One Video URL to Rule Them All

By Michael Rohde

HTML5 is changing the landscape on how video is presented on web pages. New formats, codecs, screen sizes, devices and browsers are being developed on a continuous basis. What’s one to do? Do you follow Microsoft and continue coding for H.264? Or do you follow Google, Mozilla and Opera in the direction of WebM?

The challenge for web developers should not be having to decide which side of the fence they want to code on. The challenge shouldn’t even be evaluating which devices or browsers their visitors use so they can make an informed decision on how to code. In a Utopian world, there should be one format for all devices. This zen state of mind is coming your way via encoding.com.

Encoding.com is a start up that provides video encoding services for 1,400 customers and has been around since 2009. Their latest venture is Vid.ly, which provides a universal video URL. Basically, they are going to take the guess work out of how to code your video. They will do all of the heavy lifting for you. The service relies on the Amazon Web Services to host the video and the Vid.ly service will translate your video to appear on whatever device or browser your visitor is using.

Let’s say for example you want to promote a brand new video on your site through Twitter, which can be used on any number of handhelds, laptops and desktops. And let’s say that your audience might use Internet Explorer at work, an iPad on the train during their commute and Mozilla when they get home at night. Catering to each of those browsers, devices, screen sizes and situations could require a developer to potentially write their code several different ways. Vid.ly’s answer to this scenario is a single snippet of JavaScript:

<video id='vidly-video' controls='controls' width='640'
height='390'><source src='http://vid.ly/5u4h3e?content=video'/>
<script id='vidjs' language='javascript' src='http://m.vid.ly/js/html5.js'></script>
They even have a solution for those with Flash players on their site.

In Vid.ly’s words, they “create a high quality VP6 FLV version of your video and provide a direct FLV url to plug directly into your custom, commercial, or open source Flash player, JW Player, Flowplayer, or OMS.

My personal site still depends on YouTube for our video hosting needs. Why? Because hosting my own video proves to be incredibly slow and tools like Flowplayer do not work on iOS devices. I am severely limiting the potential of my site, and crippling my visitors, by restricting my site to a certain format. However, relying on YouTube to host video is on the amateur side of the fence, in my opinion. A service like Vid.ly could be the answer to many problems.

Vid.ly is currently in beta and is open to only a few select testers. However, they do have a page where you can request an invite. I know I put in my request.

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