Windows Media is still a poor video compression format
I was looking at some press release video today that was encoded with Windows Media and it's still pretty horrible compared to the alternatives. It does talking heads really, really well, but when it comes to video with a lot of motion, it's really horrible until you get into high bit rates.
For example, I recently compressed a few video clips for a client with high motion in QuickTime with Sorenson Pro (the codec generally used for movie trailers) and WM. I was able to get total bit rate with stereo audio at 320x240x30fps to around 120k with only a few minor compression artifacts. To get the same level of quality on WM I had to get the bit rate up to around 400k. What's up with that?
The funny thing is, Sorenson Pro 3 has been out now for at least three years.