How to Encode for iOS Devices

Any company thinking about a mobile video strategy needs to plan for Apple's mobile devices, which have their own special requirements. At the recent Streaming Media Europe conference in London, Jan Ozer explained the specifications to attendees.

"What is H.264? H.264 is a spec that was jointly agreed upon by the ITU and the ISO. Lots of momentum in the consumer electronic space, computer space, telephone, radio, photography, consumer electronics. All that's very much amplified by Apple choosing H.264 for the video codec for their 'iDevices' [i.e., devices running Apple's iOS operating system]. Today when you produce video for computer viewing, typically you approach 'I want a desktop solution, whether it's Flash or Silverlight, then I need to get to iDevices.' The only way to get to iDevices is via H.264 and that's really all you need to know about H.264," began Ozer.

Content owners also need to know a little about encoding profiles to make their videos work on Apple's portables.

"A couple things you need to know about H.264 in order to produce effectively for iDevices. And it's not a deep dive into the H.264 parameters, but you do need to know what an H.264 profile is," said Ozer. "The three main profiles we produce for if we're producing for computer playback are Baseline, Main, and High." Ozer then offered encoding techniques for each profile.

"Profiles are a meeting point between the hardware developer -- in this case Apple -- and video producers like us. The first thing you're going to need to know about any device you're going to target is what profile can it play," Ozer instructed.

To view the entire presentation, view the video below. Follow along with a PDF of Ozer's slides.

How to Encode Video for iDevices
Jan Ozer, Principal, Doceo Publishing

This session starts by detailing the playback specs for all iDevices, old and new. Then, it shares the strategies used by prominent iTunes publishers to serve the complete range of installed iDevices. Next, the session switches to cellular wireless delivery, with a technical description of Apple's HTTP Live Streaming, including recommendations for the number of streams and Apple's encoding parameters. It concludes with a review of encoding options for HTTP Live Streaming and techniques for serving multiple target platforms such as Flash and iDevices with one set of encoded H.264 files.

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