Dailymotion’s New Player Hands-On: Not Too Shabby

Dailymotion announced today the launch of a new player for its video content, which cited as just another of the recent improvements the hosting site is making. The release also promises that the chromeless player is less resource-intensive for faster loading and playback, able to support a load of over 30 million video views a day. What’s the actual user experience like, though?

I tested out the player this morning primarily with one of today’s featured comedy videos, a parody of Gorillaz’s Stylo by Peter Coffin. Watching the video, I found the new player controls easy to use. In addition, switching between standard definition, high quality and high definition video was smooth, and — in an improvement over YouTube (s GOOG) — didn’t require reloading the view for the quality changes to show up.

Gorillaz – Stylo (parody)
Uploaded by petercoffin. – See the latest featured music videos.

The new player also enables you to set a start point (called a “hot spot”) for video that users might share by sending out a link — as a test, here’s a link to Bruce Willis’s first appearance in the above embedded video, at 1:06.

However, you still can’t set start and end times on embed codes, functionality that Hulu has had for a while now. And to find these sharing options, you have to click on a button labeled “Export” — which is a change from some common video player nomenclature that I’m pretty sure I don’t like, since it implies the ability to save the actual video file to your hard drive (the same way you can for Blip.tv-hosted videos, for example).

The in-player buttons enabling you to share with Facebook or Twitter, however, are bug-free and easy to use. Plus, there’s something kind of refreshing about a player playing favorites — i.e., not pretending that anyone in the web video world is really using MySpace a lot these days. It’ll mean a headache down the line for Dailymotion when we’re all using Friendface or whatever the next social media revolution might be. But that’s a problem for the future.

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