Coastsider videos are now available for Windows Media Player


Posted by on Sat, September 2, 2006

A little over five months ago we began offering videos on Coastsider. From important news to everyday life we have been able to bring you an unmatched window on Coastside.

For example, when Devil’s Slide was closed we were there the first full day of the closure, and videotaped the damage. We went back that Wednesday and Friday to show how the damage was increasing, even in the absence of vehicle traffic. Through our coverage readers on the Coastside could make their own assessment of the magnitude of the problem because they could see the damage, in detail, with their own eyes.

By contrast, the local TV stations in the City and over the hill gave a few seconds of video coverage of the damage. Our local newspaper carried a still photo of a locked Caltrans gate during that first critical week.

Viewer response to the videos has been overwhelmingly positive.

Now, as part of Coastsider.com’s upgrade process, we now offer our videos, from those Devil’s Slide videos on forward, in two formats: Quicktime and Windows Media Player (WMP). That means that if you don’t have access to a Quicktime 7 player, you can now see what you’ve been missing. In addition, the WMP files are smaller than the Quicktime files, which makes them especially suitable for those viewers with slower connections.  We still recommend Quicktime 7 for its superior quality, but if you can’t or prefer not to install it, you no longer have to.

Now nearly everyone with a computer should be able to enjoy the videos.

If you’re looking for more, click on the "Video" item on the menu under the Coastsider.com banner to see all of our past stories containing video. Here are a few of the most popular videos that you may have missed—enjoy!


Rather then WMV format something like

http://www.mediacollege.com/flash/media-player/

or other flash 8 based player might be really nice. No external codecs or tools required and the videos can be embedded in page which is a great touch.

Great work guys!

John-

I don’t understand why one closed proprietary format is recommended over two other closed proprietary formats.

“No external codecs or tools required” is a red herring, since the flash player itself must be installed, which isn’t always practical or desired.

I’d suggest an open standard.  About the closest that you can get these days is probably MPEG and DivX.  MPEG support is near universal.  Current levels of DivX provide astounding levels of compressing for high quality video.  The major downside is that DivX requires a decent speed machine to play back.  A 450 MHz machine might not do it.

On another note, I’d like to request that the videos be made available for download, as they were at the beginning.  If you want to play it again later, why download it again?  Some of these files seem to be hundreds of megabytes.  Also, people on dialup apparently have problems viewing these, and if the files could be downloaded they could be given on CD to friends who only have dialup.

MPEG and DiVX are far from universal.

All that a Flash interface gives is 100% access to the information.

I am not saying ‘one format to own them all’ but I think that there should be a variety of options and in-page Flash based systems are easy to use for -everyone-, lend themselves to nice design and generally work really well.

DiVx requires downloads, codec installs and player configuration at times. It also can cripple other subsytems if you install the wrong codec pack etc etc.

I love ‘Open Standards’ but I love accessibility more.. WMV can be accessible but often is not to those who run older versions of the player or lack the proper codecs installed etc.

Flash, during encoding, provides all required codecs and other information required.

So if I had a vote (thank goodness I dont I guess) I’d love to see in page flash a la YouTube/GoogleVideo with WMV or MPEG downloads made available for offline archiving and future generations.

And something like 85% of all PC’s have Flash installed. DiVx install based does not even approach these numbers. Does my wife know what DivX is? Can she play it? Nope, no clue but she sure as heck can send me links to YouTube..

Beyond that, a Flash install is -far- less invasive then a DivX install.

Not everyone is an alpha nerd unfortunately ;)

John-

MPEG and DiVX are far from universal.

They’re the closest thing to universal that you will see in today’s world of digital video.  Now you can even buy DVD players which will play DivX.  I haven’t seen one that’ll play Flash.

All that a Flash interface gives is 100% access to the information.

I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.

I sent a url to a friend of mine who doesn’t run Winblows and he couldn’t view the page because he won’t install flash.

DiVx requires downloads, codec installs and player configuration at times.

Flash requires a download.  The only difference is that it (usually) downloads and installs automatically.

It also can cripple other subsytems if you install the wrong codec pack etc etc.

