Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (2)

Here are the scores (on a max of 6) I came up with, after my evaluation of online video sharing services:


Revver

  • uploading in .mov and .wmv, not in flv (see here
  • embedding is possible in both .mov and flv (.mov is bigger, so probably flv will be your preferred format)
  • 480 by 392 (360+ 32 ) is the biggest screen size of all services and the quality is excellent!!
  • you can save video search queries into "collections" or make manual collections – each collection is a vodcast – you download the videos in .mov.  Example: videos about Jazz: feed
  • Revver’s business model: they "give you the tools to share it with the world and split the ad revenue with you 50/50".  Both the embedded movies and downloaded movs have an advertisement at the end (a static image with a link)
  • There’s one big drawback: the Revver management interface is a pain to use: slow, hard to navigate, sometimes buggy
    • automatic metadata on the files, like original upload filenames, upload date is missing
    • it’s so hard to find the permalink of a single video (you have to go to the "grab this" syndication snippets
    • after trying to perform an action (such as adding to a collection) the interface does not show whether it worked or not…
    • it takes quite a while to have your video reviewed (fortunately they do send a notification email – but at the moment I received it, my video was not yet visible)
    • when you enter the description right after processing, that description gets lost

Scores: 1 upload, 2 quality, 1.5 openness. Total: 4.5 / 6 

Summary: Revver is the highest quality service to host your videos – if you don’t object against the ads.  But it’s a pity you have to put up a fight with the interface to get that far…

Blip.tv

  • quick upload, really easy navigation and management interface
  • you can upload via ftp, and even from within Windows Movie Maker!
  • you can choose your license (All rights reserved, over CC to Public Domain)
  • Your uploads are played on Blip.tv either as flv or  in their upload format (but not in the original size)  – see the wmv,  .mov and flv version.  Some of my uploads failed however and the flv conversion isn’t always optimal.
  • any search result, tag, category or user page is also available in feed format – the enclosures are the unmodified files in original format!!
  • there are all kinds of cross-posting and mirroring options – resp. to your own blog or the internet archive for example
  • ads: opt-in only.  Apparently they hope to finance the non-monetized content with the content of users who choose to have ads displayed (50/50 revenue sharing).  Only two advertising partners at the moment, but things are moving – immen.se joined as partner only last week
  • you can embed the movies in several formats: 480 by 360, as well as 320 by 240.  There are several embedding options, such as a customizable thumbnail image, a javascript or non-javascript version (for platforms stripping javascript). Here the flv version of the uploaded mov with an (unfortunately blurried) intro image inserted at the start:

Scores: 1 upload, 1.5 quality, 2 openness. Total: 4.5 / 6 

Summary: Blip is the most open and user-friendly (in several meanings) service.  Only the quality of the flv conversion is a bit behind.  Not surprisingly, the service gained popularity among geeks and creatives (it’s the only service who had a considerable number of screencasts :-) ).  Which, in the long term, is not a bad strategy – after all, it’s those groups who evangelize technology to other users and who create original content… (Note: check out this  audio interview by Jon Udell with Mike Hudack, one of the founders of Blip.tv)

Vimeo

  • excellent quality , simple, easy to navigate site
  • Accepts wmv version (bad quality conversion) and flv (good till excellent)
  • RSS feeds per user or per tag, the enclosures point to the original upload format!
  • maximum upload size: 30 megs/week!
  • 400 x 300 embedded flv version (the controls show on mouse over, do not take space in themselves):

Scores: 0.5 upload, 1.5 quality, 2 openness. Total: 4 / 6 

Summary: Vimeo has about everything you can wish in a video hosting service… but because of the 30 MB max upload, it’s only a viable option for really light users…

Veoh:

  • accepts mov (bad quality conversion) and  wmv, not flv
  • Innovative features:
    • publishing via RSS: they upload automatically the videos from your private vlog (so Veoh sees itself as your hosting partner)
    • forwarding and getting the embedding html code from within the embedded video flash player
  • subscription and video download requires the Veoh client however, I didn’t see any outgoing rss feeds
  • screen size is OK, but quality is abominable
  • 425 by 340, .mov version:

Scores: 2 upload, 0.5 quality, 1 openness. Total: 3.5 / 6 

Summary: Veoh has some nice features, but the dependency on the Veoh client for some features disqualifies it as a host for your screencasts

Soapbox

  • I could upload .mov and wmv (of course)
  • within the soapbox environment, your videos are shown in wmv if you’re using IE, in flv if you’re using Firefox
  • flv is used for embedding in your own site (regardless platform or browser of your visitor) has some nifty usability features: you can perform edit/upload actions while you keep watching a video…
  • you need to login with a live.com/msn account in order to get the code for embedding the video, or even browse more videos: this is handicapping virals and seems plain stupid to me
  • see 5MB wmv version (not really great quality)  and 80MB .mov (better, but still not outstanding – embedded here, 412 by 362 px)

Scores: 1.5 upload, 1 quality, 0.5 openness. Total: 3 / 6 

Summary: Slick interface, pretty good display quality, but not really impressive. 

