Experience VideoVista

very good
key review info
application features
  • No dedicated video server; can be used with Apache, IIS, and every other Web server
  • (5 more, see all...)

Web video streaming is keeping up the pace with the rest of web technologies on the market. Web sites focusing on video content only are more and more numerous. Some of them are true giants and almost monopolize the market. Most of you know that 90% of the video content on the web is in Flash format. This should not come as a surprise as this type of file is very flexible when it comes to embedding on web pages and the size of the video file is greatly reduced by the encoding.

However, video streaming, besides sharing video information with the end user, also allows you to protect your videos from being stolen. Usually for video content streaming the end user would need a bunch of codecs and a good Internet connection. Given the fact that Internet connection is no longer a problem for most of us (as for the others, this will soon be fixed as the Internet connection price is on downslope and the bandwidth is getting better by the day), the only problem would be the codecs.

For the streamer, the thorniest problem is finding a server to store the video content and roll it beck to the users. Well, this used to be the problem as Vista Tecnologie came up with the solution to the issue and created VideoVista. The application is a video encoder to the software's native file format, .vvf. The good news is that you no longer need a server and the quality of the video will not diminish by much.

Additionally, there is no need for the end user to download and install a myriad of codecs just to watch a little movie on the Internet. VideoVista uses Java applet as video player so you will no longer have to wait on downloading and installing video codecs.

The price? For the Home Edition there is no fee, but if you want more options and a larger window to work in, then Professional is what you are looking for. The price of this edition of the software is significant, reaching to approximately $250. VideoVista is actually a video encoder that converts the AVI, MPG, MOV, MP4 and 3GP (or any other format supported by Windows 2000 and Windows XP) video files into VVF, the software's native format.

The interface is as simple as can be, containing the essential options necessary for encoding a video. There is no complicated deal into this and even a rookie could get along quite successfully. The three parts stated in the online help file composing the interface (Video tab, Batch tab and the Menu) are not clearly delimited, but this will not hinder at all your activity.

The Video tab allows you to specify the video source and output folder. The output folder will not result in a single video file of VVF format. The user has the choice of configuring the software to also generate an HTML page. This way you can preview the quality of the video and the way it looks in the web page. Another file generated by VideoVista is in JAR format. This is an important component as it encloses the Java applet player necessary for viewing the video.

One thing, though. In order to encode a larger number of video formats you should check for the necessary codecs required by the video format. Otherwise, VideoVista will not be able to complete the job and will display an alert suggesting to download the appropriate video and audio codecs.

In the right hand part of the Video window there is displayed the video information. This contains the duration of the video, the frames per second, audio channel type, aspect ratio and the audio sample rate. For the encoded video some of these settings can be changed as well as the section of the video to be converted. You can set a start and end time of the video and perform a cropping of the video. The downside is that there is no real preview to this and you will have to wait to see the change on the output result.

Additional options include selecting the streams to encode the video for. The available options in this concern are Modem, ISDN, ADSL1 and 2 and MEGA. But the flexibility of the software allows adding more options by the user. Just click on an empty box and type in all the values and the name for the desired stream.

Although web video streaming is protective enough, VideoVista comes with additional security options. There is the possibility that the resulting video subject to video streaming to be protected via encryption from being delivered by unknown domains. During the encryption process there will be generated a security file that should be embedded in the applet as parameter. The applet will check the security file and will give a green/red light to playing the video, according to the list of allowed/restricted domains set by the user.

More then this, a secured video can be supplied with an expiration date. This means that if the user defined date expires, the video will no longer be available for streaming from the domains in the list. For each domain, you can set a different expiration date.

The Good

Working with the application is easy and poses no problem, absolute beginners included. There are no fancy options and every setting is as clear as can be.

All the end users need to have on their computers in order to benefit from the advantages of VVF files web streaming is Java. The rest is up to VideoVista. No codecs, no players, just a web browser with Java support.

There is no time limit to the video and there is no problem if it is a bit lengthy as the application will encode it with the same ease.

It has support for batch encoding. The video quality of the encoded video is pretty close to the original.

The Bad

If you have later versions of Windows Media Player the preview window will not work. I wish there was a "live" preview for the crop option and setting the time range by simply dragging the player's progress bar (I think it would have been easier).

The application window cannot be resized no matter what. Some users may feel quite uncomfortable about this.

The Truth

The application is extremely easy to use. The trick is what you do once the encoding is done. Judging by the price, it is clear that its target is not the home users segment (for them there is the Home Edition).

There is no doubt that there is a little more work to be done here as the application still has some steps to make in order to achieve full maturity. But the start is promising.

I cannot judge the price of the application as it is intended for companies, so I will leave the Price/Value rating at its default level. The value of the program is evident for the video authors, as it allows them to protect their copyrighted content.

Here are some snapshots of the application in action:

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user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 3

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
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