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If it does not detect the Flash pluggin in the viewers browser, it let's the HTML do it's thing... displaying whatever alternate content was placed in the same <div> as the Flash content.
So nothing what so ever to do with the actual playing of the video. For that you need to supply code to place a .swf video player (either one that you created or one the you downloaded) on the Web page.
There can be many variation of swfobject implementation... a custom .swf video player and alternate html content, a downloaded .swf video player and no alternate content, a .swf video player with a fallback to HTML5 video, or even a .swf video player with alternate content of a QuickTime player.
It not possible to say exactly what is the situation in your case without seeing all the code for the page.
But swfobject does not "stream" or in any way play Flash video.
Here is my code below -- in checking it I discovered that of the 3 'embedding methods' that the JW Player I downloaded offers, I'm not using the SWFObject after all - using SWFObject was one of the JW Player's 'embed' options but I'm using the technique they call 'JW Embedder' and the code I put on my index.php file looks like this (and my user's browsers are successfully able to play .mp4 and .FLV video files I have on my server when they navigate their browser to my website and its index.php file):
NOTE: in order for this code to work, the JW Player installation documentation told me to put three of their files into my web server folder inside a new folder called 'jwplayer':
The jwplayer.js file and the player.swf files are the largest (100k each) but I looked inside these two files.
I do not see any code that renders all these different video formats (.3gp, .FLV, .mp4).
I just don't see how these two 100k-byte files could *possibly* have all the code required to play these different video formats and send them streaming to the Adobe Flash plug-in on my user's computer.
This is why I still have to ask "where is the video rendering code? where does it live?"
This JW Player setup above, by that I mean the html and the 3 filenames above -- somehow can play many different videos:
I've written rendering code in C++ for Windows in a past life. No way could I fit video rendering code for all these file formats
inside a couple of 100Kbyte files (jwplayer.js and player.swf).
So I"m still wondering -- where is the video rendering logic?
The short answer is that in Web browsers with the Flash pluggin, the .swf file (the video player) communicates with that pluggin to play those video formats that you mentioned. The pluggin provides the horsepower, the .swf video player provides the steering and brakes. So it takes both.
But, if your pluggin is an older version of "Shockwave Flash Object", you will NOT be able to play all those video file formats, even if you have the latest version of the JW PLayer.... again, it takes both.
So just because you get all those video formats to work on your machine does not mean that they will work on every other viewers machine. They will need one of the latest versions of the Flash pluggin.. check the JW Player specs to be exact.
You can "manage" (turn ON and OFF) your Flash pluggin as well as check which version you have installed on your browser by going to the main menu of your browser then "Tools", "Add Ons", or "Manage Add Ons" depending on your browser. Look for "Shockwave Flash Object", check version, or turn off to test your alt content. And believe me, this alt content is THE most overlooked, yet most POWERFUL aspect of using swfobject.
By turning your Flash pluggin off, you can test to see if swfobject is allowing any alternate content (provided there IS alternate content) to display... that's how swfobject is suppose to work.
But the best reason for using swfobject is not to display the Flash... it's not needed at all for that, but rather to allow you to provide alternate HTML content which may or may not be needed for display of the page BUT is always indexed by search engines! OOOHHH.. now a whole new aspect enters the picture!
So you have a Flash video.. people with Flash see it, those without don't... so what's the big deal?
WEELLLLL... by using swfobject for Flash detection, you can provide whatever alternate content that you feel appropriate for that container (the space that the Flash player is in). For example you COULD put in some alternate content like "Please download the latest version of Adobe Flash"... now that is original! and I'm sure that would really be a hit with search engines!
OOORRRR, you could provide a full and complete text narration of the video as well as detailed text descriptions of all the visual graphics included in the video. Huummm... I just wonder... which would be better for Search Engine Optimization????
swfobject is NOT there to help you display Flash.. that's what the pluggin does. It provides a means of providing BOTH Flash and regular HTML content on the same page.. which means that you can provide "alternate content" will also be indexed by search engines.
Hope you dont mind if I share this article with you before I get down off my soap box...
If you think that Flash is somehow bad for SEO, it's time to dispell that MYTH!
If fact, in some circumstances I'll use Flash INSTEAD of just HTML because then I'll have better SEO than with just HTML alone.
The link to World Barefoot Center in the above post is just one example. View the source code and you see a couple paragraphs of text along with regular HTML links.... but what displays is the Flash version of the image and Flash links.
The client provided the artwork for the page... and that's what they wanted to use a .jpg image. Well yes, that could be done in HTML but it would be virtually invisible to Google. So Instead I converted the image into a Flash .swf and used swfobject to display the Flash. swfobject allows you to create alternate content inside the <div> which also holds the Flash .swf, then when the page is loaded it detects if the browser has the Flash pluggin. If it does, it displays just the Flash content, if not, it displays the alternate content. Since almost everyone has the Flash pluggin, for most people the Flash version of the <div> will display.
The alternate content for that <div> can be any regular HTML text, images, media player, links, etc., anything that you would use if you were not using the Flash. Now the best part is that the alternate content can be "over the top" as far as optimizing for SEO, since it will not be seen by most viewers.
Here's another example of SEO with Flash.. again, the page is just a single image provided by the client:
View the source code. The alt content is paragraph after paragraph of information about the site, including lists and links. If it was just the HTML, it might be kind of a boring Home page. But for SEO I can go "over the top" in promoting the site, since most viewers will never see that part... but it's all indexed by search engines. The end result is BETTER SEO using Flash than just HTML.
On another Web site, a Flash video is displayed, the alt content is the complete text narration of the video. Now how many people would take the time to read that if they could just watch the video instead?? again, better SEO with Flash than without. In fact in one case we had first page search result from that video narration within 4 hours of posting the page.
On still another site with a Flash video, the alt content is another video, but a .mov version, which will, in effect play Flash video on the iPhone (not possible you say??). Well since the iPhone does not have Flash pluggin, it simply displays the .mov version of the video, while everyione else sees the Flash version.
So anyway, if Flash is a part of your Web development, you should look into using swfobject and alternate content.
Eye for Video