Today started out like every other weekday. I selected an app to review; one that I like and use. But quickly I ran into issues that highlighted a larger problem. Video on the internet remains a mess.
First of all, let me point you to Movist, a Mac media player which does more than QuickTime Player to justify the few dollars on the price tag. Movist handles H.264 video files with ease, does multiple windows, works as the Desktop background video, accepts customizable themes, does not support QuickTime’s decoder, but does use the popular FFmpeg decoder instead. That means Movist can handle many video files not handled by QuickTime.
The real value to Movist, though, is subtitles, where it excels, handling multiple subtitle formats, compressed, or embedded in .mp4 or .mkv files. Up to three subtitles can be displayed, and there’s language-to-subtitle binding. So, if you need video file formats not handled by QuickTime Player, and you have subtitle requirements, Movist is a decent choice, priced modestly, and unfortunately highlights a growing problem on the web.
The Movist developer’s website is ‘under construction.’ That’s not a good way to promote a Mac app.
Finally, the real underlying issue is with all the crazy web video formats Mac and Windows PC users need to muck around with. QuickTime handles the more popular formats, but web video is still a big mess. H.264 has grown in popularity and usage, while H.265, which doubles the data compression ratio but delivers the same video quality is coming.
Worse, Flash isn’t dead. Yet. Here we are in 2015 and I still bump into many websites using my iPad, iPhone, and Mac which require a Flash player. Worse, Google is pushing its new VP8 video codec, supported by newer versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Opera, but not Apple’s Safari. It takes little effort to encounter half a dozen different web video formats during a browsing session these days.
Audio seems to be as much of a mess with many competing audio formats, but nearly every device plays MP3’s, most play AAC (MP4) with ease, and anything else is just icing on the cake or a waste of time, depending on your perspective.
Video on the web is a sad situation made sadder by the fact that all the big players in the computer arena– Microsoft, Apple, Google, and minor players including Opera, Mozilla, and a few others– can’t agree or won’t agree on a single particular standard of video that works everywhere, all the time, and can’t agree on a roadmap for the future of video.
Why can’t we all just get along?