14 Replies Latest reply: Nov 22, 2005 5:00 PM by bjw
bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
I find this very confusing. what is the difference between using h.264 in a .mov file and using it in a .mp4 file.
Is MP4 both a container file and a codec?

I am sold on h.264, but now I don't know which to use it in: Export to QT Movie or Export to mp4.

Dual 1.8 G5, Mac OS X (10.4.3), 1.5 GB RAM, iPod, iPod Mini
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    The difference is that .mov is a container. MPEG-4 is a container with standards.
    H.264 can be used in both containers but only one of them may be around in ten years time.
    .AVI is a container with no rules. DivX is a codec that wants to become a container.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    Thanks QTK.

    I ran the Automator last night to turn a bunch of tv shows into mp4. Pretty cool to wake up and see them all done.

    I'll read the links you sent - but is there some major reason Apple is still pushing the mov container instead of the mp4 container?
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    I don't think Apple is "pushing" the .mov extension over the .mp4 extension. The issue about MPEG-4 (and .mp4 files) is one of Microsoft's refusal to follow the standards and the attempt to create their own.
    Many .mp4 files created using Windows software use "proprietary" Microsoft codecs that do not comply. People will soon be very confused (like the way it is today with .avi files).
    Another issue is the browser plug-in. Users must "set" the plug-in (MIME Settings) to handle .mp4 extension. It is turned off during a default install of QT.
    A Web visitor (first time visit to a page holding an .mp4) may have the file "download", open in a new browser window or even in a different application other than QT.
    Whenever I use MPEG-4 settings in my projects destined for Web use I always use the .mov container.
    Next year will bring the first MPEG-4 DVD's and some broadcasters are already using H.264 for set top boxes (convertors for HD signals).
    One day the .mov format will seem about as relevant as DOS. We aren't there yet.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    Thanks for all that QTK.

    Even when I know my audience I get aggravated with embedding QT for Windows users. Granted, my pages are as simple as possible and I don't have multiple versions of the page for different browsers etc. But when you know specific audience members have recently installed QT7 and the page doesn't invoke QT it makes me want to pull my hair out!
    I'm hijacking my own thread.
    I don't want to spend a ton of time researching web delivery and sometimes in the end I end up converting content to wmv because the odds are better that my Windows audience will see it. You just never know how much "extra junk" a windows machine will have and what program will have taken the extension types.
    It seems like we're so close to being able to reliably deliver video with very little effort, but just far enough away to make it frustrating. So many times people tell me the page didn't open. Others have no trouble whatsoever. I welcome anything that helps standardize it.
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    Embedding QuickTime content is easy, if you follow the "rules":
    The plug-in (or lack of it) should trigger a Windows user to either the file or the download page for QuickTime.
    Using H.264 is a slightly different matter because the plug-in will "work" but confusing "messages" (component needed) may turn off some PC users (and many Mac users, too).
    I place a notice on my pages that says QuickTime 7 required to view and a link to the download page.
    Many computers can not install QuickTime 7 (it's not for everyone any longer). If you have the space and the bandwidth an alternative page, file format or download (or stream) may keep your visitors happy.
    But you don't see the Apple movie trailer pages apologizing for H.264 content. Viewers either "get it" or move on.
    Post a link for your pages and I'll look at the html code for errors. They're easy to spot.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    Some people have said it didn't load, and I know they have QT7. For most people it works fine.
    I put the links to QT7 too. The standalone installer.

    Here's the html for a simple page(sorry, I don't want to share the content!): http://thelamargroup.net/sample.txt
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    The problems PC users are having is caused by your page code.
    You've only used the embed tag and it is not supported by many browsers (IE for Windows).
    Read this page for more info regarding the "object" tag:
    If your viewers claim the get a "white" video (when you use H.264) but can hear sound they are not using QT 7.
    BTW, your example page didn't show a movie (file not found) but maybe you did that on purpose.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    I left the movie file out on purpose, yeah.

    Do you mean only IE for Windows supports the embed tag or or that it doesn't?

    Thanks, I'll take a look at the object tag...you've been very helpful.
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    Not only the "object" tag is required. You must also use the classid line of code and the codebase line to "trigger" ActiveX for a first time IE PC visitor.
    Once ActiveX has been "turned on" you only need the param tags. But, since you don't know if the visit is from a first timer, you should include it on any page that calls the plug-in.
  • Dick Napoli Level 6 Level 6 (9,740 points)
    Recent versions of Windows (and IE) require you to use the object tags. This freeware app will write both object and embed tags so the html it generates will work with both Mac and Windows browsers, regardless of the Operating System and browser they are using: PAGEot
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    Excellent, thanks.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    I'm trying PageOT and the resulting html works fine on the Mac side, but two Windows machines don't like it. I'm getting an error that says there's a problem in my plugin in IE.

    I can't believe MS expects people to insert those nasty classid codes into web pages. That is so unfriendly and inconvenient.

    Here is the code I am using now...
  • QuickTimeKirk Level 9 Level 9 (51,455 points)
    The code looks fine.
    Bookmark the other link I gave you because there are many more tricks you can learn from them.
    We Web content creators don't like the extra code either. The blame falls squarely on Microsoft.
  • bjw Level 4 Level 4 (1,325 points)
    Thanks again. I'm going to read all those links tonight. My Windows machine must be having an issue.

    When you look at how simple an embed tag is it makes the MS tag requirements ridiculous. I guess they didn't learn when everyone with a clue rejected Front Page.