Streaming Video

I described the problem I experienced in finding a place to upload a large AVI file in this post the other day. This morning I’ve discovered another alternative.

My web hosting company, Dreamhost, has a converter that you can use to convert an AVI file to an FLV file which can then be embedded into a post. However, I mistakenly thought they imposed a 100 MB limit on the size of the file I could upload to them as do most other sites that host videos on the ‘net. That turned out to be an invalid assumption. Using my FTP program, I found that I was able to upload the AVI file in question to my website without encountering the limit that I had thought existed. The primary downside of doing that, however, is that it took 45 minutes to upload that 121 MB file, given that my connection to the Internet is, like most plans, asymmetric meaning that, although the download speed is blindingly fast, the upload speed is anything but.

After having gone to that trouble, I then discovered a free converter that I could download and install that would enable me to convert the file before I uploaded it. Once an AVI file is converted to FLV format, it is about 3% the size of the original which means less space is required to store it on my website and, equally importantly, there is also a corresponding benefit in a shorter upload time. The free converter I found is called Riva FLV Encoder. Just to illustrate the difference, compare the file sizes indicated for the two versions of the same video in the following graphic.

FLV file size

I am partial to free things and use them whenever possible. (Some might call that being “cheap,” but I prefer to think of it as the wise conservation of resources.) The Riva Encoder therefore seems like it might be quite useful to me when I want to share videos that I’ve shot. For those videos I encounter that are stored elsewhere on the ‘net, I can continue to either link to them or embed them here. The advantage, however, of having a video stored on my own website is that the page should load faster and delivering the video won’t be so dependent on another site’s responsiveness.

It always pleases me to discover something like this. I suppose that means I am easily pleased.

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