There are typically 2 ways to use the JW player to play HD video on your web pages, 1) By using “legally debatable” ways around YouTube’s security and downloading the MP4 files directly from YouTube, and 2) Downloading the video(s) from your own web server(s) and having to accept the less than desirable download speed, where your website visitors experience multiple “buffering” interruptions.
Now’s there’s a THIRD option, Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and in my opinion, a TOTAL NO BRAINER.
I’ve been using Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) at work for well over a year without a problem.
What is Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)?
Well, instead of putting your videos on your own web server(s), you’ll upload them to Amazon S3, and when your website visitors view videos on your website, they will download/stream the video from Amazon S3 at HIGH SPEED. So, as the name suggests, Amazon S3 provides storage for you to host any files, where the files be MP4, MP3, PDF, SWF, images, etc.
Sounds too good to be true, what’s the catch?
You have to pay for it! HOWEVER, it is ridiculously inexpensive! To give you an example of how ridiculously inexpensive it is, in an average 30 day period there are approx 430 HOURS of video viewed on my company’s website. I’ve never seen a monthly invoice of more than US$30.00! Surely there’s a minimum payment right? No, no minimum, you just pay for what you use (See http://aws.amazon.com/s3/#pricing).
How reliable is it?
You’ve heard of Amazon right? As in the US$ Billion retailer. This is what THEY use. No reliability problems! Not a problem in the year I’ve used them for my company’s website.
Why haven’t I heard of Amazon S3?
It appears to me (and you’ll see why if you setup an account with them) as though they market their services and products to Service Providers, who then add their own functionality and market directly to consumers like us.
Why not just continue to download straight from YouTube?
You can continue downloading MP4 videos directly from YouTube in a “legally debatable” manner, however, as you’ve no doubt experienced, YouTube enhance their security approximately over 6-12months, and when that happens you need to scramble and find a workaround for the enhanced security. In fact at the time of writing this article (April 11th 2010) there wasn’t a workaround published for the March 2010 YouTube security enhancements, and I’ve had to tell my readers/subscribers to just use the YouTube type with the JW Player, and display the YouTube logo and have all the hassle of not having any stretching.
Are there any disadvantages to using Amazon S3?
As I said above, they don’t appear to market directly to the consumer, and as such their website is intimidating with all their different services that most of us wouldn’t even understand. Even when you have signed up with Amazon S3, there isn’t even a web interface to upload your files with!! Instead they give you 2 encrypt/decrypt keys and it’s up to you to use them. HOWEVER, there is a FREE third party add-on for Firefox that makes everything easy and “File Manager” like, and I’ll explain all about that in my next article in this Amazon S3 series.
Decided you want to try Amazon S3 or find out more about it?
See my next article in this series, How to use Amazon S3 with your Website.