Overview of free video resources

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I’m always keeping an eye on free programs and resources and, of late, have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of free video resources that have been propping up everywhere.

Here’s a list and descriptions of some of the more interesting programs and/or sites that I’ve been keeping notes on:

Joost: a “potentially revolutionary” freeware program from the original creators of Skype. It delivers original content alongside web broadcasts and promises to redefine the standards of video quality delivered online.

Joost delivers more than a hundred channels (so far) that have signed up to be included on the service, including content from sources such as MTV and Warner Bros.

Joost Screenshot

Much like Youtube, Joost aims to form video sharing community around the program, but it is also setting its sights on bringing its brand of free internet TV into consumer electronics (mobiles, handheld devices, etc.) At the time of this writing, Joost is still in pre-release beta, and requires an invitation to use (you can get an invite from any person who is currently a Joost tester)

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

Babelgum: very similar to Joost, but without the hype (and possibly without the same kind of content deals that Joost might snag, but that remains to be seen). Babelgum also places emphasis on full-screen, high quality video. It is also still in beta, but if you register on the Babelgum site they will send you the download link without further ado (oh yes, Babelgum also aims to create a video sharing community around itself).

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

VeohTV ScreenshotVeoh: offers both a web based video sharing service as well as a downloadable client (Veoh.TV) that lets you watch and record videos. The major draw for using Veoh as opposed to other video sharing services seems to be (wait for it) that it includes copyrighted videos, including your favorite TV shows. I was not able to use the locally installable program before writing this posting (the website’s promise to send me an invite in return for my personal info did not materialize).

There seem to be 3 things worth mentioning about this one: (a) it appears that Veoh will learn the watch the programming you view in order to serve you shows that it thinks you might like, (b) for publishers, Veoh offers the option to upload videos to YouTube, MySpace and Google as well as to Veoh simultaneously, and (c) from screenshots that I have seen, aside from being a video viewing client the downloadable Veoh.TV client also wants to be a full-fledged widgets program, offering sticky notes, weather, RSS widgets, etc.

Chime TV: featuring a slick, web-based interface and a lot of AJAX-y wizardry. Chime TV aggregates content from several video-sharing sites into themed “channels”. It also offers a video search function that draws on all of these sources, all in one place: blip.tv, Break.com, DailyMotion, Google Videos, Kewego, MetaCafe, MySpace, Veoh.com, and YouTube. This makes it (a) an ideal place to partake in all of your video viewing needs, and (b) since some of the sources it taps into contain copyrighted material, Chime TVwill likely contain these as well. When you create an account with Chime TV it will allow you to create your own channels and to flag favorite videos.

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

blinkxBlinkX: a video search engine that indexes video from “more than 200 sources” across the web. BlinkX offers advanced search technology that doesn’t just index descriptions of videos, tags, and/or meta-tags, but also employs a sophisticated speech-to-text technology that actually “listens” to the speech content of videos in order to determine search relevancy. Whatever the technology may be, BlinkX seems to deliver good results from a wide variety of sources.

Four cool things I will mention: (a) The BlinkX home page contains the latest news headlines and is somewhat like Google News but with video Links; (b) BlinkX Remote, essentially a generated page of links to TV shows, and is rather interesting; (c) BlinkX’s wall of video, a page of search results that you can embed into your site or blog and that looks like a stack of piled up TV’s from which you can select the video you want; and finally (c) RSS-able search results.

Tribler: a kiTribler Screenshotnd of Torrent client with a focus on video files, and that will also search and download content from YouTube and Liveleak. Tribler will search the torrent network for videos automatically without you having to hunt these down all over the net. It also has a recommendations engine for videos that it thinks you will like or that your friends like. Unlike a typical torrent client, Tribler will allow you to view partially downloaded files as they are downloading.

TV Links: an amazing resource that offers an extensive archive of TV series that are watchable online. Not sure if the content is legal or not, but I would guess its the latter.

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

Democracy/Miro: Not the kind that Bush wants to spread by force, but a very well known video and podcast sharing program with one of the larger community of users out there (for a locally-installed program at least). Democracy (soon to be re-named Miro) offers video search, custom channels, video RSS feeds, and high quality video. The content is (largely) legal.

No Good TV: this web-based video portal wants to be flashy and to offer slightly “edgy” programming. Its worth checking out, despite its chaotic (but I suppose oh-so-cool) presentation. After perusing it for a while I am guessing that the content is legal. No Good TV Screenshot

TVTonic: A local client that aggregates themed “channels” that you can subscribe to, creates RSS feeds. Downloads your content in the background using P2P technology and makes your programming available for online or offline viewing. High quality (legal) content.

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

LiberTV: Another program that you install locally, LiberTV employs a torrent-like P2P technology to download content off of its network. It offers (a) high quality video, (b) themed channels, and (c) legal and, ahem, less than legal content. See my full review of LiberTV.

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.

Instant media: similar to TVTonic, Democracy, and LiberTV. Overall seems a rather robust platform; downloads video (sorry, “Internet TV”), as well as podcasts.

Update: since this article was first published, this service was discontinued and is no longer available.