YouTube draws the most audience

Our number-one favorite place to waste time on the Web, YouTube is the only service in our group that could possibly lay claim both to uncovering scandals and to posing quirky questions to US Democratic presidential candidates.

But the biggest of all video sharing sites limits your videos to just 10 minutes, and its Flash 7 video quality wasn't quite up to par with its rivals: Color gradients were more noticeable, and colors were muted. Here's hoping that the higher quality H.264-format videos that YouTube creates for AppleTV and Apple iPhone playback will eventually be accessible by everyone.

YouTube remains incredibly easy to use. Its beefy servers swallowed our upload in no time at all (under a minute), and our video was live not long after. The recently upgraded embedded player has a clean design, though it puts a bottom-right watermark on your video, and it can be customized with different color and video thumbnail options.

You're also able to keep your video private (viewable by you and 25 selected friends), and choose whether or not people can embed your video on their Web site.

YouTube has a booming community; there are detailed user channel creation tools, and the site's popularity and ability to turn up in Google searches will likely deliver the biggest audience to your video. Unfortunately, YouTube's revenue-sharing Partner Program is currently limited to big-name content creators and selected individual, prolific, and popular content creators.

But YouTube does have some neat tricks up its sleeve. An area called TestTube lets you try out possible future features like Remixer, an online, flash-based video-editing tool. First deployed by rival Photobucket and powered by Adobe Premiere Express, it lets you remix or add transitions and titles to videos, without impacting the original uploaded file.

Bottom line: Its video quality isn't the greatest, but YouTube can't be beat for drawing the widest possible audience.

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Danny Allen

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