Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media Social Networks Youtube Apple

Facebook Is Transcoding Video For iPad 277

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the only-a-matter-of-time dept.
Stoobalou sounds another death knell for Flash video. He says "Another heavy user of Adobe's video streaming software Flash is now pandering to the all-powerful iPad. Everybody's favourite waste of time, social notworking monster Facebook, is now streaming user videos to Apple's second coming of the portable computer with no sign of Flash in sight."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Facebook Is Transcoding Video For iPad

Comments Filter:
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:46AM (#32015852) Journal
    "Death gong?" "No sign of Flash in sight?" I don't quite see how this news equates to any such hyperbole.

    I just checked videos my friend put of me drunk out of my mind "singing" karaoke Killers songs (no, I will not provide a link) and sure enough they're in Flash player 10 through my Firefox browser. Since it's allegedly transcoding this real time from Flash to MP4 when it detects the mobile Safari browser, I would claim that Flash is not only very much in sight but it is the default encoding on Facebook -- keeping it very much alive. At least that's what I gather from my experience in my browser.

    The decision to keep Flash off of some Apple mobile products was Apple's decision and Apple's alone. Do you think Facebook enjoys this overhead transcoding cost of its videos? I highly doubt it. I think this is a case of Facebook trying to building a unified cross platform experience for users (and I don't often speak kindly of Facebook) not their agreement to obsolete Flash video. I impatiently await HTML5 and more open video and audio codecs in all senses of the word 'open.'
    • by magsol (1406749)
      I don't quite see how this news equates to any such hyperbole.

      That, and the "social notworking" commentary. Unless it was a typo. In which case, someone needs to add that to the entry's tag list.
    • by moosesocks (264553) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:58AM (#32016098) Homepage

      Facebook may very well already be encoding its videos in H.264 (which is supported by Flash). In this case, all they need to do is to wrap the files into an MP4 container, with no transcoding necessary.

      YouTube already supports this, and I imagine, will begin to do it by default in the near future.

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:12PM (#32016388) Journal

        Facebook may very well already be encoding its videos in H.264 (which is supported by Flash). In this case, all they need to do is to wrap the files into an MP4 container, with no transcoding necessary.

        YouTube already supports this, and I imagine, will begin to do it by default in the near future.

        Thanks for straightening me out. Well, I suppose that's what I get for reading the article:

        So rather than using HTML5, Facebook is actually detecting that the iPad's Safari browser is in the mix, and is transcoding the original video format to MP4 on the fly.

        I constantly forget about the container when dealing with video and audio file formats ... you would think I would have learned by now after using VLC so much to stream internet radio stations to both MP3 and Ogg formats for replay later with no internet connection. Could somebody explain to me what the container brings? I understand we gain compression and save space with the encoding of the material but why are there so many containers that describe how that encoding is stored? What trade offs do these containers bring and why are they so goddamn proprietary when they seem to provide little real value for the actual data being stored? It's simply some meta data about the actual data so why is it such a thorn in everyone's side? I don't develop in this realm so please tolerate my ineptitude and help me out here. It often confusese me [slashdot.org] relentlessly [slashdot.org] and I am dumbfounded at how these two things are mired in litigation.

        • by BradleyUffner (103496) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:38PM (#32016882) Homepage

          Could somebody explain to me what the container brings?

          My understanding is that some containers bring features such as multiple audio tracks, multiple sub titles. The sound and video are stored separately inside the container (this is why sound can get out of sync sometimes, they are 2 separate streams of data playing simultaneously). Some containers like mkv can provide different auto streams for things like different languages, as well as subtitles and many many other different kinds of metadata. The container is almost like a zip archive with all the different parts living inside it with additional data storage.

        • MP3 is a container which contains MP3 encoded audio. Likewise, Ogg Vorbis is Vorbis encoded audio in an Ogg container. The container tells your media player what type of data stream is in there, and provides various rudimentary features for different applications. A raw Vorbis audio stream would be incomprehensible if you start playing it from the middle without a container. As someone else has suggested, it'd be like trying to untar a tarball starting from the middle without knowing where the files are. Or
        • by Mr. DOS (1276020) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:01PM (#32018354)

          Basically, a container serves to package up multiple streams of data (H.264 video, AAC audio, etc.) into one file with an index (for jumping around and maybe indicating chapters), subtitles, etc. As for the “what's what” of containers, Wikipedia has a nice comparison table [wikipedia.org] available.

    • by rhsanborn (773855)
      Any idea which has more overhead for Facebook? Maybe they are serving MP4 to iPads because they have to, but perhaps as more get converted, they'll serve already converted videos as MP4 instead of Flash... i.e. if someone views that video of your friend on an iPad, it would be interesting to see if they still serve it in flash afterward to everyone else.
    • I would claim that Flash is not only very much in sight but it is the default encoding on Facebook -- keeping it very much alive... Do you think Facebook enjoys this overhead transcoding cost of its videos? I highly doubt it. I think this is a case of Facebook trying to building a unified cross platform experience for users...

