With so many video sources it can be hard to keep on top of whats available. SO many sites nave been setup focussing just on video, never mind your friends recommending videos in Twitter and Facebook. Thats where Showyou steps in. It brings together video from a variety of sources and presents them via one app, like Instapaper for video.
Version three of the app has just been launched for iOS devices and it’s quite a step forward. The video streams are now presented via a series of channels and grids. Swipe left to right to move between channels and up and down through grids of videos. Touch one to play and if you like share. The developers have put together a video that shows you the app in use.
Introducing Showyou 3.0 for the iPad from Showyou on Vimeo.
You can add video’s to a watch later queue and the app does a great job in bringing together videos from your Twitter and Facebook streams. It also has recommended videos sorted into channels. This reminds me of Flipboard channels and is a good way of searching through popular video’s. You can also add video’s from a browser via a bookmarklet.
As well as channels, Showyou also lists content from many viral aggregators like Devour. It’s a great way to browse and view content rather than visiting the website on the iPad.
A service similar to Showyou is Squrl which also went through a recent round of upgrades but I prefer the user interface in Showyou and find the app less buggy. Well worth downloading (for free) especially on an iPad.
YouTube is great as is Vimeo and all the other video sites on the web, but finding the good stuff in amongst the dross isn’t easy. For example, 25 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute so what chance have you got? That’s where Devour steps in. They hand pick what they class as the best videos of the day and link to them from their site.
The site is simple to use – visit, click on a screenshot and watch the video. Customisation is limited in that you can change the background although in future you can tweak the layout to support lists or a full screen grid. All video’s selected are in HD too. This was an instant bookmark for me, not only on my desktop, but on the iPad and iPhone as all video’s work on iOS devices too. Awesome.
Handbrake is a great video ripping utility for the Mac. Handbrake was initially a DVD ripping tool which was always reliable but for video transcoding I relied on VisualHub. That was until the company behind VisualHub shuttered development. For a few months there was a bit of a gap in the Mac market but Handbrake stepped in and not only does it do DVD ripping but it covers video transcoding as well.
Handbrake is open-source, GPL-licencsed, multi-platform and multi-threaded. The latest update to version 0.9.4 included over 1000 updates and a 64 bit version for Snow Leopard. It includes support for presets which come with Handbrake so it’s easy to create a video for Apple TV or iPhone – the settings are automatically set making encoding very easy. You can create your own presets so if you want to repeatedly output video in a particular format you can create a preset which guarantees the sam format each and every time.
There are a massive amount of settings and options in Handbrake which can affect the final output. You can see a preview of the video as it will appear allowing you to check for any quality issues before running an encode and you can add multiple video’s to the encode queue so Handbrake can run through your queue while your away.
When downloading Handbrake you can opt to grab the command line version instead of the GUI and that becomes useful when you want to automate your ripping process. For example, this fantastic tutorial – How-To: Automate DVD & Blu-Ray (Backup, Encoding & Tagging) on the Handbrake forums takes you through the process of ripping, tagging and moving your content automatically on the Mac – something I hope to be setting up in the new year. If you have any problems the forums are definitely the first place to visit as it’s a goldmine of information.
That covers encoding but what about playback? On the Mac Quicktime is the default video player but many install VLC as it supports many more codecs than Quicktime but there is an alternative – Perian.
Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. A full list of the formats can be found here. Perian is easy to install and once complete it’s settings can be accessed via a Systems Preference pane. Like Handbrake there is an active forum where you can find answers to any questions but for me it’s been trouble free. A great plugin for any Mac, especially if your using yours for media playback.