We are looking at adding a whole load of video content to our site over the coming year. A potential issue is that a significant proportion of our audience is likely to come from developing countries.
Firstly, is there any information out there about which countries mostly have users with high-speed connections, and which mostly still use dial up?
Secondly, what are the best things we can do to help these people access our content? Is it simply a case of putting a lower-res and/or shorter video up? We have also thought about offering alternative formats such as a transcription people can read instead of watching the video.
We plan to host most of our videos on YouTube, although we might look at hosting some ourselves as well.
Suggest you also consider your video hosting platform. For example the host I use own lots of fiber accoss North America, a tiny bit into the UK, and nothing into Asia. A global CDN might be a better choice - for you and me too.
Windows Media has a muti-plexing option enabling streaming at different bitrates depending on the connection bandwidth as detected by the streaming server. Flash probably has an equivalent.
The issues that I have with posting the YouTube code on my site is that once the video is done you have no control of the next videos... Also if your page has good content you run the risk of your vendors tagging their stuff and it displaying on your site...
Anyhow if you do decide to host your videos I would suggest a good provider that can deploy a Virtual Environment to all you to add ram, cpu and disk space without downtime.
I've experimented with WMV at some really low bitrates.
I was able to create a 280X210 using about 70kbps total.
You can only achieve this by cutting corners, drop the framerate to about 10FPS. The video may be a little choppy but since we only have 10 frames a second you'll have more bitrate to distribute to each frame. This will eliminate a lot of the macroblocking producing a better looking video. The video was encoded using about 50kbps.
For the audio make it mono and 20kbps, WMA is outstanding at low bitrates and you can even go lower than that if its speech. This particular video was for a band.
It's not great but it will almost stream on 56K...