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mDialog: I'll pass.

I’ve been giving the mDialog application a whirl here at Mesh 08.  The promise of mDialog is that you will be able to easily share video, via the mDialog site, with your friends on iPod and via QuickTime.  So I uploaded the video of Ethan Kaplan and Mathew Ingram to the site to check it out.

There are lots of things to like about mDialog. For instance, there doesn’t seem to be a limit on the size of the files you can upload.  Video quality is excellent, as well.

However, it’s something that I can’t really recommend.

  • Getting started requires a subscription to QuickTime Pro. Cost $39.95
  • The service has limited capabilities in free mode.  To be able to really take advantage of it, your going to pay an additional subscription cost.
  • The video is rendered locally using QuickTime Pro.  That’s a high high nuisance factor, as rendering large videos takes hours, and ties up your PC during that time.
  • The video is rendered as an m4v – a proprietary Apple format.  That means anyone who wants to play it has to have QuickTime installed also.  Flash Video is much more ubiquitous and would have been much more preferable.
  • Once uploaded it takes a very long time for the video to be available online.  In fact, the video I shot yesterday, and rendered and uploaded starting at midnight last night, is still not online.  If it isn’t online by the time I get home tonight, I will re-render it, and upload directly to the blog.

I’m not sure the world needs another video sharing site.  Even if it does, I’m quite sure that, for me anyway, the current incarnation of mDialog isn’t it.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Zach May 22, 2008, 10:42 am

    Alec, sorry you are having some issues with our service. I would be glad to help address any technical issues you have and try to make sure your mDialog experience is more enjoyable.

    I have responded to a couple of points you made about our offering below, hope this helps clarify what we offer:

    :: Getting started requires a subscription to QuickTime Pro. Cost $39.95
    :::: mDialog does NOT require QuickTime Pro. In fact our free membership package gives you QT Pro MPEG-4 h.264 video encoding features at no cost.

    :: The service has limited capabilities in free mode. To be able to really take advantage of it, you're going to pay an additional subscription cost.
    :::: Like most "free/fee" Web 2.0 services we do limit the the free version's features. Currently, the only limit is the amount of online video storage for the free account.
    The video is rendered locally using QuickTime Pro. That’s a high high nuisance factor, as rendering large videos takes hours, and ties up your PC during that time.
    One of the ways we can deliver high resolution video is by offering our members local or client side video encoding. Our free desktop application "mLoader" creates the m4v file locally which means that members can take their large multi gig hi-def video and crunch it to a much smaller size avoiding the issue of trying to upload a 15 gig video file and hoping that if it actually gets uploaded the server side encoding will do a good job encoding it.

    :: The video is rendered as an m4v – a proprietary Apple format. That means anyone who wants to play it has to have QuickTime installed also. Flash Video is much more ubiquitous and would have been much more preferable.
    :::: You are correct that m4v's play great using QuickTime which means your video will play great on iPhone/iPod and AppleTV. While Flash is installed on more computers than QT I read an estimate that QT has been downloaded over 250,000,000 times. Finally m4v's can be played on non-QuickTime players – like Adobe Media Player, for example.

    :: Once uploaded it takes a very long time for the video to be available online. In fact, the video I shot yesterday, and rendered and uploaded starting at midnight last night, is still not online. If it isn’t online by the time I get home tonight, I will re-render it, and upload directly to the blog.
    :::: This last point is unfortunate. We have investigated your upload and it failed, for that we apologize and would be happy to work with you to ensure you next upload works as designed. Would it be possible to contact you?

  • Alec May 22, 2008, 1:14 pm

    Zach – thanks for the follow up. I'll email you separately to talk about this.

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