You also shouldn't forget Google's other streaming service, Google Video. If you use the Web uploading interface, you will be limited to 100MB per file. But if you switch to the standalone Uploader utility instead there is no limit to the size or length of file you can post. This is why multi-hour videos made for the Web have found a home on this site, such as the infamous Loose Change. However, video is still streamed to your Web browser at a lowly 320 x 240, whilst downloads (when available) can be at 480 x 360. So Google Video is most interesting for longer works, not when image quality is paramount.
To combat the encroachment of these sites, YouTube relaunched in widescreen in November 2008 with optional HD streaming. The latter is allegedly only available in the US, but we have found the HD option intermittently available from the UK as well. Allied with the increase in per-video size limit to 1GB, introduced a year beforehand, YouTube video quality has made a quantum leap. Unfortunately, this means that the YouTube encoding presets included with many editing apps are now obsolete. You can create a new one for your software by following the guidelines here, although we're pretty certain the recommended resolution should be 1,280 x 720 not 1,290 x 720. We have had good results using 1,280 x 720 MP4 files encoded with H.264 video compression and MP3 audio. Despite the 1GB file size limit, you wouldn't really want to be uploading that much data over a home broadband connection.
The other YouTube drawback still remains, however, namely that you can't make any money out of posting your videos on the site. The most successful YouTube Channels are being given a percentage of ad revenue, and this has been extended to certain corporate partners. But it isn't available to the general video-posting public, despite YouTube promising to roll out a revenue-sharing system eventually. So next week we turn to sites which offer real opportunities to make money out of Web video.