple and other mobile devices. It provides detailed recommendations regarding which platforms to target and the appropriate configurations for producing streaming files and files for distributing via iTunes, with extensive comparisons of the most popular streaming encoding programs.

It also discusses considerations for choosing whether to distribute video from your own site (or the Cloud) or whether to host your videos on user generated content sites or online video platforms. There’s a chapter on choosing the best tools and workflow for live event production, along with chapters detailing how to accelerate encoding on multiple-core workstations and LAN clusters and various tools for analyzing and debugging streaming video files. 

About the Book:

Back Cover Description

Interview with the Author

Download Detailed Table of Contents

Chapter-by-Chapter Description


Back Cover Description


Video Compression for Flash, Apple Devices and HTML5 is a professional reference for producers seeking to distribute video over the Internet and to mobile devices—particularly Apple iDevices. In this book, you will learn:


The fundamentals of video streaming and compression, including adaptive streaming

H.264 encoding parameters for a range of streaming encoders, including Apple Compressor, Adobe Media Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode Pro

The resolutions and data rates used by US and European media and prominent B2B and B2C sites, so you can configure your streaming video accordingly

How to encode for iTunes distribution to iDevices from iPods to the iPad 2

How to encode for Android, webOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 devices

The critical differences between the key adaptive streaming technologies—including HTTP Live Streaming, Dynamic Streaming and Smooth Streaming—and how to encode for distribution via these techniques

How to choose a UGC site for distributing your video, and how to upload and embed video into your website

The key alternatives for live encoding, and the various options for webcasting hardware and software and third-party live streaming service providers

How to accelerate video encoding on multiple-core workstations and LAN clusters

Which streaming file analysis tools provide the most important feedback.


About the Author:

Jan Ozer has been a compressionist since the CD-ROM days (1992) and has taught courses in video and streaming production since 1994—most recently at Streaming Media Seminars in New York, San Jose, Los Angeles and London, and for private organizations like Cisco, Lockheed and Johns Hopkins University. Jan was named a Streaming Media All Star in 2010.

Jan is a contributing editor of StreamingMedia Magazine and EventDV and blogs for AV Technology Magazine. He has written or co-authored 14 books on digital video related topics, including the Hands-On Guide to Flash Video: Web Video and Flash Media Server with Stefan Richter. One reviewer commented, “For videographers, this is your bible on how to capture video for Flash. For video editors, this is your bible on how to prepare and compress the files.”

Jan shoots, edits and produces DVDs, live webcasts and streaming media for concerts, ballets and other events. He also produces training videos for local artisans, as well as screencam presentations for multiple organizations, including Roxio, ProDad, EventDV and ViewCast. He blogs at

Interview with the Author

Streaming Media East Interview of Jan Ozer from jan ozer on Vimeo.


How did this book come about?

I was teaching three or four H.264-related seminars a year for Streaming Media conferences in New York, Los Angeles and London, which attendees paid $180 for a three-hour seminar. The original thought was to translate that seminar to a book, which turned out to be the first seven chapters or so, which included H.264 compression for streaming, iDevices and adaptive streaming. Basically, a thorough "how to" for H.264 video streaming.

Then I realized there were some significant gaps, including encoding for HTML5, so I added that. Once that was done, I took a high-level look at the content and felt that while the encoding was covered, there was a big gap on the distribution side, as in how readers could actually get the videos on their web pages. So I added a chapter that included how to choose and use a user generated content (UGC) site or online video platform (OVP) to distribute your video, which really is the best way for many readers. That chapter includes how to encode for uploading, and how to embed video into a web site.

Then I added a chapter on live distribution, since that’s getting so popular and accessible, which covers the encoding tools and services available for live-event production, and how to make them work. The last two chapters are on accelerating encoding on multi-core workstations and streaming video analysis tools.

There are several books out there on streaming video production; how is yours different?

Three points: It's research-based, highly detailed and focused. By research, I mean downloading and analyzing over a hundred streaming files from prominent US and European sites. So if you're a US B2C website, you can instantly see how similar sites configure their video. This data is very significant since many corporate sites are stuck on 320x240@300 kbps.


Table 5-12. Data rate and bits per pixel for US B2C sites. A different table details the resolution used by these sites.

 Ditto for encoding for podcasts, where I downloaded about a hundred free podcasts from leading publishers and share the configuration data in the book. I also downloaded multiple paid music videos and SD and HD TV shows, analyzed their configurations and share these results.

Beyond that, the book is highly detailed. For example, the following table is one of three that details recommendations for encoding for RTMP-based Flash adaptive streaming.

Flash RTMP.png

Table 7-2. Encoding recommendations for RTMP-based Flash adaptive streaming. Each column contains one of the sources used to make the recommendation, which is on the right.

Finally, the book is highly focused. What I cover, I tried to cover extensively, and there's very little fluff. Download the Table of Contents and you'll see what I mean.

Do you have a target reader in mind for the book?

Definitely. I start every project trying to figure how who’s going to use the result, and why. With this book I tried customize the content for several specific targets.

First, video producers encoding to H.264 who want to know which parameters to use for Flash, HTML5 and podcasts, why, and which encoding tool does it best.

Second, producers trying to figure out whether to use adaptive streaming and/or how to configure their streams for optimal quality.

Third, producers starting to think about live webcasting.

Fourth, producers wanting to learn about HTML5 and WebM. The book details which encoding tools work well, and which to avoid.

Finally, the newbie who’s looking to get up to speed with streaming encoding concepts like bandwidth and data rate, and wants a big picture overview of encoding and distribution.

