Life without Google: youtube edition

Among other things, I’m trying to find a streaming video substitute for youtube. Ideally, in the spirit of Project Reclaim, it would be self-hosted. Since I’ve got unlimited storage and bandwidth, why not?

Videopress looks interesting, and has nice features, but despite being open-source, it doesn’t look like there’s an easy way to install it on my hosting account and save video locally. Instead, it requires a $60 annual fee and a wordpress.com account to host the actual video files, with a 3 GB storage limit (expandable for a fee). Today’s daily update was 12 MB for 30 seconds; even if I only do daily updates, I’d burn up my 3 GB in less than a year. So much for videopress.

Next, I tried JW player for WordPress. It’s free, and it stores video locally. I ran into several problems with this one: first, my hosting account has a default upload limit of 10 MB, which is less than 30 seconds of video. I had several “500 Internal Server” errors trying to upload a post before I figured out it was a php error, and then had to figure out how to change the php configuration. Not for the faint of heart. After all that, the video wouldn’t stream. I’ve spent too much time futzing around already; so much for JW player.

Finally, I’ve installed All-in-one video pack from Kaltura. It’s open source, and it’s free, both plusses. On the other hand, my video isn’t hosted on my site (it’s not entirely clear where it goes–somewhere on one of Kaltura’s servers) and the video resolution isn’t great. But the biggest feature: it works without configuration or futzing around on my part. It doesn’t seem to work with the WordPress android app, though, so I don’t know that it will be a solution for posting ephemeral videos.

The search continues.

4 responses to “Life without Google: youtube edition

  1. Video is my big concern in all this. In my case YouTube has become so embedded in my support model that prying myself away from Google is proving extremely problematic.

    More than that though, I’m trying to think of models to suggest to staff who don’t have the expertise to run systems themselves. Even I’m not all that keen on setting up my own video streaming service; someone new to technology will just put it in the too-hard basket.

    I want to spend some more time looking into services like Blip.TV and Vimeo – both of which I’ve used in the past but haven’t read the fine-print in their TOS and Privacy policies.

    Ultimately though the worry with any free-to-use service (or even paid-for services) is that they’ll do a massive about fact and betray user trust in the way that Google has done.

    The potential damage of that in an already skeptical faculty will be really hard to undo. If we can’t trust a company that swears to “Do no evil,” who can we trust? It’s a hard argument to counter, and I’m not sure I even can at this point πŸ™

    • Video is hard. I’m not at all sure I’ll be able to figure out how to self-host my own videos. While I”m not all that technically skilled, I’m terribly stubborn. I think you’re right that it’s a non-starter for almost everyone. I have a blip.tv account; when I signed up it had better terms of service than youtube, but that may well have changed in the past 3 years. The other thing that youtube has going for it is closed captioning–it handles captions better than blip.tv, and it also creates a machine transcription to automatically caption videos (very imperfect captions, but they’re a start and can be edited so you don’t have to create a caption file from scratch).

  2. That was meant to read “massive about-face” by the way. πŸ™‚

  3. Well, it turns out I made video harder than it needed to be. Look for a post later with more details.