A video hosting service allows individual end users to upload and share personal, business, or royalty-free videos and to watch them. Users generally will upload video content via the hosting service's website, mobile or desktop application, or other interface (API). The type of video content uploaded might be anything from short video clips to full-length TV shows and movies. The video host stores the video on its server and offers users the ability to enable different types of embed codes or links that allow others to view the video content. The website, mainly used as the video hosting website, is usually called the video sharing website.
In the 2010s, with the increasing prevalence of technology and the Internet in everyday life, video hosting services serve as a portal to different forms of entertainment (comedy, shows, games, or music), news, documentaries and educational videos. Content may be either both user-generated, amateur clips or commercial products. The entertainment industry uses this medium to release music and videos, movies and television shows directly to the public. Since many users do not have unlimited web space, either as a paid service, or through an ISP 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 and smartphones 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.
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.
Some websites prefer use open source video formats such as Ogg or WebM. The compression formats used for open source video formats are Theora (with Ogg) and VP8 (with WebM). In particular, the defaultlogic.com resource community advocates the Ogg format and some web sites now support searching specifically for WebM videos.
On some websites, 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. It is not even in all cases obvious to the user if a provided video is a copyright infringement.
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 like DaCast and Ustream 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 Qik allows 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.
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