Tips and Training >> Definitions >> VOD - Video On Demand

What is a VOD?

VOD is an acronym for "Video On Demand." It is electronic video media that is archived and available for viewer initiated playback on a PC, Mac or Smart Phone through the Internet.

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

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

Some services such as YouTube from Google, Inc. allow playback of VOD's without payment of fees or user registration. YouTube, (also called: uTube) provides VOD services that group videos into related files for ease of selection. Netflix is an example of a VOD service provider that charges a fee to watch movies through its "Instant Queue" services.

An important element of VOD management for business or commercial use is that they can be structured into a business library or electronic archive of video based information. Therefore VOD libraries can provide a universally accessible (through an Intranet or the Internet) knowledge base for an organization.

Business and Government organizations can create VOD archives for themselves either by purchasing hardware and software tools and deploying them internally or by selecting an outside service provider. Frequently requested VOD services include creation of online Internet based training videos, sales seminar videos, product training videos, executive presentations and videos for a legal or lecture series.

Advantages of VOD

VOD or Video On Demand, enables a viewer to watch Internet based media that may be recorded and posted at an earlier time on their own schedule. Viewers around the world can watch pre-recorded videos on their own schedule and in their own time zone. This prerecording and user enabled playback is a key benefit of VOD content delivery. It is a key value that live streaming does not provide. While many organizations consider live streaming to be essential, the practical issue of reaching viewers when they have time or desire to watch is the essential benefit of using VOD.

Additionally, VOD services can be crafted into an online library and this library can be configured to allow or enable only select viewers to have access. Authorized viewers can then select which VOD to play at a time that is convenient to them and with the device they choose.

Disadvantages of VOD

Players on PC's, Mac's and Smart Phones each have different capabilities and therefore they may have different viewing experiences. Bandwidth capacities can affect the ability to receive and play VOD media as well. This can result in inconsistent viewing experiences.

How do I get started with Video On Demand?

For commercial VOD's we recommend engaging a service provider with experience creating VOD's and VOD libraries. TKO VideoConferencing can assist you with these requirements. 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 as VOD.

For personal applications, Google's YouTube supports VOD very well. For personal development of VOD content, we recommend searching the Internet for blogs related to creating YouTube or Utube videos.

What does a VOD cost?

VOD creation services for business use are generally priced per hour of video. Prices vary considerably depending of a number of factors as shown below.

Important factors that affect VOD costs include:

  • Length of the VOD source video
  • The Number of encoding formats required for VOD 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 prepare the VOD for posting online
  • Presentation of slides with video in the VOD player window

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