Either I’m missing something, or there is a huge hole in the video hosting ecosystem waiting to be filled.
I want a video hosting service with the following features:
- I can upload a video in any common format and it will be re-encoded to various web-safe formats, with sensible presets for bitrate etc.
- A WordPress plugin lets me embed the video in my blog and will set up the post links so that the video shows up as a podcast enclosure in the Atom feed.
- The embed will display a nice, attractive player with optional HD playback which is HTML5-enabled, mobile-friendly, and can fall back to flash.
- The videos will be hosted on a fast CDN.
- I can put any kind of (legal) content I want in the videos, and make them as long as I want.
- The videos will not have ads overlayed unless I ask for them.
YouTube gives me #1 and #3, but has ads, has length limits, and I can’t find a way to include direct links to the video files as podcast enclosures.
Blip.tv and Vimeo have strict content restrictions that most of their users aren’t even aware of until they run afoul of them. I once had my Blip account suspended because I made a video showing a web app I liked, and they deemed it “advertising”. That’s right: Vimeo and Blip.tv slap ads on your content, but using the content to sell something is absolutely forbidden. I managed to explain that I wasn’t advertising anything, I was just demoing an app I thought was cool, and they eventually reinstated my account. But I realized then that I would never use those services again. I don’t want all my videos suddenly dropping offline due to one overzealous censor. And what if I do want to sell something some day?
I signed up for a VideoPress account, thinking that it was exactly what I needed. And at $60/year for a basic account, pretty reasonably priced. Turns out that while they claim to support self-hosted WordPress accounts, there is a “known issue” with the plugin which makes it fail to insert videos into posts. That’s a minor issue; a much bigger one is that they don’t support setting up podcast enclosures on self-hosted accounts. Transparent podcast setup was one of the biggest selling points for me, so I’m thinking of asking for a refund.
EDIT: I just did a comparison of Bits on the Run to the VideoPress player and discovered that VideoPress also compressed the living hell out of even the “HD” version of the video. The BotR HD version (once I figured out how to enable it) is razor-sharp by comparison.
PowerPress can handle the podcasting setup and also provides an embedded player, provided you encode and host the videos yourself. I use it for the WideTeams podcast, but their embedded video player isn’t very attractive or featureful last I checked. And I haven’t been thrilled with the delivery speed of self-hosted video when I’ve tried it.
I’ve heard good things about Sublime Video. I liked what I was seeing until it suddenly dawned on me: they are charging $100/year just to serve and embedded video player widget. Not to host the videos themselves, just the widget. I’m sure it’s a great widget, but it’s not the service I’m looking for.
What am I missing?