How current is the book?

Good question. This book is self published, so even though it came out on May 3, it includes announcements made at NAB in April, like Adobe’s including iOS distribution in the next version of the Flash Media Server. The book includes results from the 6.1 update for Telestream Episode, which I got in the middle of April. This was a significant release, since it cured significant issues with H.264 and WebM encoding.

What’s your background?

I’ve encoded video since 1992, have taught video production and encoding since 1994, and have about 14 books out on various aspects video production and streaming. I’m also a video producer, and shoot for DVD and streaming production, and produce a lot of screencams for multiple clients.

I’m a contributing editor of StreamingMedia Magazine and EventDV and blog for AV Technology Magazine, and was proud to be named a StreamingMedia All Star in 2010.


Chapter-by-Chapter Description

This book is for anyone seeking to efficiently produce high quality video for streaming over the Internet or for delivery via iTunes. It first covers the fundamentals of compression and streaming (Chapters 1 & 2), then discusses how to prioritize between target platforms such as Flash, HTML5, Apple iPhones and iPads and other mobile devices, both directly from the reader’s website and through third party services like online video platforms (OVPs).

The book then discusses producing H.264 video for various platforms, with extensive discussions of key H.264 configuration options (Chapter 3) as presented in popular encoding programs like Adobe Media Encoder, Apple Compressor, Microsoft Expression Encoder, Sorenson Squeeze and Telestream Episode Pro (Chapter 4). This includes specific recommendations for the resolution and data rate for H.264-encoded video, backed by charts detailing how various configurations of H.264 encoded files play back on a variety of Mac and Windows platforms, and an extensive look at the configurations used by prominent US and European media and corporate sites (Chapter 5)

In Chapter 6, the book tackles producing for iTunes, again based upon research gleaned from downloading and analyzing over 100 podcasts from high-profile podcast producers. The book provides detailed recommendations on issues like whether to produce single and multiple versions of podcasts, the appropriate configurations and detailed encoding parameters for podcasts of various resolutions. 

Adaptive streaming is one of the key technologies that enable web producers to provide a high quality of service to a range of viewers on multiple platforms. In Chapter 7, the book describes how adaptive streaming works, identifies the available technologies and provides highly detailed recommendations on the appropriate number of streams, their configurations and encoding details like VBR vs. CBR and key frame interval. 

Chapter 8 describes the H.264 quality, encoding speed and feature set of the most popular Mac and Windows H.264 encoding programs, with a look at both x264 and other H.264 codecs, while Chapter 9covers producing WebM, VP6 and Windows Media Video, including how the various encoding programs compare. Chapter 10 discusses distributing your video, describing how to choose between hosting videos on your own web site, hosting them on user generated content (UGC) sites or using an OVP. The Chapter then discusses how to chose a UGC or OVP partner.

Chapter 11 is the “live” Chapter, providing an overview of live event streaming, then digging in and discussing which webcast program to buy, which capture card to use, and when and how to use a portable streaming appliance. The Chapter includes an extensive discussion of choosing a third-party service to stream your live events, and concludes with a look at rich media communications, or platforms that combine PowerPoint, audio and video and audience participation features like surveys, quizzes and Q&A. 

The book closes with chapters detailing how to accelerate encoding on multiple-core workstations and LAN clusters (Chapter 12) and various tools for analyzing and debugging streaming video files (Chapter 13). 


Comments (9)

Said this on 05/06/2011 At 05:54 pm

Looking forward to an informative read!

Said this on 05/07/2011 At 06:36 am
Thanks, hope you find it useful.

Craig Seeman
Said this on 05/07/2011 At 04:12 pm

I'm looking forward to reading your always thorough documentation and attention to detail.


I hoping paperback purchasers will get an iBook/Kindle version in the future as well.

Said this on 05/08/2011 At 08:36 am


Thanks - given your prodigous proof-reading skills, I'm not looking forward to getting the list of corrections (sigh).


Wasn't aware that publishers were giving away iBook or Kindle versions for folks who bought the paper copies - can you point me to a book that's doing that? I have an iBook version that should come out in the next couple of weeks, but haven't gone through the process with Apple yet - still finalizing the ebook.

LMK, and thanks.


Said this on 05/11/2011 At 03:48 pm

Just ordered via Amazon!  Looking forward to learning more!  

Said this on 05/11/2011 At 04:23 pm

Thanks, I hope you find it useful.

Said this on 06/23/2011 At 02:46 pm

When will I be able to purchase an electronic copy of this book so I can read it on my iPad?

Said this on 06/23/2011 At 03:06 pm
Good question. I applied to Apple for the iBookstore about five weeks ago, and haven't heard a peep. Pretty frustrating. I'm investigating third party alternatives and hope to make a decision in the next week or so.

Sorry so long, thanks for your interest.

Said this on 07/08/2011 At 04:23 am

Why no mention of the following on your website ?

Emblaze has recently informed the IETF on 28 June 2011 that use of a new standard for HTTP live streaming requires a licence from Emblaze
Herzeliya, Israel, 28 June 2011 - Emblaze has recently informed the IETF that a
proposed draft of HTTP Live Streaming, which the IETF is now considering,
incorporates Emblaze's patented streaming technology and, therefore, the use of
this technology is not free and is subject to a license from Emblaze.

This draft of HTTP Live Streaming was offered to IETF by Apple Inc.

Last year, Emblaze filed a claim in a U.S. federal court charging Apple with
infringement of Emblaze's Network Media Streaming for live streaming
technology, patent number US639473.

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