A video hosting service allows individuals to upload video content to share, distribute or place on a website. Users generally will upload via the hosting service’s website, mobile or desktop applications or APIs. The type of video content uploaded can be anything from short video clips all the way to full length movies. The video host will then store the video on its server, and show the individual different types of embed codes or links to allow others to view this video. The website, mainly used as the video hosting website, is usually called the video sharing website.
With the increasing prevalence of technology and the Internet in everyday life, video hosting services serve as a portal to different forms of entertainment, whether it be comedy, shows, games, or music. Content may be either both user-generated or commercial product. The entertainment industry now uses this medium to release music and videos as well as movies and television shows directly to the public. Since many users do not have unlimited web space, either as a paid service, or through anISP offering, video hosting services are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the explosion in popularity of blogs, internet forums, and other interactive pages.
The mass market for camera phones has increased the supply of user-generated video. Traditional methods of personal video distribution, such as making a DVD to show to friends at home, are unsuited to the low resolution and high volume of camera phone clips. In contrast, current broadband Internet connections are well suited to serving the quality of video shot on mobile phones. Most people do not own web servers, and this has created demand for user-generated video content hosting.
Purpose of video hosts (for users)
- Save on bandwidth costs, often eliminating costs entirely
- Creating a common place
- Make a hassle-free experience, where uploading a video and streaming or embedding would normally require advanced programming knowledge. It is now commonly achieved through a web browser, with little programming experience.
History of video hosting services
Before Vimeo and then YouTube changed the way videos were hosted on the web, the first internet video hosting site was shareyourworld.com. Just like the modern hosting services, it allowed users to upload clips or full videos in different file formats. It was founded in 1997 by Chase Norlin and it ran till 2001 where it closed due to budget and bandwidth problems.
Free video format support
Some web sites prefer to use open video formats such as Ogg or WebM. See also VP8 and HTML5-TV and Category:Free video software. In particular, the Wikipedia community advocates the Ogg format and some web sites now supports searching specifically for WebM videos.
On some web sites, users share entire films by breaking them up into segments that are about the size of the video length limit imposed by the site (e.g. a 15 minute video length limit). An emerging practice is for users to obfuscate the titles of feature-length films that they share by providing a title that is recognizable by humans but will not match on standard search engines.
Mobile video hosting
A more recent application of the video hosting services is in the mobile web 2.0 arena, where video and other mobile content can be delivered to, and easily accessed by mobile devices. While some video-hosting services have developed means by which video can be watched on mobile devices, mobile-oriented web-based frontends for video hosting services that possess equal access and capability to desktop oriented web services have yet to be developed. A mobile live streaming software called Qikallows the users to upload videos from their cell phones to the internet. The videos will then be stored online and can be shared to various social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Videos will be stored on the servers and can be watched from both the mobile devices and the website.