ProShow has built-in support for uploading your slideshows to YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and Smugmug. YouTube and Facebook are household names at this point, but Vimeo and Smugmug are two services you may want to look into if you’re not already familiar with them. Today I’m going to give you a rundown of the pros and cons of each service so that you know which one is right for you.
When YouTube debuted in 2005, the quality of the videos was lackluster, to put it nicely. Fast-forward to 2015 and the service has really changed its tune. Full 1080p video is supported – even 4K video content if you have it – and lower resolution variants of your videos are automatically created so that viewers with mobile devices or slower internet connections can easily stream your videos. It also happens to be the most widely supported video service. You can view a YouTube video on a PC, Mac, or Linux computer; on an iOS, Android, or Windows phone/tablet; on smart TVs, media streaming boxes, and many Blu-ray players.
Still, YouTube compresses your videos quite a bit – especially for the 360p and 480p resolutions – to minimize the amount of video data being stored on their servers and streamed to users. To anyone viewing your videos, they may not notice the loss of quality compared to your original images, but the loss is inherently a part of processing your video to be streamed. The bottom line: YouTube is well established at this point and it’s easy to recommend this as a place to host your video slideshows.
Vimeo may not be as well known as YouTube, but it’s still a very big player in the video streaming market. Vimeo’s quality is noticeably better than YouTube’s when comparing videos of the same resolution because less compression is used on the video streams. If you’d like your viewers to see the full quality of the original video, they also allow you to make the source video (i.e. the one you uploaded, not what is being streamed) available for download. And unlike YouTube, there are no video ads that play before your videos.
Unfortunately, Vimeo’s highest quality streaming (1080p and above) is only available to paid users. With a free account, you videos will be limited to 720p streaming, and there are weekly upload limitations. Still, the improved quality be worth getting a Plus account for.
Facebook supports uploading video files directly to your timeline, although video quality is generally a bit lower than YouTube. There is also a hard resolution limit of 720p. They do process your videos pretty quickly, and if Facebook is your target audience, you can save yourself a few seconds by uploading directly from ProShow to Facebook. Still, you may find you get better results and access to higher resolutions by uploading to YouTube or Vimeo first and pasting the link on your Facebook timeline.
Smugmug is not directly competing with any of the streaming services above, as there is an inherent business model in place. What they do is allow you to upload your photos and videos, which you can then sell directly to your client. There is a fee associated with using their service (starting at $40/yr), but if you plan to make a business of selling your slideshows digitally, they may be the best choice for you. Of course, users are able to stream your videos up to 1080p and the quality is great.
If you just want a simple free solution that supports full HD, use YouTube for uploading your videos. If you’d like better quality and don’t mind paying for a Plus account, Vimeo might be your best bet. If reaching a wide audience on social media is important, try sharing your videos on Facebook. And if selling slideshows is a part of your business, take a look at Smugmug.