Last week's GDC Battlefield 4 demo looked pretty spectacular, even when viewed via heavily compressed streaming video, so when we acquired a high-bitrate 1080p version of the trailer running at the full 60 frames per second, we knew we had to share it with you. The only problem: actually getting the footage to run smoothly on a webpage.
It transpires that there's a pretty good reason YouTube supports pretty much every type of video format you care to mention except 60 frames per second playback - across a range of browsers the Flash renderer appears to have massive issues sustaining any kind of update north of 30FPS, even if you're using a fast desktop PC. Our usual strategy for running non-standard video - encoding the files ourselves and plugging them directly into the Eurogamer player - didn't seem to work out this time.
However, after a weekend of testing across various hardware, we found a solution: Chrome offers a substantial performance boost in video playback - the 35-40FPS we saw on a five-year-old Core 2 Duo laptop running Firefox shot up to 55-60FPS on the standard-def encode embedded below. Factoring in mind how laggy streaming video can be in general, a move over to the Google browser could in theory yield dividends across a range of sites. Alternatively, in the case of these Battlefield videos at least, iOS hardware from the iPad/iPhone 4 onwards seems to run both SD and HD versions of the trailer pretty much flawlessly.
Frame-rate is just one part of the equation though - there's the small matter of the extra image quality in the 2.5GB file we were provided with, easily a class above the YouTube version. For those who want something approaching the best possible experience of a top-end PC running Battlefield 4, we've also prepared 720p60 and 1080p60 download versions of the trailer. The 720p edition should work well on just about any device you care to mention, while the full HD encode runs nice and smoothly on any modern computer with a decent h.264 decoder.
"Running the 1080p60 version of the trailer on a PlayStation 3 attached to a large HDTV is definitely the way to go."
Alternative 720p60 version: Capable hardware required for smooth playback
We set up the encoding profile to ensure that PlayStation 3's XMB video player should offer full resolution and smooth playback too: watched on a big screen backed by a decent sound system, the Battlefield 4 trailer is quite an experience. For those still having issues running the smaller versions we encoded for streaming, we've provided download links for them too - run them locally outside of the browser for best performance.
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