      Right, so Facebook capitulating means they recognize the importance of reaching customers without Flash and will do what it takes to reach them. They cant enjoy the overhead or complexity, so this is sign that Facebook will quite likely move to HTML5 for video in the future. It's nice when Apple's business goals line up with the best interests of users in the long term by promoting adoption of open standards.

    • by kencurry (471519)

      "Death gong?" "No sign of Flash in sight?" I don't quite see how this news equates to any such hyperbole. I just checked videos my friend put of me drunk out of my mind "singing" karaoke Killers songs (no, I will not provide a link) ...'

      This is your boss, please see HR immediately.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:49AM (#32015928)

    The Flash video used on Facebook is already H.264 video and AAC audio, just in a FLV container. All they really need to do with these is remux everything. I'm assuming they'll just remux into an MP4 or MOV container.

    • by PhillC (84728)
      Actually, is it even in an FLV container? I don't watch video on Facebook, so I don't know. What I do know is that H.264 in a MOV or MP4 container, works just as well in Flash as H.264 in an FLV container. If historic content is in an FLV container, perhaps for new content they just changed the default container, so no remuxing is necessary at all.
  • So you don't like Facebook. We get it. But would it have been so hard to write an unbiased summary? Some of us use Facebook and we a) actually don't mind it so much, and b) wouldn't really call it a "waste of time". Even if it does break sometimes :-)
  • I'm sorry but.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I just have to laugh at "the all-powerful iPad"
    LMAO!
  • To Kill Flash (Score:3, Informative)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@h ... m ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:54AM (#32016024)
    it takes Facebook, Apple & Google.

    MAYBE. Don't hold your breath.
  • by Scholasticus (567646) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:55AM (#32016028) Journal
    What's up with this nasty summary? "Social notworking site"? I have no interest in Facebook, but why do we get these unprofessional summaries in this news aggregator? Oh right. Slashdot. Never mind.
    • The last couple of days one in three summaries seems to contain some rather cheap sniping at either Apple or Facebook. News for Nerds indeed. Well, it tends to create flamestorms which surely are good for page hits and ad revenue.
    • by Megaweapon (25185)

      Slashdot hasn't been Taco's site for some time now. He's solely trolling for page hits for his superior's ad revenue.

  • Here we go again (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vikingpower (768921)
    The whole hype about the fucking iPad. And about Flash. And about Facebook. C'mon. Get a life, cmdrTaco !
  • I can see this sort of solution work for HTML5 as well. Letting servers transcode video files will result in all users on all platforms having access to all video content, without the need for a default codec that everyone can agree upon. It will require massive computing power, but there are already services which provide this functionality, like Bits on the Run [bitsontherun.com].

    Of course it would be a lot nicer if we could agree upon a codec, but I don't see it actually happening though.

  • by edremy (36408) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:03PM (#32016202) Journal
    then I'll start to believe that Flash might die.
  • Why should they transcode the video? I mean the flash plugin already play h264, and MP4 also contains use so no need to transcode. It is simply a case of serving the files directly to the browser, instead of having a flash plugin reading the file. (Been there, done that there is no reason to transcode anything)

  • This article summary is full of flamebait language. I could start getting into the flamewar but honestly I'd just rather point it out.

    By the way, I find it amusing that everyone thinks Flash is God's child now. I thought we all hated flash? Isn't HTML 5 better?

  • Pander, much? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Angst Badger (8636) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:09PM (#32016316)

    A website implemented some UI changes to accommodate a popular mobile device. Stop the presses!

    • It's not even that. It's "A website implemented some UI changes which make its content more open and available to a wider range of devices, including several popular mobile devices."

      The summary is just snarky flamebait.

  • But I can not believe it is just for the iPad. OK it may sell well but overall it must be more of the iPad having a problem not being able to play video from Facebook than the other way around.

    There will be more reasons behind it. The iPhone would be more reasonable already (many more sold). Or maybe Facebook themselves want to get rid of Flash but don't want to say it directly?

    All and all it's a great excuse. The iPad is high in the minds of many people, so it's easy to ride the wave and to "blame the iP

    • I think it was done because it was a fairly simple fix to allow the largest possible number of devices to communicate with their platform.
  • Not called HTML 5? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kabloom (755503) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:20PM (#32016512) Homepage

    Why is Facebook's technique not called HTML5? I guess they're not serving it up to everybody, but when they detect an iPad, are they purposely avoiding the video tag and using the object tag instead?

  • Just ask Eve or her witless companion, Adam.
  • As someone who uses debian GNU/Linux on powerPC architecture (no Flash support from Adobe) my online experience will be much better if fewer websites used Flash. Good riddance, I say.
  • At least they're not using Real Media. Some Stanford lectures are in .rm format, probably because that seemed like a good idea back in 1998. Since Real Player is generally considered malware, I don't want to install it, and am slowly running lectures through a transcoder into .MP4 format.

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up.

Working...