A quick glance at the present-day internet would seem to indicate that Adobe Flash is the obvious choice for embedding video in a web page. Is this accurate, or are they other effective choices? Does the choice of ASP.NET as a platform influence this decision?

+12  A: 

Flash is certainly the most ubiquitous and portable solution. 98% of browsers have Flash installed. Other alternatives are Quicktime, Windows Media Player, or even Silverlight (Microsoft's Flash competitor, which can be used to embed several video formats).

I would recommend using Flash (and it's FLV video file format) for embedding your video unless you have very specific requirements as far as video quality or DRM.

+3  A: 

Flash is usually the product of choice: Everyone has it, and using the JW FLV Player makes it relatively easy on your side.

As for other Video Formats, there are WMV and QuickTime, but the players are rather "heavy", not everyone might have them and they feel so 1990ish...

Real Player... Don't let me even start ranting about that pile of ...

The only other alternative of Flash that I would personally consider is Silverlight, which allows streaming WMV Videos. I found the production of WMV much better and easier than FLV because all Windows FLV Encoders I tried are not really good and stable, whereas pretty much every tool can natively output WMV. The problem with Silverlight is that no one has that Browser Plugin (yet?). There is also a player from JW.

Michael Stum

I have worked for a company that developed a system for distributing media content to dedicated "players". It was web based and used ASP.NET technology and have tried almost every possible media format you can think of and your choice really comes down to asking yourself:

does it needs to play directly out of the box, or can I make sure that the components required to play the videos can be installed beforehand?

If your answer is that it needs to play out of the box then really your only option is flash (I know that it is not installed by default, but most will already have it installed)

If it is not a big issue that extra components are needed then you can go with formats that are supported by windows media player

The reason why windows media player falls into the second option is because for some browsers and some formats extra components must be installed.

We had the luxury that the "players" were provided by us, so we could go for the second option, however even we tried to convert as much as possible back to flash because it handles way better than windows media player


One consideration would be whether video playback is via progressive download or streaming. If it's progressive download, then I would say use Flash because you get a wider audience reach.

For streaming wmv, it is out of the box functionality provided by Windows Media Services

For streaming flash, you will have to install a streaming server on your Windows box. Some options are:

Edmund Tay
+1  A: 
<object width="660" height="525"><param name="movie" value=";hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;color1=0x006699&amp;color2=0x54abd6&amp;border=1"&gt;&lt;/param&gt;&lt;param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src=";hl=en&amp;fs=1&amp;color1=0x006699&amp;color2=0x54abd6&amp;border=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="660" height="525"></embed></object>

"Does the choice of ASP.NET as a platform influence this decision?"

Probably not.

+1  A: 

If you have access to Microsoft Expression Encoder 2, you can use that to encode a video file and generate a Silverlight video player. Then if you have IIS 7, you can use Adaptive or Smooth Streaming also checkout Smooth HD for a really cool example.

You can also do streaming from the free Microsoft Silverlight Streaming Service. It's connected to a Windows Live account.

A consideration is that the client will need to have Silverlight installed, just like Flash, but Flash has been around longer.