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Flash is your best option as most computers already have it installed.
What format is youtube in, do you know? It is Flash?
YouTube uses Flash.
Recent versions of Internet Explorer were including the Flash player as standard during updates. That way it didn't require the user to download any sort of player. However, now that MS has released Silverlight, their supposed Flash killer, they're no longer doing that and any new users will have to download the player.
The problem is, and it's something we've seen for years in this field, there's no one all-encompassing video format for cross-platform. Flash is probably closest, but until the Adobe Media Player is released properly it's only really good for embedded videos. WMV and Real have versatility, but WMV isn't Mac and Linux friendly and Real still requires a player download (and personal information).
My thinking is that one of two things is going to happen in the mid term future (which doesn't help you at all right at this moment);
Silverlight takes off as a platform, allowing content creators to use a lot of their legacy content (a heap of old web video is in WMV format), embed their files for streaming and make the same content available as downloadable clips for whatever the next generation of Zune will be.
Adobe Media Player comes along allowing Flash content to create rich media applications on the desktop. With the FLV format allowing the use of H.264 instead of just On2 VP6 there's all sorts of options for creating streaming and downloadable content for the countless iPods/iPhones out there.
Anyone got a coin?
As for your problem, I think you may need to be creating two versions of your content; one for streaming/progressive download using FLV files in a Flash player, and, depending on what you think your market is, a downloadable version that is perhaps better quality (higher resolution, higher bit rate) in a format like WMV (Windows being the more common operating system out there).
It's very difficult to say which platform is best without knowing more about your requirements.