On2 Technologies Flix Pro 8.5 Review


Having a dedicated application like Flix Pro 8.5 isn't necessary for the casual encoder currently using the Adobe suite of products. (see our review on CS3) However, for anyone serious about encoding it's well worth the time and effort to get intimate with the latest codecs and experiment with all the settings to see what yields optimal results for any given bandwidth, frame size and bit rate. In our tests, the On2 VP6 codec in Flix Pro performed better than other encoders and consistently yielded superior results compared to Windows Media and QuickTime. Digital rights management is lacking but for short form video and other applications where DRM is not an issue we'd highly recommend using Flix Pro or another application featuring On2's technology.

You can tell On2 is a technology company first and a software company second because the GUI and workflow of Flix Pro isn't the most elegant in the world. However, it's a reasonably clean design, loads quickly and comes with a good set of encoding presets to get started. In terms of look and feel it's somewhere between Autodesk's Cleaner and Kinoma's Producer. We like the simple approach but would like to see more intuitive ways to create presets and compare settings on the fly for optimal results. We'd also like to see better tutorials on what all the different settings in the codec do as a jumping off point for experimentation.

On2 is currently phasing in support for the new "Moviestar" updates to Adobe Flash Player 9 - including the new VP6-S profile for high definition, full screen video, and H.264 formats. H.264 or MPEG 4 has emerged as the standard for content delivery across TV, IP and 3G platforms.

On2 also announced an agreement with TI where the company's codec technology will be integrated into TI's OMAP' Platform. The goal is real-time processing and lower power consumption on mobile devices. This is really huge. One of the downsides of a quality compression algorithm is it takes more processing power and hence more 'juice' to run. Because a lack of standards has prevented optimization of code in everything from handhelds to set tops, CPU cycles and power consumption have been at a premium. With H.264 emerging as the standard for content distribution, at least in the short term, chip companies like TI and others are rolling out better solutions. On2's announcement with TI is a sign of more to come as the industry embraces the anything, anywhere, anytime solutions that merge traditional media with what today we consider 'web' content.

That's exciting stuff and bodes well for On2, Flix Pro and H.264 content.

Visit On2 Technologies for more information.

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