Friday, January 11, 2008

User-generated Video Content

There's probably no one alive who has not heard of YouTube, that giant Internet-based video sharing site which was purchased by Google for a billion dollars or two. Sure it has its share of lawsuits from the movie and tv companies because some users upload copyrighted materials, but there is no denying that it has the largest video collection of almost any topic that you can think of. It recently launched a mobile version of the site for people who wants to view it using their mobile phones. Smart claims their 3G network supports it. But when I tried using my Nokia 6680 on Smart's network, the built-in RealPlayer gave me some error (I forgot what it was).

To reach the largest number of users and to make it easy for people to view its content, YouTube uses the Adobe/Macromedia Flash format. Since Flash is already installed in most modern-day browsers, viewers do not need to download a separate plug-in unlike the other video sharing service. The downside of this approach is the format that YouTube uses is still the old Flash format (Flash 7). Its quality leaves much to be desired. If you compare it with its newer rivals, the poor video quality becomes apparent.

The top 2 video sharing sites that PC World recently reviewed and rated based on quality and performance are Blip.tv and Stage6 (note: YouTube ranked only No. 7 in the list). What these two lack in content, they make up for superb video streaming that will hopefully bring more people in to use their service. Both are free and follow the same YouTube business model of placing ads.

One of the shows that I saw at Blip.tv is the Midwest Teen Sex Show. Its a really funny skit show ran by several teens (although Nikol looks kinda old to me). But it is worthwhile to note the size and resolution of their show versus the ones you would normally see in YouTube.

Stage6 requires you to download the DivX plug-in and install it onto your browser. This is because their video is saved in DivX format. This is not surprising because Stage6 is operated by the same people who developed the DivX codec/format! Downloading and installing the plug-in was quite trivial. What I found really annoying was the plug-in installer also automatically installed along the Yahoo Toolbar onto my browser without asking for my permission. I had to manually uninstall it from my Windows Control Panel. Just for that -- I really wouldn't recommend this site. :P

Metacafe was not included in the PC World roundup. I don't know if it was because its quality was not worthy to be included in the Top 10 list? Personally, I think the quality is comparable to YouTube. One of their top draw is a guy named Kip Kay who comes up with these really amazing do-it-yourself gadgets and tricks like making infrared goggles and increasing your car's mileage by using low-cost, everyday materials.

But for most people, I guess YouTube will still be the main destination. And with Google's resources behind it, they will most likely upgrade their video quality pretty soon. So in the meantime, enjoy one of my favorite YouTube channels -- HotForWords with the linguist/philologist, Marina.

2 comments:

Nikol said...

"One of the shows that I saw at Blip.tv is the Midwest Teen Sex Show. Its a really funny skit show ran by several teens (although Nikol looks kinda old to me). "

I'm not super old, but none of us at the show are teens. Britney is 25, Guy and I are 28. I have three kids. Now take it back that I look old.

Dick Chiang said...

Sorry! Did not mean to offend you. :) All along I thought you guys were really teens. Hence, I thought you look to be much older than a teen. And I guess I was right. In any case, I'm way much older than you. So there.

Keep up the great work. Love your videos!