1 Reply Latest reply on Mar 9, 2010 5:54 AM by Francisc

    Poor webcam quality - Solutions?




      We've developed a web application in Flex (using ActionScript 3 netStream method) for a 1 to 1 video chat, using the webcam.


      We are able to stream it properly (using either Red5 and Wowza server), but the quality does not look good at all (320 x 240, 300 Kbps, 15 fps), despite the fact that we tried it with 2 top-notch webcams (Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000 and Microsoft Lifecam Cinema). We tried tweaking the parameters (quality x bandwidth), but the quality is still surprisingly poor. We were told that the Flash Player encodes using an outdated Sorenson Sparks codec, which can't possibly be compared to the more current VP6 and H.264.


      Just out of curiosity, we decided to use Flash Media Encoder 3 to generate a live stream from the very same computer, with the very same webcams, at the very same video specs, running either with VP6 and H.264 codecs. The quality is much, much better than the one using the ActionScript 3 netstream approach. The difference is amazing!


      So this leads us to believe that the problem is indeed in the "encoder"/codec; Flash Media Encoder seems to be much for efficient in generating a high quality video stream, compared to ActionScript 3.


      Since our goal is to have non-technical end-users streaming from webcams, installing Flash Media Encoder on each end user machine is impossible, so we really need this to work on the browser, via Action Script.


      So, my question is: how can generate streams encoded with more up to date codecs (h.264 preferably) from Flash? Do 3rd-party companies (MainConcept, On2, Sorenson, Kulatybe, Nanocosmos) provide any kind of solution/software/SDK that we can embed our Flash web application, so that our videochat can have a better video quality?


      Please bear in mind that, as I have said, it is very important that the “encoding engine” is embedded into the swf application, so that the end user does not need to install anything on his/her computer. Does this make any sense? Should we expect anything new in Flash 10.1 player regarding enconding quality?

      Thanks in advance,

      Helder Conde