Elmedia Player Pro Review And Giveaway

Online video accounts for an astounding percentage of the internet’s traffic. YouTube, alone, sees about 48 hours of new video uploaded every minute and about three billion video views per day. Still, we find ourselves often looking to third party applications to handle video tasks our base operating systems don’t do – or at least not well enough. A good example of this is downloading video from sources such as YouTube.

Elmedia Player Pro

Today, I spent some time with the Elmedia Player software and tried many of the features offered in the free version as well as the PRO.

Notable Elmedia Player Features

The free version of the Elmedia Player leaves out most of my favorite features, but that’s to be expected. I found, however, that even the free version is very well polished with a lot of options and advantages over most of the free video tools I see. Here’s a list of most of what you find in the free version:

– Support for many video types (FLV, SWF, XAP (Silverlight), RM and RV (Real), AVI, MOV, MP4, WMV, DIVX)
– HTML5 video support
– Zoom in and zoom out options for SWF and EXE (or APP) files
– Growl and browsers integration
– iTunes-like playlists and star ratings

The PRO version, offered for only $19.95 on Eltima Software’s web site, hones in on a few key features that the product is really designed for and delivers in those areas. While this software isn’t littered with too much fluff, there are a few extras that don’t seem entirely necessary (like video ratings). Regardless, they’re not in the way and, more importantly, they didn’t distract Eltima from doing a good job with the core features. Some of the PRO features include:

– Download Video – even RTMP streams
– Full-screen mode
– “Always on top” mode
– Make a screenshot of the current frame
– Convert file into series of images

Of course, downloading video from a wide variety of sources is the feature I’d pay for, but the screen shot and “Always on top” features will also come in pretty handy. Less needed, but great on occasion, will be the option that lets you take a series of images – I’m thinking animated GIFs here.

Hands On Testing

After installing the software, my first test (as seen in the image at the beginning of this review) was to head to YouTube and try to download one of my review videos. In the past, I’ve used plug-ins to download a video, but Elmedia Player takes a different approach. You paste the URL to a web page into the software and it loads the page like a browser. When it does this, it looks for any videos or links to them in the page’s content and makes a list for you to select from. I first downloaded just the video that I was after, but then I tried the “Download all” option which grabbed everything in site.

Tip: You may need to start playing the video in the preview page before it will appear in the list to download.

Once a video is grabbed, it’s listed under the Downloaded section, where you can pull up everything from just today or broaden the listing. The organization extends in a different way to the file folder structure behind the scenes as well. Here, a folder is created that is named after the page you downloaded from.

While this software’s core features are not that unlike some free browser plugins on the surface, the extra video formats it supports can be invaluable. Additionally, some of the browser plugins I’ve used in the past can be sporadic in their reliability. I haven’t used this software long enough to be certain it will stand up to the many challenges I have in store for it, but so far, everything indicates that it likely will. Finally, one thing that Elmedia Player will not do that the browser plugins do all too often is cease to become useful after I upgrade to the latest browser version or switch from one to another. Being browser-independent has its advantages.

Conclusions

Cons: The only con it that it’s not free – well, it is free, but the best and really useful features are in the PRO version. Pros: This is well-built software with some thoughtful extras, the price is low enough to barely be a factor, and it doesn’t care what browser you have or version. Want 15% off? No problem. Just use the coupon code JOE-TECH-PROMO when you purchase.

Don’t Have 20 Bucks? Win It Here!

That’s right. Even if you’re just a little interested, I have been given not one, but two PRO upgrade codes to give out to lucky winners. Just follow the entry instructions below and come back here next week to see if you’ve won! Entering is as simple as clicking the “Do it” link, following any instructions, and then clicking the “I did this” button. If you’re already subscribed to JoeTech.com via email or you already follow me on Twitter, you can skip right to the “I did this” button for those entries. Good luck!



How To Get More Views On YouTube

Like many people, I use videos in some of my posts and those videos are almost always on YouTube. For me, I use the video to compliment the post and help show things that just can’t be shown in photos or described in text. But I also want those videos to be discovered independent of the blog post and bring people to my site. I’m sure almost everyone posting videos on YouTube would love their video to go viral, but that’s no easy task. Recently, I was asked to review some software to help with this task.

I was given a link a website about how to get views on youtube, where I could get YouTube Jump Start, software that promises to get you tons of “quality views” to your YouTube video without doing anything that could put your YouTube account at risk of deletion. Here I am a few weeks later, and I have some real numbers from a real video I submitted (mostly) just to test this out.

