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Video quality: Blip.tv gets the nod here because it permits users to stream and download the original, high-quality file. DivX Stage6's DivX compression also gets high marks.
Most of the services we tested convert video uploads to good- but not great-looking (and often slightly dark) Flash 8 format, which uses the On2 VP6 codec. On the other hand, some sites--notably YouTube--still use the lower-quality Flash 7 format, which relies on the older Sorensen Spark codec.
Blip.tv lets users stream or download your original high-quality video file; it also lets you make available video that's ideal for iPod and cell phone playback.
Eighth-place Vimeo also allows users to download--but not stream--the original high-quality file; and DivX Stage6, our number two service, lets viewers stream or download original files, with a couple of small catches.
Not surprisingly, since it's run by the folks behind the DivX format, Stage6 requires you to convert video to that format before you upload it. Thankfully, the site links to free and painless conversion software (Dr. DivX), and the resulting video quality ranks as the best we saw outside of an original source file--impressive, given that the software took just under a minute to squish our test file down to only 10.5MB.
The fame game: If you want your video to reach the largest possible audience, then you'll need to follow the eyeballs. In South Korea, that would mean using Cyworld, while in France you'd probably use Dailymotion. The rest of us have YouTube. You could try MySpaceTV or Google Video instead, though Google says it "envisions most user-generated and premium video content being hosted on YouTube."
We particularly appreciated a unique feature of Revver whereby you earn 20 percent of the revenue from videos you've shared (on, say, your Revver page or a personal blog) even if they're not yours; the remaining 80 percent is split evenly between the video's creator and Revver.
Mobile uploads: Blip.tv and Jumpcut let you upload videos captured by your camera phone by attaching the video to an e-mail message while YouTube uses your cell phone's MMS (Multimedia Message Service) capabilities. But in previous tests conducted with a Palm Treo 750 smart phone, we couldn't upload videos of more than 5 seconds' duration at the phone's best resolution because the Cingular service it used limits files sent via MMS to 300KB. Verizon limits MMS video transmissions to 350KB, and Sprint limits them to 15 seconds.
Think before you link: Even if you're posting embedded video on your personal blog, most of the players that we looked at link back to their Web site in some way. This state of affairs raises the possibility of stumbling upon video, comments, or advertising that some people might consider inappropriate. Many sites have "family filters" that are enabled by default, but it's still worth checking what surrounds your video before you dispatch a mass e-mail notification to friends, family, and colleagues.
Protect your copyright: Be sure to read a video sharing site's terms and conditions carefully before you upload. Most sites we looked at have license agreements under the terms of which you grant the service the right to do things like host, transcode, distribute, and make money by selling advertising around your video. Usually, these are basic boilerplate agreements that let you retain copyright control and the ability to remove a video at all times. Most sites inform visitors that your video is a protected work--not in the public domain. Some, like Blip.tv and Revver, even let you use certain Creative Commons licenses that let you decide whether you want to require attribution, restrict commercial use, or allow modifications and reuse under specified terms.
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