New File Extensions and MIME Types
The new file extensions and MIME types will be the following:
|File Extension||FTYP||MIME Type||Description|
|.f4v||'F4V '||video/mp4||Video for Adobe Flash Player|
|.f4p||'F4P '||video/mp4||Protected Media for Adobe Flash Player|
|.f4a||'F4A '||audio/mp4||Audio for Adobe Flash Player|
|.f4b||'F4B '||audio/mp4||Audio Book for Adobe Flash Player|
These are pretty much in sync with what Apple does offer for their downloads. Why new file extensions? It will be an easy way to distinguish files which can be played back by the Flash Player. There are simply too many instances where .mov and .mp4 files can not be played back, or vise versa, a file compatible with the Flash Player might not play back in QuickTime, an iPod or other video device. I will also be working on a technical document to exactly outline what the Flash Player does support and what it does not support although my previous posts already pointed out that we are very close to full support of the H.264 standard with the exception of Extended profile and FRExt.
Why didn't we stick with .FLV? Technical reasons, mostly. Various technologies, including our own products expect that .FLV files have a certain file structure. In case of Flash CS3 a file which was renamed from .MP4 to .FLV would stall the application at import time. Not a good experience. In case of FMS file type plug ins can only handle unique file extensions. In this context it made it impossible to have files with the new container format using the .FLV file extension. We expect other tools to have similar issues.
It's not yet clear when our video tools will start using these extensions, although I expect it to happen sooner than later. The first one to be used will clearly be .f4v, the other ones are in 'reserved' state for now and not destined for a particular product right now. Why do I talk about this now in this case? Well, as we ready the Flash Player for release we did add new icons and file extension registration of these file types into the standalone Flash Player. So it's better to make this announcement now as you will discover this on your own very soon anyway.
If you ask what the FTYP column is, it is the ftyp atom within ISO 14496-12 files. If you have a custom encoder and are targeting the Flash Player you should add one of the ftyp major brand 4CCs mentioned above. This will make it much easier for servers to handle and recognize these files. And to prevent you from panicking now: the Flash Player will not even look at this atom. This atom is nothing more than a hint for tools handling ISO14496-12 files. A list of known ftyp major brand 4CCs can be found here. We'll hopefully make this list also at some point.
It might be a good time to update your IIS mime-type entries to include the new file extensions, otherwise IIS will refuse to play serve up these files. This is the same process as for flv files described in Technote 19439, but using the file extensions and mime types mentioned above.
Update, since I am apparently not clear enough and have to repeat myself: the Flash Player will not look at the file extension when loading files. It just means that if you are targeting the Flash Player or AIR we suggest to use these file extensions.