Youtube

  • Formats: accepts wmv, flv and mov 
  • the video quality of all of the 3 uploads is equally bad
  • Size: 425 x 350 – too small

Scores: 1.5 upload, 0.5 quality, 1 openness. Total: 3 / 6 

Summary: Youtube is the king when it comes to speed, social features and usability, but for screencasting it just doesn’t fit…

Dailymotion

  • really fast upload, great workflow
  • accepts .mov,  and .wmv – the flv gave an encoding error
  • embedding is possible in small (200 by 166), medium (400 by 316) and big (640 by 480) screen size (a bigger screen size doesn’t help if the images get blurry…).  Here’s: the medium version:

Scores: 1.5 upload, 0.5 quality, 1 openness. Total: 3 / 6 

Summary: Dailymotion is probably one of the better video sharing sites around, but size and quality aren’t good enough for screencasting

Google Video

  • Formats: accepts wmv, mov, no flv.
  • on the plus side: they’re the only service where you can upload videos larger than 100 MB!
  • video quality: bad
  • No feeds for videos by one author, subject…  there is however a way to convert searches into feeds by adding the "&output=rss" parameter to the url, which converts the search to a vodcast with mp4 enclosures!  Example: all videos from blogtalk reloaded as feed.  Note that "blogtalkreloaded" happens to be an uncommon user name, so that the full text here is equivalent to a search by author.
  • Size: 400 x 326 – far too small. There’s no preview of how big the embedded version actually will look like

Scores: 1 upload, 0.5 quality, 1 openness. Total: 2.5 / 6 

Summary: Google was the first of the big players (June 2005) to offer video hosting, but didn’t really know how to make it an appealing product so far – so no wonder they bought Youtube.  It would be nice still to have Google video improved for geekier, heavy duty video hosting.

Myspace

  • Accepts .mov and flv.  Although they pretend to take.wmv, the conversion of my wmv file failed (tried several times)
  • Both versions have an equally poor quality however
  • Despite Myspace ‘s bad reputation, the video upload and management interface is clear and clean
  • No feeds, embedding works fine (flv version, 430 by 346)

Scores: 1.5 upload, 0.5 quality, 0.5 openness. Total: 2.5 / 6 

Summary:  Good service but insufficient quality for screencasting

Go Fish

  • accepts, wmv, flv, mov – the latter one is just a tidbit better, still far from sufficient
  • clear, simple management interface
  • no rss feeds
  • embedded (343 by 290, .mov version) – far too small

Scores: 1.5 upload, 0 quality, 0.5 openness. Total: 2 / 6 

Summary: Again: probably a good service, but not for screencasting

Clip Shack

  • accepts .mov and .wmv (but wmv version failed to be processed)
  • in order to register, you have to go through screenfuls of sponsors who want your email…
  • screen size : 430 by 354 , quality insufficient

Scores: 1 upload, 0.5 quality, 0.5 openness. Total: 2 / 6 

Summary: an sponsor-driven community site, that happens to be built around video sharing

Eefoof

  • wmv and flv failed converting, .mov version : bad image quality
  • you can post really quickly and anonymously, that’s what I did by accident  BTW…
  • embedding is impossible – what they call embedding is a link to the ads-overloaded site

Scores: 1 upload, 0 quality, 0 openness. Total: 1 / 6 

Summary: quick anonymous media sharing, not a place you trust your files to for hosting

Yahoo Video

  • flv is not accepted, wmv upload failed conversion after several trials (although they pretend wmv is accepted), the uploaded mov has an appalling image and sound quality (which is really exceptional among the services I tested!)
  • no real size preview of what the video will look liked when embedded (as in Google video), it turns out to be 425 by 350:

Scores: 0.5 upload, 0 quality, 0.5 openness. Total: 1 / 6 

Summary: Unbelievably bad product by such an otherwise great web company.  Maybe they should go shopping in the upper regions of this list?

Grouper

  • Formats: accepts wmv, mov 
  • processing takes really long and then… where are my videos?  I could only find them back via the general search days later…
  • I was unable to play the video in Firefox, in IE (with Windows media player) the .mov version plays without sound (and with appalling image quality), the wmv without images!!
  • Size: 400×300 (+25) – didn’t bother to embed one

Scores: 0 upload, 0 quality, 0 openness. Total: 0 / 6 

Summary: if I believe Techcrunch, Grouper might be interesting if you download their proprietary viewer/uploader.  Not for web-based use though…

35 Responses to “Screencasting: online video sharing sites compared (2)”

  1. Micki Krimmel Says:

    Thanks for the great write-up and for recognizing Revver! Your feedback is hugely helpful. Check back in a few weeks and you’ll see we’re addressing the interface issues.
    – Micki, Revver

  2. kat Says:

    what do you do if you want to post a google video, but the site you want to post it on does not accept the “Style” part of the “Embed style=” part of the code? By not using the style button, I am able to post the video, but not able to decide which size i want it to be..

