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Video Formats

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Created: Nokia Ron (15 Mar 2007)
Last edited: hamishwillee (14 Jun 2013)


Many mobile phones support the playing of video clips. The two main formats used are MP4 and 3GPP. The MP4 are often downloaded from the Internet and often created by commercial companies. MP4 needs special tools because this is movie quality code. Many people ask why MP4 is not available for development emulators. The easy answer is licensing and royalty payments to the owners of the format MPEG (Movie Producers Entertainment Group).

The format 3GPP is commonly used in mobile phones and this is the format which is available in Nokia Series 40 devices, for example, the Nokia 6230i, and in S60 devices, as the Nokia 6630. The 3GPP video format has a lower resolution but can be much longer in playing and record times than MP4. Typical resolutions are 128x96 and 176x144.

The quality of the cameras on phones is increasing and the latest phones, like the Nokia N95, now use MP4 format as the standard recording format because the video is of such a high quality. The standard resolutions are 352x288 and 640x480. Nokia has produced many tools for conversion of the many video files formats into formats supported on mobile phones. An example of such a utility is Nokia Multimedia Converter

The technology for watching Live TV exists and the Nokia Nseries and Eseries mobile phones that have support for the 3G networks can play Live TV streams of Sport. These streams can be expensive to use, but often contain content which may not be available elsewhere.

There is a trend for people to stream content from the Internet because this gives the user almost instant access and download costs are limited to the amount you view. If you download a ten minute clip only to find that you have no use for this after the first minute, you have wasted the cost of nine minutes which can be expensive on a mobile phone. For the supplier of the content they retain control of the content distribution.

On the downside - streaming video over a mobile connection can be difficult, as network latency and general connection quality can impact the experience.

There are two servers which have non-commercial versions. These can run on home PC. The Apple Darwin Server and the Helix DNA server. You will need to register for an account but setup is very easy.

The Darwin Server uses an Apple program called Quick Time Professional which is an upgrade which needs payment, but provides the ability to turn clips into streaming content.

On the horizon is support within Flash Lite FLV playback which is quickly becoming the defacto standard for internet streaming video.

This page was last modified on 14 June 2013, at 04:54.
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