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A Virtual Home for Your Films

Illustration: Edwin Fotheringham

You put a lot of effort into your home movies: recording them, and then editing them down to tight, 1-minute shows. To share these movies, you could burn them onto DVDs and mail them to your friends--but there's an easier way. Several hosting services let you upload your videos and then share them--with your friends or with the entire world--via the Web.

One of our favorites is Revver, a relative newcomer. Like the other services here, Revver sells ads that appear with your videos--but unlike the others, Revver shares 50 percent of the ad revenue with you. To facilitate this, you have to enter a bit more information than on other sites. An optional utility, Revver Uploader, simplifies uploading files over 10MB. Revver does not limit the size or quantity of files you can upload.

Revver displays videos in the browser, and tacks ads on to each one. But it shares the ad revenue with you.
Revver displays videos in the browser, and tacks ads on to each one. But it shares the ad revenue with you.

The service's playback interface is simple and reliable. Even if you didn't set up your videos as streaming files, Revver streams the video on playback.You are free to download Revver videos, since they have ads embedded in them, and you can republish them anywhere on the Internet. (Finding the download link is a bit of a challenge, though: You go to the detail page for a video, scroll down to the base of the page, and at the bottom of the yellow box labeled "Grab this video" you'll see a link that says "Download Entire Video.")

Comparatively basic, Putfile doesn't automatically stream video (you may have to download a whole file before you can view it), but it works reliably and well. You can upload as many video or audio files as you like under 25MB (2MB for still images). A handy drop-down box lets you select the size of the video. Putfile doesn't support keyword tagging, so videos can be hard to find later.

Vimeo may be the easiest service to use. You can upload 20MB of video files per week. Videos are not streamed on playback, but a link lets you save files locally.

Want to share lots of big files in addition to videos? Try Streamload Mediamax, a storage site that gives you 25GB of free online storage and permits file uploads up to 25MB. (You're limited to 500MB of downloads per month.) The browser-based upload tool is simple and elegant.

For watching videos, Mediamax has a promising-looking frame-by-frame view that enables you to look at selected stills. However, many of the frames looked black in our tests, and the service's in-browser playback didn't function either. Fortunately, Mediamax lets you download the original video files so you can play them back locally.

The lengthy approval process of Google Video may not appeal to amateurs, but the service reaches a large audience.

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