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Review: Nideo Professional Video Hosting
Smaller companies that need an online video platform for hosting should consider Nideo, which stands apart thanks to its compact, attractive player and comprehensive analytics.
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Down the road, if you change your website colors and need to adjust the player to match, with Nideo, you’ll have to change each player individually; with Wistia, you can apply any changes to all videos. Taking this one step further, services like Brightcove separate the player from the video, so rather than customize player appearance for a particular video, you simply choose a player that you've already customized. Any subsequent design changes to the player are automatically applied to all videos that use that player. This is a model that Nideo is working towards, but there’s no firm availability date.

To be clear, if you have ten or fifteen videos on your website, it’s not such a big deal, particularly if your website is locked down design-wise for the next 12-18 months. If you’re pointing all your viewers to the Nideo page for viewing, it’s also not a big deal. On the other hand, if you have dozens or hundreds of videos you intend to embed, and frequently change website design, it’s definitely a deficit to consider.

Marketing-Related Features

Nideo does include several useful marketing-oriented features in both the player and analytics side. Player-related features are shown in Figure 3. As you can see, you can require the viewer to enter their email address at the start, end or at a specified time during the video, and allow them to skip this requirement if desired. Email addresses are mailed to you weekly in a CSV file, though the company plans to enable direct downloading in the near term. Note that Nideo does not currently offer integration with email services like Aweber and MailChimp, as does Wistia, though it’s coming.

Figure 3. In the player section, you can collect email addresses and insert a clickable call to action.

You can also create a clickable call to action at the end of the video that looks like the small thumbnail to the right of the text box in Figure 3. When the viewer clicks the link it takes them to the URL above the text box. This feature worked as advertised in all of my tests.

Sharing and Embedding

Once you’ve got player features set, it’s time to share your video with the world. Beyond embedding in your own website or blog, you can also embed the video for playback in Twitter and Facebook, which I tested and worked well, with the exceptions noted below. Note that if you share from the Share & Embed controls on the Nideo site, as shown in Figure 4, and viewers click the supplied link, they’re sent to the video on the Nideo page, not the embedded page, which makes sense, but might not be the desired result.

Figure 4. The Share and embed controls.

Note, however, that, if you embed the video into your website, and invite viewers from there, or tweet or post to Facebook from there, viewers who click the supplied link (as opposed to playing the video in situ) are still taken to the Nideo page, not the embedded page, which almost certainly isn’t the desired result. This is what YouTube does as well, but Wistia gives you the option to send the viewer to the Wistia page or the embedded page. Nideo says that they are considering this alternative as well.

Figure 5. A video embedded for playback in Twitter.  This function worked well.

An Elegant Player

The Nideo player is a distinct strength. All share and embed links are within the player, creating a neater appearance than players like Wistia’s, where the links are beneath the player. Users can right click to choose HTML5 instead of Flash, and can choose to play in SD or HD. When a viewer shares the video via email (Figure 6),  the message is handled by Nideo within the message window; while Wistia uses the email client on the computer.

Figure 6. The Nideo player is very neat and tidy, and totally self-contained.

Creating video lists (AKA playlists) is simple. You click into the My Video Lists (or Edit Video Lists) interface, where you click on the target videos to select them. Configuring the player is exactly like configuring the normal player, except there’s one more set of options, whether to stop after each video, or auto play through all the videos. Video lists are distinguished from normal videos by Video List text and an icon on the upper right. Viewers can click the icon to show all the videos in the list (Figure 7).

Figure 7. A video list.

A video list has all the player and social media options as the normal player, though when I tried to embed a playlist in Twitter, the link appeared, not the video itself. When I embedded a video list in Facebook, it simply wouldn’t play. Probably not a big deal for most users, but something to keep in mind if you use the platform and want to post a link to video lists.

I tested playback of single videos and video lists on a variety of platforms. Mac and Windows computers played both with no problem. Table 1 shows the results from other test platforms, old and new. All platforms played the single file located on my site without problem.

 iPhone 6Samsung Nexus 10iPad 1iPod touch 4
OSiOS 8.1.3Android 4.4.3iOS 5.1.1iOS 6.1.6
BrowserSafariChromeSafariSafari
Single file on NideoVideo played OKVideo played OKVideo played OKVideo played OK
Single file on my siteOKOKOKOK
Video list - play throughYesYesYesYes
Video list - choose videoYesYesNoNo
Access sharing optionsYesYesNoNo

Table 1. Summary of test results for mobile playback of single and video list files.

Video lists played successfully from start to finish on all players, a significant achievement, though I was only able to select videos to play within the list (see Figure 7) on the iPhone 6 and Nexus 10. Similarly, I was able to access all sharing options on the two newer devices, but not the two ancient devices. Overall, while not perfect, this is a very high level of mobile compatibility, particularly with newer devices.

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