HD on the web - The Great Debate!

Colin Rowntree
Over the past year, we've all seen the huge increase in adults sites offering HD video content. It started out with promises on paysite tours that the 720p videos await in the member's area. But, as with all "mission creep" in our highly competitive industry, HD clips are being generously offered as free promotional content by almost every major program.

So, this now leads to a somewhat ironic parallel between the DVD war between HD TV and Blue Ray formats, and the quandary of which encoding platform to offer on the web: WMV HD or Flash?

Pros for WMV? Surfers like them because they can download them!

Cons for WMV? File sizes are huge and there continues to be a substantial player failure rate if the surfer doesn't have exactly the right codecs. Oh, and let's not forget the pesky Mac issue: Quicktime for Mac will not play WMV's without the end-user finding and installing Flip4Mac.

Pros for Flash? Although some surfers don't like them because they can't download them, Flash has an extremely high penetration rate on both Windows and Mac machines and if the videos were encoded correctly, they play flawlessly. And let's not forget about the file size saving of up to 50% over WMV with no loss in video quality.

Cons for Flash? Well, anybody that has tried to encode in Flash will know that processing time is deathly slow! Average 1:9 time ratio, which results in a one hour film taking 9 hours to encode. YIKES! Oh, and not to forget that if you put them in the member's area instead of downloadable WMV videos, cancellations and complaints will result in biblical proportions!

Wasteland.com offers both HD formats, depending on the site purpose (i.e. free sites get Flash only, member's area get both) and, although time consuming and bandwidth intensive, seems to strike a good balance.

So, now that these XBiz blogs have added the fun feature of you being able to post comments, pipe in with your experience and opinions!