Monday, January 24, 2011

Vid.ly: Universal video for the masses

Earlier today, Encoding.com announced a new service, Vid.ly, that dramatically simplifies the distribution of video content to just about any device. To use Vid.ly (currently in invitation-only beta), you simply submit a video file on an FTP server or in the cloud, or upload a file from your local system. Vid.ly converts the file into a variety of different formats and codecs, assigns a single universal URL to the file, and then serves the appropriate version based on the device and browser that you use. For example, if you're using an iOS device, Vid.ly will send an H.264 file with resolution appropriate to the device. If you're viewing the video in Google's Chrome, it will send a WebM file. Using a Nokia phone? No problem--Vid.ly will send a video file that's compatible with the device. What about Internet Explorer? It'll send a Flash file.

This is an incredibly powerful offering. You no longer have to detect the kind of device, browser, and codecs installed on a target device, nor do you have to come up with an "if...then" scheme that chooses among various formats, codecs and resolutions. Vid.ly does all the work for you.

I uploaded a video that Barnes & Noble produced to introduce the Nook Color (I used portions of it in one of my Feldman File videoblogs last year.) I originally downloaded the video from YouTube as a 720P H.264 file, and then uploaded it to Vid.ly. If you want to see it for yourself, go to http://vid.ly/9d4t6p.

Update, January 25, 2011: In addition to the link above, I embedded some code supplied by Vid.ly that was supposed to do "universal" browser detection. The code worked fine in Firefox, my usual browser, but caused major layout changes in Chrome and completely broke in Internet Explorer 8, so I've removed it. They've clearly still got some bugs to work out.
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