Encoding.com’s Vid.ly Is Like Bit.ly, But for Video

Cloud encoding startup Encoding.com is launching a new service that will make it even easier for publishers to encode a video once and serve it to multiple different devices with a single URL. With the launch of Vid.ly — its encoding and universal URL shortener — Encoding.com hopes to simplify the process and provide one link that can be viewed on all PCs, browsers and mobile devices.

The new offering is built on the startup’s cloud-based encoding service, which gives publishers an efficient way to format their videos to reach multiple devices, without having to invest heavily in buying encoders or maintaining the infrastructure necessary to support the process. Encoding.com gives its customers the ability to encode their files based on a number of different pre-determined profiles that are optimized for viewing on various different devices. So a publisher would only have to click on ‘iPhone,’ ‘Android’ or other profile names to encode for those devices, without having to specify file formats or bit rates themselves.

Vid.ly takes that concept one step further, by creating a one-step process for encoding videos into formats supported by all popular video-capable devices. Like Bit.ly and other URL shorteners, it provides a way for publishers to then send a single short URL via SMS, Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. When a user attempts to connect to that URL, Vid.ly autodetects whatever device is being used and streams the correct file format. And the best part is that — for now, at least — it’s all free, with Encoding.com picking up the tab for processing, storage and delivery.

Publishers can either point to source files stored via FTP, HTTP, Amazon (s AMZN) Simple Storage Service (S3) or other cloud storage services — like Rackspace, (s RAX) for instance — or they can upload files themselves. Those files are then encoded to support all modern web browsers, Android, (s GOOG) iOS, (s AAPL) and Blackberry mobile phones, as well as Nintendo DS and Wii gaming machines and Sony’s (s SNE) PlayStation Portable. (Encoding.com has also created an explanation video, naturally hosted at the following Vid.ly link: http://vid.ly/5u4h3e)

The idea of a universal video URL isn’t exactly new; white-label video management companies like Brightcove already offer the ability to automatically detect and serve up the correct format to different devices. But Vid.ly potentially opens the capability up to the mass market, as it begins a private beta today and could soon open usage up further.

For now, Vid.ly will be free to all users, but Encoding.com plans to roll out a “Pro” version for larger media companies that wish to incorporate the service into their workflow. Vid.ly Pro will include the ability to hook into Encoding.com’s API to add, delete and modify a large number of URLs at once, the integration of Vid.ly with the publisher’s existing CDN, the ability to create customized encoding profiles, support for adaptive bit rate delivery to Apple iOS devices and no limit on source file sizes.

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