I have been unhappy with the way I have been embedding the videos so far. Usually with just a link, or link from a still that I made from the video. The videos were mp4/h264 which for most people meant they had to use quicktime to view. I really wanted to get to a point where people could view the video in their browser without a plugin. I thought maybe with html5 we were getting to a point where this would work. Actually it does work great in Safari and Chrome. Both of these browsers understand the video element and will decode h264 encoded video. Firefox understand the video element as well but will only decode ogg format and not h264.
What I really wanted is to only have to encode and host one format, and to not require the viewer to install a plugin into their browser. Unfortunately I don't think that is yet possible. I found this, http://mediaelementjs.com/, and I think it is really close. The way it works is that it uses multiple methods to represent the video in a player with one video as the source. First, if the browser can natively support the html5 video, then it uses that. If not, then it resorts to a flash player. It can still only use one h264 encoded video because the flash player can play that as well.
Alas, I couldn't quite make this mediaelement plugin work correctly. It is almost there but still caused me some problems and the embedded video could not be seen in every browser.
Anyway, now I am tired of spending time on this so I have just punted and decided to use YouTube. The main advantage for me is that the videos are now hosted on YouTube and use their bandwidth and storage. Also, YouTube spends a lot of time making sure that the video can be viewed on any platform so I don't have to worry about it. I only have to encode to one format so that is good. Unfortunately it does not meet my goal of not requiring a plugin because it usually uses a flash player. But I'm not going to spend any more time on it.
If you have a constructive suggestion about how best to handle embedded video in a wordpress site, I welcome your comments.
Here is an example of how I now plan to embed videos for this site: