So I have been meaning to post a comparison of some of the major players in the online video publishing and sharing industry, and finally I have found time. This is some footage I shot shortly before leaving Tucson AZ of a demolition derby slash monster truck event at night. The video I am hosting and serving up with the great JW Player was compressed using the basic medium settings in the Flash encoder on2 VP6 codec. The original SD miniDV file for uploading to the online services was edited in FCP and exported using the h.264 codec, high quality, multi-pass. The file is about 2 minutes long and was 50 megs or so. FYI at the time of this post most of the Upload services will only allow you to upload 100megs. I had no problems uploading to any of these sites, the process was smooth and pretty much the same for all of them.
First off this is the source video, hosted by me, not from a flash streaming server. The .flv video source is being played using the JW Player (and a wordpress plugin FLV embed). ALSO of note I am using the embed code from each site as provided, and the window size they put in there. This code in some instances breaks standards acceptability. For a good article on that check out this post from Bernie Zimmermann and read the comments, there is some better code in there to use if you want to stay standards compliant.
Ok! let’s move on to the free hosted video options
They are the Google powered heavyweight, everyone knows them, and everyone has seen at least some Youtube videos. They have added some interesting options to their player recently, so you can now add multiple videos from your same account. In my opinion their compression is considerably poorer compared to these others, however they have a HUGE network of users, so if your main concern is to get your video seen…Youtube is probably the place to start.
Vimeo is a newer challenger to Youtube, they have a great looking stylish player, and also offer to host and serve up higher quality HD video. Their compression looks great.
Another new challenger to Youtube is Blip.tv, they have a nice simple clean player, and their compression looks good.
Jumpcut offers the ability to do simple edits to your own video online, which may come in handy if you are away from the editing machine and need a small change made.
In conclusion there are some really good quality challengers to Youtube now, and the better quality of these players means Youtube might need to revisit their compression options. However, many people viewing videos online simply don’t care too much, and are more concerned with speed so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. As far as your choice between using a service like Youtube, or hosting your own videos? The things you need to consider are mostly branding, bandwidth and access to a social network. Youtube type sites have their own branded players, and they link off to their sites…they are “free” obviously. You might end up sending your visitor offsite, by the same token these networks have large numbers of users everyday, so you can take advantage of some built in marketing by posting your video there.