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Insert Video Into a Mobile Web Page

If you host your videos on your own web server, you can embed them into your pages by using HTML video, audio, and source tags. Whether you host your videos yourself, use a high-end content delivery network (CDN), or a video hosting service, such as YouTube, it’s helpful to understand what formats work best on the web.

One challenge in working with video on the mobile web is choosing the best format. This list briefly describes the most common digital video formats and their file extensions.

These formats work on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

  • MPEG-4: Fast becoming the standard format that users upload to video sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo, MPEG-4 plays well on mobile devices. Also, users don’t need a plug-in to play video in MPEG-4 format on desktop computers, even Windows machines. The MPEG-4 format, based on the QuickTime format, adds MPEG features that QuickTime doesn’t support.

  • M4V: Most video distributed by way of iTunes is stored in the M4V format. It provides extra digital rights management (DRM) security protection so that files cannot easily be pirated and supports higher-quality audio than the standard MP4.

  • Motion-JPEG: Another format supported by the iPhone/iPad is M-JPEG. Before MPEG-4, Motion-JPEG was commonly used to capture video with digital cameras. This format is also supported by many game consoles, including PlayStation and Nintendo Wii.

  • MOV: Created by Apple, .mov files are typically associated with QuickTime because they play in the QuickTime player. This video format, which uses the .mov extension, has long been popular with Macintosh users because the player is built into the Mac operating system. (QuickTime files can be viewed on Windows computers by using the QuickTime Player.)

These popular video formats do not play on the Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod:

  • Flash video: As of this writing, Flash doesn’t work in the Safari browser on an iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Nothing. Nada. No video. In Safari on the Apple iOS, video in the Flash format doesn’t even appear.

    It’s an unfortunate turn for many video enthusiasts because the Flash Player is such a popular format on the rest of the web. Videos converted into the Adobe Flash Video format use the .flv extension. In the future, apps may play Flash video on the iPhone and iPad, but so far nothing has come along that looks like it will save Flash on the Apple iOS.

  • AVI: Created by Microsoft, the Audio Video Interleave (AVI) .avi format is one the most common video formats on Windows computers. Many video editing programs capture footage from digital cameras into the .avi format before rendering it into other formats.

  • Windows Media Video: Developed by Microsoft and popular on PCs, files in the Windows Media Video format use the .wmv extension.

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