Over the past year YouTube has made changes that left many content creators up in arms. The good thing about the internet is that this kind of action will stir up a hornet’s nest of alternatives. This is what we see for video hosting.
When centralized platforms become too large, they move away from what benefits the people who make the site great to the companies that pay them money. This makes sense though, everyone has bills to pay, and that includes big companies.
Below I picked three video hosts with the most buzz around my corner of the internet. All but one are decentralized and I’m sure you already know how I feel about decentralization. In case you don’t go check out my post on the subject, it’s the bee’s knees.
Honestly, go learn what it is all about. I am on the train that decentralization will change the internet for the better. Making it more free (as in freedom) and content creator focused.
Vidme is a centralized platform like YouTube. What is of interest is how it mixed in a Patreon like service where the creator can set a monthly price. They can upload videos that only their paying subscribers can see.
This is better than unlisting a video on YouTube since even if the URL gets shared out the person still needs to be a paid subscriber to view the video. Whereas there is no way to enforce that on YouTube.
I have videos on Vidme but am not in love with the platform like a bunch of other people. This is because it is a centralized service giving them the ability to delete any video they disagree with. Something similar to that happened a few months back.
There was a creator with a good number of followers who made a video criticizing the Vidme platform. The company left the video there but revoked his ability to monetize any of his content. No ads, no paying subscribers, no tips on a single video he ever uploaded. All from a platform that people call a “free speech” site.
I don’t buy it…
image from d.tube
If you have been on Steem for a while you may have already heard about Dtube. This is a decentralized video hosting site. Well the site itself is not decentralized but the content you upload is thanks to Steem.
Dtube uses the Steem blockchain to store your videos. All you need to do is log in with you private posting key and you are ready to go! I hope they add the option to log in using Steem Connect in the near future.
Dtube, created entirely by @heimindanger on Steem and released it sometime around August 2017. From what I can tell it seems to do all the same things as YouTube with the added benefits of the Steem Blockchain. This includes upvoting, commenting, and the monetization that Steem is often famous for. I have yet to upload my videos here but plan on doing so when I find the time.
LBRY is very much like Dtube because it is a decentralized medium sharing platform. The difference is that there is no limit to what type of content they will accept, much like a library. Their app is available on all major operating systems with relative ease.
The only downside right now is that you need the application to view the content and not just a web browser. This can cause a hurdle for some people but is not a steep learning curve at all.
You can do all the same things you can on YouTube and they too have their own way to make money on your content. Instead of relying on advertisers as on YouTube or people passing you an up vote as on Dtube; they allow you to charge LBRY credits to consume your content. This seems to be working well and many people enjoy the platform.
image from bitchute.com
That leaves us with BitChute which has been my go to for video hosting at the time of writing this. It is a decentralized service that does not need a blockchain to do the magic internet stuff. As mentioned in the post about decentralization, not all services need, or should, be on a blockchain. Video hosting is one of those services.
BitChute is a peer-to-peer content sharing platform. Our mission is to put people and free speech first. It is free to join, create and upload your own content to share with others. - BitChute
The Bit in ‘BitChute’ does not refer to bitcoin but instead is a hat tip to BitTorrent. They are using WebTorrent to get the videos to your browser with the ability to stream them. Otherwise you would have to download each video and play them in another program. Which would be a complete hassle as you can imagine.
Anyone can set up a torrent server and tie into the network. The more the better! Each new server that someone adds to the network makes the decentralization stronger. This leads to a smaller the chance that a video would get wiped off the internet against the creator’s will.
While setting up a node on the network is a nice learning curve, you can leave that to us nerds. Anyone can go to BitChute’s site and watch videos just like they would on YouTube. This is peer-to-peer networking at its finest!
At the time I am writing this, BitChute does not have monetization, but they mentioned it on their about page as a future addition. That is the only downside to this site, and it is only for the creators. Everything runs great on Chrome and Firefox so please check it out. You can find my videos at /channel/jrswab.
If you have any extra insight into any of these platforms please please let me know so I can learn more. Also if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will be happy to help out!
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