This is actually meant to be a follow-up to that old MP4 feedback thread, but as it's in the archives now I can't respond to it any more.
I think I mentioned that I was experimenting with MP4 for low-end encoding and sharing. For the high-end I was using a new MP4 codec (techies call it H.264) which delivered superior quality to regular MP4. I think I've found an even better codec now. The newest version of the DivX Codec (6.2.5) I find to deliver the same or better quality than MainConcept's H.264 v2 codec at higher bitrates (>1.5Mbps). I encoded a segment of a skating video in both formats and I found the DivX codec to have much more accurate color reproduction...and it also seemed to handle the fast motion of the skater noticeably better (not blocking/blurring the picture as much) than H.264 v2.
Now, note that this is not the Apple Quicktime version of H.264 (I've only tested that one on the "low-end"). This is the MainConcept version (.mpg) that I'm talking about.
I also experimented with encoding videos in Widescreen (720x400 - 16:9) format as well (since I have widescreens all over the place now...including on my computer). It stretches the picture a little bit but I prefer using this format because it offers more of a "movie" experience. Definitely livened up the ESPN2 broadcast when I did it
Yet another thing I tried is to upconvert a regular picture (normally 720x480) to 1280x720 (which is 720p HD). I get pretty decent results but of course the picture won't be nearly as sharp as true HD. I probably won't be doing that, though.
So I think this season, starting with the Campbell's Classic I will be encoding my favorite skating videos in DivX Widescreen format instead of H.264. (DivX Player is also free, unlike the H.264 player so it can be shared as well). For the other ones I may continue to use Windows Media format, or I might use DivX but encode at a lower bitrate. The good thing is that unlike ESPN/ESPN2, ABC tends to have a nice, vibrant, sharp broadcast picture so I tend to get my best results with ABC videos. Let's just hope that now with ESPN running ABC sports the picture isn't reduced to "ESPN quality".
Also did other little things but I don't think I need to expand on them...if I haven't lost you already