Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Tuesday, August 18, 2009 -5:52PM

Your Say: HD video size poll

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Which would you rather see - large high-resolution HD videos that require some buffering time, or smaller videos that play immediately? In other words, what's more important to you - quality or the immediacy of playback start? Here are the two choices:

LARGE SIZE: HD 944 pixels wide, 4.8Mbps
SMALL SIZE: HD 626 pixels wide, 976Kbps

More large-size examples can be viewed at the HD videos page.

Please let me know your preference in the comments section below, your opinion will be helpful (since I post the videos solely for my visitors). I'm also seeking opinion on Facebook and on another forum. I'll encode all future videos at the setting the consensus indicates.

'Buffering time' means that the player waits for a large portion of the video clip to download before it starts playing. That prevents the video playback from 'outrunning' the downloaded data in the middle of watching the clip. If that happens, the video playback will stop to re-buffer. Right now, most visitors to this site see some buffering time before the HD videos play (the only ones that don't are those on very high-speed connections, like on fiber faster than 4Mbps). This is because HD clips are much larger and take longer to download/buffer than smaller conventional clips, such as on YouTube for example. I have a another encoding preset I use for a 626-pixel wide video at a lower bitrate (see second choice above). These clips usually don't require buffering on most high-speed connections.

To get the benefit of HD, the first choice lets you see more detail afforded by the resolution of the source video, while the second choice is more akin to standard definition, but doesn't have any buffering time before playback. I've played around with bitrate settings for the larger 944-pixel sizes, and anything below 4Mbps at that size really starts to pixelate and degrade the quality.

Thanks in advance for your input!

I dont mind waiting a few minutes for the HD video to load, So i think you should stay with the better video!
- Posted by Dave from England

I prefer the higher quality myself. However, I think many end user type clients prefer the faster loading time. One of the things I like about smugmug's HD video playback is that users can select the size they want to view.
- Posted by James Langford from

- Posted by Katie from Melrose, MA

I'd love to be able to offer multiple sizes, but that would mean encoding the video multiple times. Some of these take 5 to 15 minutes to encode even on my quad-core machine, and longer on my dual-core laptop when I'm on the road. Then there's the upload time of an additional 10 to 20 minutes depending on my connection. Most days I'm struggling to have the time to get one clip online. Flash doesn't yet support encoding multiple bitrates in a single file - otherwise that would be an ideal solution.
- Posted by Dan R. from Charleston, WV

HD please Dan
- Posted by Mick from UK

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