Which Is The Top Embedded Video Player?

    November 28, 2006

If you liked the dueling video services, then here’s something real interesting: Eight different embedded players on a single page, served up as a comparison. While I can’t tell who has the best video quality, there are a few things I can say:

  • Revver’s player is the worst. It offers no extra features or interesting ways of doing them, while packaging it in a way that seems desperate to look cool.
  • Blip’s player is the most boring, ripping off the Quicktime web player.
  • Vimeo has something that should be offered as an option by the other players: No interface at all. When the video plays, everything just dissapears. I wouldn’t like it all the time, but it should be an option.
  • MyHeavy’s player could be the best, if not for a few mistakes. It has lots of useful stuff, but the buttons are too tiny and the player has a space-wasting frame.
  • MetaCafe’s player might have been my favorite simple player, but that top bar is annoyingly tricky, and the animated logo is a stupid distraction.
  • YouTube’s player is still the gold standard of simple players, doing everything it needs to, staying out of the way, and being distinct and well-branded. You know you’re dealing with YouTube whenever you see it.
  • Google’s player is like YouTube’s, but with a typical Google twist: It’s ugly. Otherwise, easy second place.
  • MSN Soapbox’s player is the best advanced feature player, with tons of options that are well-laid out and not annoying, and a great look. I just wish they offered a simple player as an option as well.
  • Players that had a functioning seek bar, one that, when I clicked it while the video was playing, moved the video to where I clicked: zero. All eight fail on that function. Wow.

There are good things about each embedded player, but a lot of flaws as well. Players either fall into the simple or advanced camp (and middle of the road attempts are failures), with YouTube and MSN Soapbox the best of each. I want the opportunity to choose from several players, either on the publisher or the user side, since both models have their benefits. While YouTube’s player has its flaws, it is the king of the hill right now, and what it does, just plain works.

I’d love to see some Photoshops of the ideal player, one that preferably included an easy mode switch between simple and advanced. The simple player needs a play button and seek bar, some form of volume control, branding, a full-screen mode switch, and a link to the original video webpage, while the advanced player should have things like (but not necessarilly all) metadata, statistics, playlists, ratings, downloading the video, getting the video embed code, and bookmarking it.

(via Download Squad)



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Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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