Friday, January 22, 2010

Viddler and Swimming Videos

Youtube is the undisputed leader of video-sharing, sorta like Allderdice High School swimming has been the undisputed champion of city swimming. YouTube, now owned by Google has a world-wide market share of 66%. YouTube is the boss in the market, but it isn't the best. Especially when it comes to the purpose we seek for coaching. Check out our swimming videos at Viddler, not YouTube.

Youtube and Viddler have significant differences.

Viddler has innovative features in its player. With Viddler, we can include and attach comments and tags to particular times in the video.

Probably the most significant difference between Youtube and Viddler is their encoding strategy. Files are converted to a fixed bit-rate. Youtube resamples the video to give a consistent quality at this bit-rate. Viddler does not resample the video, so the quality depends on how well the input video matches the output bit-rate.

Youtube encodes to a fixed format. Video is 320×240 25fps FLASH video, using H.263 at around 250Kbit/s. Audio is 22050Hz mono using MP3 at 64Kbit/s.

Viddler attempts to preserve the original format, changing the specs only when required to match the requirements of FLASH. Video is at the original frame size, 30fps FLASH video, using the VP6 at 400Kbit/s. Audio is in the original format (max 44Khz) using MP3 at 48Kbit/s. VP6 is the “flagship” codec for Flash Player 8, intended to deliver better quality at lower bit rates.

Youtube encodes to a lower bit rate so may work better over slower links. Youtube’s format is constant, so the quality is constant. Viddler encodes to a higher bitrate and uses more compression, so it is capable of delivering better quality although at the cost of more data and CPU processing. Viddler’s video format is variable, so the quality is also variable.

Youtube’s 320×200 format is OK for 4:3 video, but is not good for other formats. For example, 16:9 video is letterboxed so the effective resolution of the frame is only 320×180. Viddler retains the original size, so can support 16:9 or any other format.

Youtube has a limit of 10 minutes and 100Mb on uploaded videos. Viddler's limit is 500Mb without any time ceiling.

Viddler has a decent batch process if you use a more modern browser.

Viddler allows for comments in the video window seek bar.

Tags for videos and comments fit into Viddler and FaceBook too.

The comment points are displayed in the seek-bar, and you can see the comments by mousing over the comment points. Clicking jumps to that point. Comments pop up as playback reaches that point. Anyone can add narratives or explanations to a race, or highligh interesting times. Outside viewers, fans, other coaches and team mates can add their own comments as it is allowed. Those are then be shared with other viewers.

Viddler’s player generates a link to each clip. For web pages and catalog, one can embed code itself.

Viddler requires the FLASH 9 player. Youtube requires only FLASH 7 players, which means that its videos will work on a larger variety of systems including “embedded browsers” (eg. Opera the Nintendo Wii game console).

Both Youtube and Viddler have “members”, “friends” and “groups”. Youtube also has “subscribers”. Viddler also has “forums”, which seem to be implemented using “groups” on Youtube. Both sites have video “tags” and descriptions. Viddler has both “global tags” which apply to an entire video, and “timed tags” which apply to a specific time in a video. It also has timed and global comments.

Youtube allows videos to be public or private. For private videos you can nominate up to 25 users who are allowed to view the video. This is useful for example, if you just want to share a file with family members. Video files are not downloadable, although there are third-party web sites (eg. which allow you to retrieve the encoded FLASH file.

Viddler allows videos to be public, private (only accessible to you), or shared (accessible to you and your “friends”). In addition to viewing rights, Viddler allows you to control who is allowed to comment, tag, embed, or download your video. You have separate controls over downloading the original file, or the encoded flash version. This allows you to distribute high quality videos in their original format which can effectively be viewed on-line via the FLASH player. Viddler also allows you to create a “secret URL” which can be used to access a private video. This means that you can share a private video with users that are not members of the system, something that is not possible on Youtube.

Viddler offers the user many compelling features not found on Youtube:

* Support for videos longer than 10 minutes, with upload sizes to 500Mb.
* Improved control over access to shared videos
* Improved navigation via streaming play, timed tags and timed comments (note: streaming play currently unavailable)
* Support for any resolution format including 16:9
* Extensive statistics and link reporting

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