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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.
This site will give you statistics gleaned from the World Bank:
I would definitely go the low bandwidth route either by shorter clips or by higher compression.
Transcriptions are always a good idea for every type of video, regardless of the audience. The seo benefits are well worth the time and effort to create them.
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.
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 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...