ReviewCam: Delve Into Video Publishing - InformationWeek

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7/19/2009
03:57 PM
Fritz Nelson
Fritz Nelson
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ReviewCam: Delve Into Video Publishing

Publishing video is exciting, but it's not easy. It requires a hefty infrastructure to store and deliver it, and systems that can manage and organize all of that video content. Video hosting and content management is big business these days and new companies are constantly emerging in this space. I had a chance to take a look at Delve Networks' offering, and while it offers most of the basic features that others do, it has some pretty compelling aspects to as well.

Publishing video is exciting, but it's not easy. It requires a hefty infrastructure to store and deliver it, and systems that can manage and organize all of that video content. Video hosting and content management is big business these days and new companies are constantly emerging in this space. I had a chance to take a look at Delve Networks' offering, and while it offers most of the basic features that others do, it has some pretty compelling aspects to as well.

Most video hosting solutions provide storage, work with a content delivery network for the delivery infrastructure, and have hosting software that lets you upload, organize and manage your video content. Most also provide some form of automated transcoding, usually from just about any format (QuickTime, WMV, etc.) into Flash; Delve's system transcodes into MP4 and uses an H.264 codec. Most video systems -- Delve's included -- have also started to support Dynamic Delivery, which transcodes the video into several different bit-rate versions, and then the system can detect the viewer's available bandwidth and deliver the highest quality version possible.

Video systems also provide reporting, allow some level of content syndication (usually in the form of e-mail, RSS feed, embedding and links). Each offers a particular bell or whistle, like Magnify, which lets you aggregate video content from outside your network; or systems like BrightCove and Feedroom which let you extract content from its system via an XML feed and integrate it into your own content management system or other customized wrappers using their media APIs.

There are a few things that stand out among Delve's features. First, its upload interface is quite simple. I like its progress bar during the upload, but I wish it continued through the transcoding and other processes, but that's really a nitpick. It's very easy to move videos in and out of playlists, and it seems fairly simple to syndicate video. But like with any user interface, it's just what you get used to. Most of the features are similar to what I've seen from the many other video publishing systems, including offering a handful of player templates that you can use as is, or customize some of the graphical elements.

I also liked Delve's reporting. Most of the video hosting solutions I've worked with tend to be a bit sparse on detail -- in fact, I've found this to be a glaring weakness in most every platform. It's fine to know how many views a video got, or the length of viewing time, but being able to hone in on viewership numbers based on syndicated player, for example, or time of day is becoming increasingly important. While I only got a cursory look at the reporting, it seems quite robust, and as with many systems, you can pull its data into something like Omniture.

One of the coolest features was the ability to search for content within the video (called Search Inside). The example Delve used was Barak Obama's inaugural speech, and when I looked up various topics, it showed me a heat map along the video's timeline, where I could not only see related topics/words, but indications of relevance, and I could go right to that spot in the video. The company says it uses semantic-based video technology to pull this off, not just simple content transcription.

I've also been getting many requests for Silverlight player support and Delve says it is pretty close to launching something here.

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