The major social networking sites — Myspace and Facebook — both support video uploads, as does Last.fm, and all three pretty much accept the same file types: MPEG-2, MP4, MOV, AVI.
To test the capabilities of Myspace, Facebook and Last.fm, I uploaded MPEG-2 and MP4 versions of my videos. The MPEG-2 files averaged about 150MB, while the MP4 files weigh in at about 36MB. The MP4 files have impressive picture and sound for their size, and I was hoping the encoding processes of these sites would maintain that quality.
Of course, not all video is created equal, and one in particular — "enigmatics IV" — poses problems because it was not "shot" as digital video. The footage is actually stop-motion animation from individual digital pictures. This video would prove to be the Achilles heel of all three sites.
On the whole, the picture quality of the videos was on par between the two formats and between all four sites. The MP4 files showed a bit more degradation than the MPEG-2 files after going through each site’s Flash encoding, which is to be expected given the amount of compression in MP4.
The more noticeable difference — still not by much — is in sound. The MPEG-2 files fared better than the MP4 files after the encoding. For folks who aren’t particular, uploading an MP4 on a high-speed connection gets the job done and produces fairly good quality. But if you’ve got an office T-1 connection, uploading MPEG-2 files is a better bet.
Here’s how each service performed.