About YouTube Jump Start

As mentioned above, it’s designed to boost your YouTube video views, but how does it work and how much is it? The details about exactly how these views make their way to your video aren’t really clear, but the sales page promises “no bots” and “no proxies”, so we’re left to assume these views are all real people seeing your video. Today, I confirmed that these are, in fact, “real people”.

The program includes a couple different packages, depending on how many videos you want to promote, from $70 and $15/month (4 videos a day) to $100 one-time for 25 videos ($4/video). The upside is that this is for 200+ views per video, per day, “forever”.

When you fire up the program, you just pop in a video URL and it submits. It was a lot easier than I ever anticipated. It might have been a little too simple for my liking, actually, but as long as it does what I want it to, that’s fine.

Tons Of New YouTube Views

I’ve been on the web a long time and I’ve seen a lot of programs, scripts, and sites that offer to generate non-organic traffic for you. Organic traffic is the stuff that just happens when you have good content and people feel compelled to tell other people about it. This traffic is the stuff you have to help yourself get. There’s no shame in going after more traffic. In fact, you SHOULD be doing this if you’re serious about people seeing your content. In any case, I’ve seen a lot of promises to deliver traffic and a lot that have failed to deliver. This was not the case here.

YouTube Jump Start

For the first week (maybe a little less), I let my video ride on organic traffic and a couple tweets I sent out and it did pretty well on its own. As the initial views slowed down, I decided to kick in the Jump Start program, represented largely by the brown in the graph above. As you can see, it started delivering right away. Not too bad. It actually shows a couple points where it almost doubled my organic peak. That brown part of the graph is truly traffic YouTube can’t identify the origin of, so it’s not ALL from this program, but I think it’s a safe guess to say that about 95% or more is.

YouTube Jump Start

The graph above shows that the viewers seem to come from all age groups, and I also looked at the geographic location graphs, which seem to indicate mostly United states traffic, and that’s important to me. After a few weeks, YouTube Jump Start delivered about 4,000 to 4,500 views to my video.

Is This Valuable Traffic?

That’s debatable, really. First off, let’s think about what good non-organic traffic is. They sum up what I was thinking almost word for word:

If you have more views, your video will not only show up on earlier search pages, but will be recommended to others via YouTube’s related videos function. Your video may even be featured on YouTube’s Global Homepage! (if its worthy enough).

This, of course, is why I did my test. My video, as indicated in the first graph, did pretty well on its own, so it’s safe to assume that the video didn’t totally suck. Sadly, out of 5,000+ views, only 456 were “related content” views and 114 were from YouTube search. 261 and 69 (respectively) of these were from before I ran the program. What this says to me is that although I saw a ton of views to my video, I haven’t realized the benefit of the software in the ways I had hoped. Ideally, The software would get tons of people viewing my video and those people would share and rate at least a little. This doesn’t seem to have happened much, if at all. As for it boosting organic traffic within YouTube (related videos and search), I think almost all 250 or so organic views were as a result of the added traffic Jump Start gave the video. This isn’t what I’d hoped for, but it’s a lot more than I’d have without the software.

Conclusions

Everything really boils down to this question: Is the return on investment good enough? If you produce videos that are good enough and just need some help, this could work, but I don’t know if it will really generate the organic traffic that is most critical to success on the web. Ultimately, the best plan is to create killer content regularly for the best organic traffic, but this could give you a good, well, jump start.

Panasonic’s VIERA CAST Bag Of Tricks : Skype, Netflix, 3D, And More

Earlier this year, it seemed that every television manufacturer was announcing a unit with either Skype built in or 3D functionality. Last week, I received an email inviting me to come check out Panasonic’s latest and greatest at their touring presentation that was coming through Scottsdale this week. The draw for me was the 3D, but I found a lot more when I arrived.

3D TVs With Skype

Maybe you’re thinking what I was thinking in the car on the way there… Can 3D stick around this time or is it just going to be hot for a while and die out again? It’s hard to say, but Panasonic is not only betting that 3D is here to stay, but they’re throwing in everything else just in case.

Panasonic 3D HD TVs

One of the VIERA CAST HDTVs I saw today, the VIERA TC-P50G25 Plasma (seen above for $1,499), included the ability to make video calls with Skype (requires an add-on camera), view YouTube videos, browse through photos on Picasa, view and stream movies instantly with Netflix or Amazon Video, and even peruse and update Twitter. To top it off, they threw in a weather screen with forecasts, Pandora radio, Bloomberg, and Fox Sports. You can even browse the web with it, which is probably why you can hook up a keyboard to one of the USB ports. Unfortunately, the demo played from a Blu-Ray disc, so it’s hard to say how the video streaming is and Skype won’t be available for use on VIERA CAST until June of this year. Regardless, it looks very promising. The geek inside me yearns to make a video call on a 50 inch screen without a lot of effort and that is a reality within reach. This model does not do 3D.