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  4. norz Says:

    what about the avi format?
    Prior to h264, xvid in avi gave the best quality over other codecs at equivalent bitrate.

  5. norz Says:

    From the first part of the article I guess it’s a “restriction” of camtasia?

  6. Pascal Says:

    Hi Norz,

    Camtasia indeed does not have the option of xvid AVI encoding. In their help files, they advise AVI in case of CD/DVD distribution, where size is of lesser concern.

  7. catweasel Says:

    revver is actually very bad,actually a waste of bandwith and are infringing copyright,they need to be investigated

  8. catweasel Says:

    Here again to wonder why you did such a bad review and unjustifiably gave revver a 4.5/6 rating,obviously your not good at doing a proper review,if you were to check properly you would have discovered on some of the videos that the sound is not in sync with the movie,maybe they gave you a cut from their advertising revenu or your just plain lazy,if any one was to get the best review it should have went to veoh!

  9. Pascal Says:

    Hi Catweasel,

    the result of a review depends on what exactly you review and the method you choose… which is why I discussed both my method and source material in a previous posting.

    My goal in particular was to see what service would be best to post screencasts. Screencasts are different from filmed videos, in the same way drawings and photos are different. Furthermore, it is quite possible that the result depends on the source format that is being uploaded. Lastly, I ‘m not bothered by the quality of other videos on the platform – I’m just interested on which platform to choose to post mine…

    The results also depends on the moment of review… it’s been 3 months now, and things might have changed. It is quite possible that I would come to a different conclusion if I were to go to the same procedure again – which I am not going to do BTW, since it took me quite some time :-). As for the profit sharing on Revver videos: I just logged in into revver to check and it appears I’ve earned $3.60 so far (Revver only pays as soon as you’ve reached $20)… I’m afraid nobody actually will ever make money with screencasts, since they’re a lot less popular than the loads of funny videos you see all over the place :-)
    So I really encourage you to do your own comparison and post your review on a blog or forum of your choice.

    (Still wondering why You use an [at] revver.com email address though…)

  10. Sridhar Says:

    Did you get a chance to test viddler.com?

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  12. TomC Says:

    Pascal

    Any reason you have focussed on free video hosting sites ?

    TomC
    TheScreencastCrusaer.com

  13. Pascal Says:

    Hi TomC …

    Because I think my audience consists of “amateurs” and enthousiasts, who are willing to spend time and effort, but don’t really want to invest in hosting (as they don’t profit from it either).

    Oh and I guess the review, being 5 months old now, has lost a lot of its value now… feel free to point to more recent comparisons…

  14. TomC Says:

    Pascal

    Thanks for your answer

    THe good news is it’s only taken you 5 months to float to the top of google (where I found you: “What is a screencast”).. of corse the bad news is that there has been an explosion of video hosting sites in that time !

    Personally, having tested video hosting, I find their native formatting and sizing maks my presentations unwatchable – you just can’t follow the action and see the detail.

    I have a site where I am working on rewarding screencasters with ad revenue – similar to Meacafe – but it’s early stages right now.

    http://www.ScreencastCentral.com

    Techsmith – creators of Camtasia – have a hosting service http://www.screencast.com

    Regards
    TomC
    TheScreencastCrusader.com

  15. Pascal Says:

    Hi TomC,

    What you describe has been a frustration of mine as well – I have thought about wikifying some of my postings…

    BTW: I did mention screencast.com in the introductory post.

  16. P|xeL Says:

    Thanks for your list! ;-)
    Bye,
    P|xeL

  17. beaglebot Says:

    Just FYI, Vimeo has upped the limit to 250 a week

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  20. marS Says:

    Very good comparism, maybe the situation is changed now, but not significant.

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  23. Deva Says:

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  24. Tom Riley Says:

    Halaro.com is a good one too, they always have the best viral stuff

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  26. Videos Search Guru Says:

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  28. Roman Kirillov Says:

    Hi, just wanted to say thank you for your blip.tv recommendation – this is what I need! i just uploaded couple of really good quality screencasts (in my blog) and I feel really happy with it :))

  29. Rudy Says:

    You may try Screentoaster.com which is a free web-based screen recorded

  30. Pascal Says:

    Already registered and got the invite since a few weeks, just haven’t gotten around testing it :-)

  31. Screencasting Resources (Part One) « Blog « WordPress.tv Says:

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  32. Beste vergelijkingssites voor Web 2.0 tools (2) - Frankwatching Says:

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    [...] Screencasting: Online Video Sharing Hosting Sites Compared Part 2 [...]

  35. phone free tv Says:

    good comparism, maybe the situation is changed now, but not significant.