Over the past few years, I’ve been looking for a convenient and inexpensive host for streaming video files. I have experimented with quite a few options without really finding the ideal service. The grant for the streaming video project has given me a reason to explore a few options–and hopefully, but into a service that will work well for my purposes. If you are planning to use video projects in your teaching, you might look into the following:

  • YouTube leads off. It is attractive for a few reasons: first, it has the largest video-viewing audience on the Web if you are interested in reaching the most people possible. It also has a nice quick-capture feature–that is, you can plug your camcorder into your computer and record directly to YouTube. Upload and processing is also quick. YouTube allows users to keep their videos private (up to 25 people can watch a video with this designation) via email invitation. The downsides are that YouTube automatically converts videos to 320 X 240 resolution and has no high-definition streaming options. YouTube also limits uploads to 10 minutes or 100 MB–hardly enough for substantial video projects, unless you want to break it into parts, which is tedious. And there is no way to download YouTube videos easily, unless you install the new Real Player. Of course, you’ll still need to covert any downloaded file: YouTube is a Flash-based streaming server.
  • Teacher Tube is video sharing site for educators. Unlike YouTube, though, there are no size and time limits for uploaded files. You can also keep a video private, set up a teachertube blog, and join forums with other teachers. All of this for free.
  • Google Video (now merged with YouTube) is another great service provided by Google. It doesn’t have the audience that YouTube itself has, but searching Google Video does yield YouTube results. And there are no size or length limits. Google video provides an easy-to-use desktop uploader for files over 100 MB. The service also imposes the same 320 x 240 format, no matter the original size of your video. A plus is that users can download videos easily.

To be continued.