Tips and Training >> Definitions >> Video On Demand

What is Video On Demand?

Electronic video media archived and available for viewer initiated playback on a PC, Mac or Smart Phone through the Internet is called Video On Demand.

The term "On Demand" defines the capability of the user to initiate the playback of the video media. Therefore, a Video On Demand service starts, pauses and ends at the user's direction rather than at the direction of a broadcaster. In this way, Video On Demand is distinct from Video Broadcasting or Live Streaming.

On Demand services are invoked by a viewer navigating to and selecting an Internet or Intranet based browser link. Playback of the stored video media can then be made through a viewer's browser subject to conditions that may be set in the configuration of the Video On Demand structure. For example, the owner of the Video On Demand file may want viewers to register with a name and email address or require that a fee be paid prior to viewing an On Demand video.

Some services such as YouTube from Google, Inc. allow playback of On Demand Videos without payment of fees or user registration. YouTube, (sometimes called uTube) is a type of Video On Demand service that groups videos based on the subject matter. In this way, Google's YouTube creates a library of online videos that are related. Netflix is similar but different. Netflix is an example of a service provider that charges a fee to watch movies through its Video On Demand services. In Netflix's service, videos (movies) are grouped into a queue according to user preferences to form an ad-hoc library.

An important element of Video On Demand for business or commercial use is that it can be structured as a business library or electronic archive of video based information. In this way, using a structure that can be crafted for each business uniquely, Video On Demand can provide a knowledge base for an organization.

Business and Government organizations can create Video On Demand services for themselves either by purchasing hardware and software tools and directing their own staff to create video on demand libraries or by selecting an outside service provider. In business or government applications, Video On Demand services that are frequently requested include creation of online Internet based training videos, sales seminar videos, product line videos, executive announcements and videos for a legal or lecture series.

Advantages of Video On Demand

Video On Demand services can be equivalent to an online library and this library can be configured to allow or enable only select viewers to play the content through an Inter or Intranet based connection. Viewers can select which video to play and when.

Disadvantages of Video On Demand

Players on PC's, Mac's and Smart Phones each have different capacities and display capabilities and therefore viewing experiences on them can vary in quality for both video and audio. Bandwidth or Internet access capabilities can affect the ability to receive and play Video On Demand media as well. In addition, bandwidth conditions sometimes change while watching an On Demand video and this can change the quality of the video at any time throughout the playback of the content.

How do I get started with Video On Demand?

For commercial streaming support we recommend contacting a service provider with experience creating and serving Video On Demand libraries. TKO VideoConferencing can assist you with the creation of your Video On Demand media and library. Alternatively, you can purchase encoding equipment and create a virtual studio for capturing your own visual media and then experiment with making this available on your organization's Intranet.

For personal applications, Video On Demand is not generally structured by the creator into libraries. However, an excellent form of a library using relational structures is supported very well by Google's YouTube. For personal development of Video On Demand content, we recommend searching the Internet for blogs related to creating YouTube or Utube videos.

What does a Video On Demand cost?

Video On Demand services for business use are generally priced per hour of video. Prices vary considerably depending on a number of factors as shown below.

Important factors that affect Video On Demand costs include:

  • Length of video
  • The Number of encoding formats required for playback
  • User/Viewer registration and conditional password access
  • Starting page special requirements or layout
  • Number of expected viewers or listeners
  • Event management assistance to capture the live video
  • Editing requirements to "clean up" the video
  • Presentation of slides with video content

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