Huh?  Who ever installes codec packs?  You download the DivX codec alone directly from their web site.  I guess you’ve never seen Flash break your web browser or crash your system…

love ‘Open Standards’ but I love accessibility more.. WMV can be accessible but often is not to those who run older versions of the player or lack the proper codecs installed etc.

That statement does not support favoring Flash over other alternatives.  In fact, substitute “Flash” for “WMV” and the statement is just as valid.

Flash, during encoding, provides all required codecs and other information required.

Yeah, all you have to do is download and install black box software into your web browser.

And something like 85% of all PC’s have Flash installed.

Really?  How do you know that?  And are you only counting Winblows PCs?

DiVx install based does not even approach these numbers.

Irrelevant, whether or not it’s true.  Most of the standalone digital video on the net which isn’t in the hideously disgusting WMV format is DivX format.

I’ve seen near-DVD-quality full-length DivX movies which fit on a single CD.  No other format can do that.

Does my wife know what DivX is? Can she play it? Nope, no clue

Only true because she hasn’t needed to know.  Can she view a PDF?  You have to download and install a separate program for that, just like for DivX.

Beyond that, a Flash install is -far- less invasive then a DivX install.

I totally disagree.  And Flash is far more dangerous than DivX.  DivX doesn’t use JavaScript.

John and Leonard,

Thanks for the interesting discussion of Flash and other video formats. As you know, there is quite a bit of debate on the question of the proper video format for web display. There are, as you suggest, a large number of factors to consider, from quality, size, download speed issues, to the need to install additional software, to long-term viewability.

It’s a complicated question with no clear answer.

But it seems that both of you are able to view the videos—if so then my goal has been achieved.

Leonard, the videos do download (to your cache)—these are not being streamed. You should be able to play them again without re-downloading them. Check your settings and e-mail me if the problem continues. Indeed, if you do reload them you should be able play them again with little to no wait, assuming you are not using a dial-up connection.

Thanks,

—Darin

Comment 6
Mon, September 4, 2006 10:10pm
Leonard Woren
All my comments

Darin - I’m not referring to watching it again immediately—clearly that works fine.  Suppose that I want to watch it again some time later, after it’s been pushed out of the cache or I’ve had to clear the cache to solve some other problem?  And that also doesn’t address the issue of how to get it to people who are on slow connections.

Once upon a time I could search the cache and copy the file to a more permanent location.  But the latest QT is storing it in a protected format so that it can’t be played with the standalone player.  (This is a ruse to force people to buy the professional version, which will allow saving a copy.)  Speaking of which, when you changed it to require the latest QT player I was forced to install this big pile of stuff including iTunes which I don’t want, as it has yet another always-running process with no provision for turning it off.

Your “goal may have been achieved”, but at the cost of resentment of the extra junk that I now have to have running on my machine.  I would never have installed Quicktime/iTunes except for my desire to view your videos.

You also raise another issue—will these be viewable in the future?  I have some clips which are little more than a decade old, in proprietary formats GL, DL, and maybe others.  I don’t think that there are any players for them which run on current operating systems.  I would speculate that there is no chance that 50 years from now you will be able to play any current digital video with the likely exception of DVD (and therefore MPEG), and the vague possibility of DivX.  WMV, RM, QT, etc will all be as dead as GL, DL, FLI are today and they’re less than 20 years old.

Which reminds me, I need to copy my 5.25” floppies before I junk my 486 running OS/2.

Comment 7
Mon, September 4, 2006 10:28pm
Darin Boville
All my comments

Hi Leonard,

Before you embark on you floppy conversion project have a look at your Quicktime controls at the bottom of the video. Is there a downward-pointing triangle on the right? There is a “Save As…” command there—it might be available only on the “Pro” version of Quicktime—a mere $29. There are probably freeware solutions available.

Of course, keep in mind that these videos are copyrighted (note: this is different from the rest of Coastsider which is protected under a Creative Commons License—see link at bottom of page). You are certainly free to save a copy for your individual personal use—but please no editing or hosting of the videos, etc.

I’m glad you like the videos!

—Darin