The PxxVT25 models, on the other hand, offer 3D and it looks awesome. To be fair, I haven’t seen any other 3D televisions first hand, so my basis for comparison is my 2D LCD and 3D at the movie theaters. That said, this blows my 2D away and makes the movie theater 3D seem a bit lacking. The first demo was with a movie, which looked great, but the real treat was the second demo I saw with some game playing in 3D. It looked incredible and the best part is that the games don’t all have to be made in 3D. There’s software that will make them work in 3D as long as you’re displaying them on one of these 3D TVs.

How To Watch TV In 3D

The televisions mentioned above display a 3D image, but where does that come from and how do you view it? Panasonic tells me they’ll have three channels loaded with 3D programming on DirecTV, and it sounded like 3D programming from other vendors will still work. All that’s left is those paper 3D glasses with the plastic red and blue lenses, right?

Panasonic 3D HD TVs

Not this time. This time, your 3D experience makes use of their special 3D glasses (TY-EW3D10). While I’d like to try the old paper glasses, I’m afraid these are the ones needed to make it work. They’re pretty cool and although the video doesn’t do the experience justice, you can see how they work below.

The problem is that the $150/pair price tag can be prohibitive, especially if you’re thinking about a family of four or five. They’re cheaper than some competitors, but still a bit up there. They definitely look $150 cooler than the old paper 3D glasses, though. I asked if Panasonic planned to bundle family packs of the eye wear and was told that it wasn’t planned yet but could happen as the consumer market accepts 3D more and more.

Cameras and Camcorders

In addition to all this 3D business, the tour included some new cameras of varying levels as well as video cameras. I honestly didn’t spend quite enough time with the video cameras, but it may have been due to all the time spent playing with the DMC-GH1K 12.1 MP digital camera. I’m not about to say I don’t like my Canon Rebel XTi because I love it, but the GH1K was wooing me with features I’ve been missing out on like 1080P HD video, a larger screen that swivels around, Live View, a more compact design, and a more widely used SD storage format (compared to the Compact Flash I use now). At $1499, it is almost twice what I paid for my camera, but still attractive.

Also attractive was the $399 DMC-ZS7K which more than a point-and-shoot, but not quite a DSLR. Every time I thought it had a lot of features I was shown one more. Personally, I’m looking to spend about half that on my next point-and-shoot camera but the feature list is enough to loosen up most any wallet. There’s the basics like auto focus and face targeting, but it also knows the difference between a face and, say, a cactus and adjusts photo settings the moment it makes the distinction. Better still, it can recognize specific faces and remember who it’s taking a photo of and label the photo properly. The 16X Intelligent Zoom was a nice surprise, too. The zoomed image wasn’t pixelated at all until zoomed all the way in and even then, it wasn’t much. Finally, the ZS7K records HD quality video as well, so I could replace my digital camera and my video camera with this one device.

The Touch The Future Tour

What I went to today was called the Touch the Future Tour. Panasonic is wandering around the country with all this cool stuff and showing people what all of it does. If you get a chance, the 3D is best seen in person. They’ll be dragging all their electronics to these cities next:

3/25 – 3/27 Philadelphia King of Prussia Mall – North Gulph Road
3/29 – 3/31 Minneapolis IDS Tower – 80 8th Street South
3/29 – 3/31 San Francisco One Market Plaza – 1 Market Street
3/31 – 4/2 Washington, DC Union Station – 50 Massachusetts Ave, NE
4/6 – 4/8 Dallas Grapevine Mills Mall – 3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway
4/6 – 4/8 Seattle Top of the Market – 93 Pike Street, Suite 307
4/7 – 4/9 Atlanta 595 North – 595 North Ave, NW Atlanta
4/12 – 4/14 Houston The Warehouse – 4108 Dupont Street
4/15 – 4/17 Miami Ice Palace – 59 Northwest 14th Street

Final Thoughts

Panasonic delivered more than I had planned for and showed off some really cool stuff. The new television offerings (3D and otherwise) were certainly giving me TV envy and I just bought a new LCD TV a few months back. The cameras (that I hadn’t really even gone to see) have me formulating evil plans in my head to convince my wife that I have two birthdays this year. I want it all, but would “settle” for any of the 3D TVs and the ZS7K camera.