Video hosting shootout: Youtube, Google, Vimeo, MySpace …

Let’s compare some of the main video hosting services. Now that YouTube has been sold to Google, maybe one of these is on the shopping list of Microsoft or Yahoo!

The source: mobile video

The source file I used was recorded with my Nokia N91 phone at a concert of Billie King in the Ancienne Belgique (Brussels), at the end of their set. The cute girl you see hitting the cymbals is Isolde Lasoen, Belgium’s finest female drummer. The equally cute lead singer is Tine Reymer.

The input file is:

  • video format: MPEG-4 (compressed), 352 x 288 pixels, 15 fps
  • filesize: 7.817.226 bytes
  • duration: 0:01:54 (114 seconds) – so around 550 kbps bitrate

This means that (a) the source material was already compressed and comes from a consumer-grade, low-quality camera, so it was no DVD quality to start with and (b) the source dimensions (352 wide) are smaller than most embedded players(400-480 wide) so the movie had to be upsized, which adds some more distortion.

Video hosting services


Size: 425 x 350


Google Video

Isolde on Google Video
Size: 400 x 326

MySpace video

Get this video and more at
Size: 430 x 346


Isolde Lasoen – drummer of Billie King
Uploaded by pforret
Size: 425 x 364


Vimeo actually shows the video in its original MP4 format: best quality, but full size (> 7MB). Moreover, it always loads the clip in an embedded Quicktime player, it does not wait until you press ‘play’.

Isolde Lasoen – Billie King concert on Vimeo
Size: 400 x 324


Size: 480 x 392


Size: 343 x 290


View Isolde on Clipshack
Size: 430 x 354


  • I haven’t researched which services use what kind of compression (need to set-up a packet sniffer for that).
  • The only service that does not use a Flash player + FLV Flash video is Vimeo. Their leave-the-format alone approach makes that the servers need less CPU (no transcoding necessary) but more bandwidth. Additionally, the lack of a Flash player means that there is no thumbnail, and the video starts loading right away.
  • Thanks to the fact that I made this blog template wide enough to show Flickr pictures at normal width (i.e. slightly wider than 500px), I could show all movies. If your layout is different, you might have trouble with the Revver (480px wide) format.
  • Most services take their thumbnail around the same time: some 5 seconds into the movie. Google Video takes it screenshot way further (around 15 seconds).

14 thoughts on “Video hosting shootout: Youtube, Google, Vimeo, MySpace …”

  1. Thanks for this… I’d really love to the exact ideal formatting for each site. Then I can set compression master up with all the settings and syndicate a new video quickly. It just seems like they should post that in the help section at least.

  2. Anyone else having bother with myspace or is it just my pc?
    Last couple of days it seems it wont let me download any song from anywhere.
    Anyone having same bother – or anyone how to sort it?

  3. Good choice of song. But the singer needs to turn up the crazyness.

    Anyways, the Google one sounded best to me, aside from the original. The revver one sounded worst. And I think the YouTube one looked worst maybe?

  4. Google Video has always been my favorite and now after your comparison I realize the reasons why. It has the clearest, fastest, and least buffered embeddable video playback. Awesome frame rate, hardly any pixelation, barely ever needs to buffer.

    Google Video should have just outdone YouTube instead of bought it. Their service is by far superior in a hardware aspect. Or perhaps now that they have merged they need to better optimize YouTube to at least meet Google Video. That seems like it should have been high on the priority list after it’s purchase. I would use YouTube for my personal videos and website embedding more had it added these small enhancements.

  5. I don’t understand why test in an extrapolated clip from a phone. A large portion of the clips are intra-polated, that is, the source is LARGER than the final destination.

    I find downsizing videos at upload time sometimes creates more distortion than upsizing at play time. This could be because larger videos have usually better initial quality than phone capture, therefore larger expectations for quality.

    Thanks for compare & cheers,

  6. Which video host service is best for someone to embed onto their MySpace, website etc. ?

    I have been uploading clips on Vimeo.
    I like the interface/look of Vimeo, but when someone embedded it onto their MySpace page the playback on their MySpace was choppy, like 5-7 frames per second.

    Is there a way to optimize or is it just inherent with the video host ?

  7. Using such a low quality material to test video services is not a reliable approach.

    From my point of view the only visually different video is the one with the myspace player. The reason for this is probably the enabled smoothing in the player… or maybe a sorenson h.263 codec that adds a bit of bleaching in some cases. IMO this is the best result.

    Also the GoFish player is missing for me(a black box is shown instead).

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