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We're a small non-profit and we're authoring some data DVDs with some instructional videos on them (mostly Powerpoint and video screen captures).

Some of our users may be computer novices, others may not be able to install additional software, others may be using older machines - so being able to play these videos without having to install any extras is a must.

What's the best format to export these videos for playback on Windows XP and later, and Mac OS X 10.5 and later?

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MPEG-1 video.

No, really. XP doesn't even come with an MPEG-2 video decoder out of the box.

It's not about the "best" format, it's about the only choice you've left yourself with those restrictions.

For a more realistic answer, you can always bundle Media Player Classic, VLC, or any of a wide range of portable video players with their own codecs built in for Windows users that can't handle a modern codec. Then put MPEG-4 videos (ASP or AVC) on the disc.

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I'd strongly suggest bundling players. VLC is portable, available for all major platforms, and GPL, so you won't run into any issues with that. – slhck Oct 19 '11 at 13:10

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