Saturday, July 05, 2008

Online Video: Quantity or Quality?

Cross-posted from

Can YouTube survive with millions of lower-quality videos?

Here on my blog, I post a lot of videos. Most of them are there just for me, kind of like an online video album of funny or poignant things I find, so I don't have to hunt for them again.

The majority of videos that I post are from YouTube. For example, I have posted my favorite movie scene of all time, a tribute to the comic genius of Harvey Korman and Tim Conway, and a video of a Japanese game show that encourages people to impersonate celebrities and, in this case, a group of people have chosen to recreate "We Are The World."

But I've also posted a TED Talk from Isabel Allende (powered by Video Egg), the heartstring-tugging Where The Hell Is Matt (powered by Vimeo), and a clip of Tim Russert on Conan O'Brien (powered by Hulu).

Here's my question: the non-YouTube videos are of much higher quality, and yet YouTube seems to be the industry standard -- or, at least, the go-to site for the average user. Will there come a time when YouTube goes hi-def, or is YouTube's ubiquity a result of its non-hi-def-ness?
To me, the difference in video quality is stark. Here's the same clip of Finger Eleven's acoustic performance of "Paralyzer" on K-ROCK*, first on YouTube and then on Vimeo.

YouTube Quality

Vimeo Quality

So, what do you think? Is America destined to poor-quality video, or will we see either the upgrade of YouTube or the takeover of online video by a competitor?

* Yes, I agree that this is a random video to choose, but you can see the difference, right?


jss said...

When I started watching the TED video, I was amazed by the quality over the other videos you posted. It's funny that you turned it into a post because I noticed it immediately. (unfortunately, I was called away and didn't get to watch more than a few seconds of the TED video). YouTube's video quality has always sucked, and probably always will. My guess is that it's low quality due to their high volume. It would be stupidly expensive to host/store all of those videos in hi-def, if you could even get them in hi-def.... If crappy video cell phones go hi-def, YouTube watch out!!!!!

Sarah (The 7th grade science teacher) said...

I gave up on YouTube long ago, partly because of the block on the district server.

SSS said...

Wait -- you can't get YouTube videos at the school? That's dumb, because I thought YouTube was all PG or below. Don't they monitor it for the scandalous stuff?

Sarah said...

I think they are more concerned with the the amount of (bandwidth?) space it takes on our already limited server. They have also blocked all known game sites excluding some "educational" sites. What irritates me is that they blocked the Java site because of the games and I needed the updates for yearbook. They never did solve that issue. Grrrr.