Critter next phase: Deliver multiple user-generated video formats in Flash
A big gap Critter must jump across so as to reach more audience and receive more user-generated contents is that it should accept video formats other than FLV files. FLV is the video format encoded for Flash specifically, and is the only video format that the Critter prototype supports by far.
It is not the ideal way to play WMV, AVI, MOV etc videos in Flash. Not that it is impossible, but that it is performancewise expensive to transcode the video each time it plays.
So the wise choice is to convert videos to FLV format while users upload them. There are two possible ways to do that:
1) Purchase server-side software to encode uploaded videos. That costs about $1,000/year/server (http://www.on2.com/index.php?474). This choice is good to manage user uploaded videos and maintain stable services, but is comparatively more expensive.
2) An more economic option is to use pay-on-convert web services.
Example Price 1: $1.75 per GB video in, and $2.25 per GB video out (http://www.flixcloud.com/).
Example Price 2: $0.10 per conversion (http://heywatch.com).
Conclusion: option 2 should be good for Critter in the initial stages since it's more economic and also simpler to handle. Later when we have a stable release and more clients we can switch to option 1.