Imagine Technolologies’ latest project is building a site that will stream full length video. After a lot of research it seems that Amazon S3 will be the most cost effective and capable of handling this task. However, the question is what to use as the player still remains. Here is some info that we found useful, and thought we would pass it along to you as well. If you have comments or suggestions we would love your feedback.
This info is reprinted here from http://www.internetmarketingspeed.com, here is the post
I needed a replacement Video provider
Since Google Video stopped allowing uploads I needed to find a better way to get externally hosted videos onto my site.
Many people use Amazon S3
Amazon S3 is a natural choice because it is super robust and very cheap. The only downside is that it is not very easy to make players. Storage and strength is the main benefit. You can be pretty sure Amazon will be around for a while. They also have a cloud hosted solution you can extend to so you get reasonably fast streaming times and it serves from multiple locations.
I did some research
I decided to research my options and thought it was worth sharing my results. Here is a summary of what I was trying to achieve.
Google Video was great because it quite good quality and it did NOT display advertising. The other benefit was the externally hosted bandwidth was free.
What I needed
I wanted low cost, high quality, ad free and easy to use.
I contacted Brightcove. They are expensive and unpopular according to the blog comments. One day they pulled free content from users and the entry point is $2000. You cannot use it as a storage place because you can upload but not download. I did not like the vibe from them.
My own server?
This service did not seem as flexible as Amazon S3. S3 can be used to store backups of files as well as just video media. I wanted more than just video hosting.
This looks similar to EZS3 but has the option of clickable links. It will cost a little more if you get a lot of views. I liked the look if this one but I did not need clickable links.
This is another cloud CDN. Content distribution network. It seems similar to S3. No easy player option that I could find. You can play the media directly on the URL however sometimes it is easier to hide that URL using an add-on player.
You need to spend a little more per month to get the unbranded player and these guys say they are a direct competitor to brightcove. I found the homepage a little confusing. It is a little over the the top for direct sales promos rather than explaining what the service is. I never got past that.
No good. They have poor quality video streaming and they play ads unless you modify the player. I wanted something far more controlled and plain. I use Youtube for offsite videos but not onsite. I would use Vimeo or Viddler before Youtube if I wanted a free solution.
I like Viddler because it has clean players. You can make a nice skin, there are no ads and you get basic analytics. The player allows you to have a graphic banner with clickable link on it to your own URL. (Youtube only allow this to another Youtube video). Also you can pay for hosted solutions from them. I decided to use Viddler for my public videos to embed on public blogs since it is like having a private player.
Using Amazon the cheap (but slower way)
Firefox users can have a handy FTP add-on called S3Fox to load files fast to Amazon. I use this as well for ease of loading and getting direct URL’s for download zip files etc… To make a player for your video file for free you head over to JW player and create your player.
The paid solution I chose for my sales pages and private memberships
The end solution has a number of benefits. It is EzS3video. It works like an ftp combined with a player creation tool. You can control access for specific URL’s only and make players that will allow full screen mode. This is the best paid solution I have found to combine the upload and player controls together.
How it works
You pay a flat $20 monthly fee for the service and then you pay Amazon S3 for the use of the server bandwidth.
The downside is if EZS3 go out of business you will lose your players. The protection is that your files are all still on the Amazon S3 site and you can make a new player later. You always retain your source files.
The other benefits
You can use this service for FLV, MPEG4, MOV, SWF, JPG, GIF, Camtasia Codec, WMV, AVI, PDF, MP3 and it has other widgets as well. The service also supports cloudfront.net streaming (cloud serving) so that you get fast streaming in your local area. You select this option at Amazon and then tick the box in EZS3. Other features of the player are controls for auto play or not. Center or left / right align and the use of watermarks. You can also see the view rates for your video by graph. This is handy if you want to see how popular your videos are or use it for split testing.
For secure, fast, high quality brandable videos that are easy to load and stream use Amazon S3 combined with EZS3 video and you have a great low cost robust solution.