In 2010, I published a review of Easy Video Player 2. Since most of the other so-called reviews for this product online were just promotional hype-fests and mine actually pointed out some flaws in the software, the post was a bit controversial.
The “sequel” to EVP2 has just generated a lot of buzz with a big launch and I’m already getting questions about it, so I decided I should publish a review of EasyVideoSuite as well. As usual, what you’ll find here is not my participation in the launch of the product. It’s an actual review, not an advertisement.
With that said, let’s get right to it.
||Easy Video Suite
||$297 (+$97 for commercial/whitelabel license)
EasyVideoSuite has two components: a desktop application and a hosted (or optionally self-hosted) online tool.
The EVS Desktop App
Here’s a quick video tour of the desktop software component in EVS:
In summary, the desktop app does three things:
- Record screencast videos.
- Convert video files to a web-optimized format.
- Upload videos to your EVS hosted app and to YouTube.
The EVS Online App and Player
Here’s a tour of the online component of EVS. As a double-demonstration, the video below is shown in an EVS player, which has been blinged out with several of the available features:
So, What’s Wrong With It?
Let’s not beat around the bush. You aren’t reading a review on activegrowth.com because you want to know about all the things this product does right. There are approximately half a million other “reviews” out there, that are only about how great EVS is.
What you want to know is: is it actually any good? Or is it rubbish? What are the bad things about this piece of software, that nobody else is talking about?
As mentioned in the video, the way social buttons are shown, when you add them below the video is not optimal. I suspect you’d get more shares if it just displayed the official Twitter, Facebook and Google+ buttons that everyone is accustomed to, instead of showing custom button graphics. Also,t he cheesy “shiny” effect on the bar looks out of place
I love the fact that EVS lets you easily add chapters to any video, but the implementation in the player is less than ideal (see video above). The chapter markers float awkwardly on top of the video and there’s no way to show them below the play bar. There’s also no way to permanently display the play bar, so that the chapter markers would look less out-of-place.
On that note, it’s also not possible to show the play bar below the video area. The bar always covers the bottom of the video, when it’s visible.
As you can see, there are a few niggling issues with EasyVideoSuite, but I’m really nit-picking.
Is it Actually Good, Then?
Most importantly, I can’t find any fundamental flaws in EVS. EVP2 had a big flaw, which was the loading times. The video player itself could take up to several seconds before it even appeared on the page and depending on the video size, it could take another 5-20+ second before the video would start. Worst-case scenario: half a minute or more before your video plays. Within half a minute of forced waiting time, you’ll easily lose 80% of your visitors.
And even if it just takes a few seconds, that’s still a big deal. Site speed is massively important and it will only become more important in the future.
I’m happy to report that EasyVideoSuite does not suffer from this same issue. The player loads instantly and if you set it to auto-buffer and stream via CloudFront, initiation speed is good and there should be no issues with buffering, even for visitors on slower connections.
The greatest accomplishment of this piece of software is that it really lives up to its name. You do get a full suite of tools to use and it is very easy to use. As mentioned in the video, the developers did a very good job of presenting a ton of functionality in an intuitive user interface.
Will it revolutionize your business and forever change the face of online video marketing? No.
But it will be a very useful tool for you, if video-marketing is something you do. Will you make use of features such as opt-in gating, interactive events in videos, social sharing and more? Will you take the time to look at your video analytics and make decisions and changes based on them? Will you take the time to set up multiple videos to split-test? If so, then EasyVideoSuite is well worth the investment.
How Does it Compare?
If you’re wondering how it compares to using a free platform like YouTube, then you need to read this post first.
As you may know, my preferred video service for the last couple of years has been Wistia. It is head and shoulders above any other video service I’ve used before or since.
The question is: does that change, now that EVS is on the scene?
I have to admit, it’s a close call. Right now, EasyVideoSuite has more features than Wistia and especially the fact that you can have opt-in and share-gates in videos represent quite a significant advantage for some forms of online marketing.
The obvious difference is that Wistia is a service you pay for on a monthly recurring basis, while EasyVideoSuite is sold for a one-time fee. However, you have to keep in mind that with EVS, you’ll still have to pay recurring bills for the Amazon servers that your content will be hosted on and streamed from. EVS is not something you will pay for only once and then use forever!
Yes, Amazon S3/CloudFront is cheap, but with heavy video use, you’ll soon be paying three-figure monthly sums, whether you use Wistia or EVS. The price should not be the determining factor, between the two.
Ultimately, if you’re already using one of the two, there aren’t compelling reasons to switch. If you’re starting from scratch or using an inferior solution, it’s a difficult call to make. I’d say EVS has a slight edge, at the moment. Wistia add new features at a steady pace and EVS will probably also be updated regularly, so it will remain interesting.
EasyVideoSuite is a very well designed and fully-featured video player. There are some minor flaws, but none of them are deal-breakers and the brilliant user interface makes up for it.
If video marketing is a thing you do or want to start doing, you won’t regret getting EasyVideoSuite.