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New Pricing Plans Are Here!

Gareth
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vzaar pricing plan changes

vzaar exists to create extremely affordable, feature-rich cloud based software that enables thousands of innovative educators, online publishers and agencies to exploit the power of online video to build successful businesses. In our most recent review of our pricing plans we recognised both the need to offer better levels of affordability than ever before, and to give subscribers more choice as to the features they need.

Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a big surge in the number of video intensive businesses where hosting costs are a substantial proportion of their operating cost base. And we’ve also seen a growth in the number of small and medium sized users of bandwidth or storage who are nonetheless making sophisticated use of online video and want access to enterprise type features.

As such, we decided to revamp our pricing plans. We wanted to give our clients the best combination of bandwidth, storage and features at great value prices. You can now choose your plan based on:

a) How much bandwidth/storage do I need?
b) Which features do I need?

Not only are we now giving our clients more bandwidth & storage, we’ve also introduced flexible Feature Sets which give you access to more features – without the need to pay for any extra bandwidth you don’t need.

So What Are The New Plans

Express

Our entry level plan now comes with more than doubled its previous bandwidth and storage. We’ve massively increased its capacity to 250GB of bandwidth and 100GB of storage, while at the same time reducing the monthly subscription to just $25.

It also now comes with an Essential Feature Set (which I’ll walk you through in just a moment).

Professional

As with the Express plan, we’ve more than doubled the bandwidth and storage of the Professional, while reducing the price. For $50/mo (or $480 if paid annually) we’re now giving you 500GB bandwidth, 250GB storage and the Essential Feature Set

Business & Enterprise

Not forgetting our larger plans, we’ve boosted the bandwidth/storage of both Business and Enterprise, too.

Business gets 1TB of bandwidth and 500GB of storage plus our all new Advanced Feature Set included for $200 per month.

And finally, Enterprise includes 5TB bandwidth, 1TB storage and a Premium Feature Set for $500/mo.

What Are Feature Sets And How Do They Work?

As the use of video in business becomes more sophisticated, providing a quality video hosting service means more than simply providing endless bandwidth. Our feature sets are designed to add real value to our clients, giving you (and your videos) the right tools to help you achieve real business goals and generate revenue.

To this end, each plan now comes with its own Feature Set. The beauty of these Feature Sets is that you can choose to upgrade your Set, without needing to pay for any additional bandwidth you don’t need.

Essential Feature Set

Express and Professional plans come with our Essential Feature Set, which (as the name suggests) includes all the essential features and functionality that businesses need to use videos effectively:

  • 5 Users
  • API Uploads
  • Password Protection
  • Subtitles
  • Player Languages
  • Video Watermarking

Advanced Feature Set

Our business plan comes with the Advanced Feature Set as standard. This includes everything that you get in the Essential PLUS:

  • 25 total Users
  • Podcasts
  • Enhanced iOS
  • RTMPe Streaming
  • White Label Embed
  • YouTube Syndication
  • ComScore Integration
  • Multiple API Tokens
  • Read Only API Tokens
  • USS Signed Keys

Express and Professional subscribers can upgrade to the Advanced Feature Set for $50 per month.

Premium Feature Set

Finally, if you need some seriously sophisticated functionality, the Premium Feature Set is the one for you. It comes with the Enterprise plan as standard and includes everything from the Essential and Advanced as well as:

  • 50 total Users
  • Video Advertising
  • Dual Encoding

Express and Professional subscribers can upgrade to the Premium Feature Set for $150 per month.

While Business subscribers can upgrade to the Premium Feature Set for $100 per month.

These Feature Sets mean that our plans are more flexible than ever before. Feature Sets allow you to get the right balance between the bandwidth and the features you need to have to make your video strategy a success. You can upgrade to the various different Sets – without needing to pay for any bandwidth which you don’t need.

In making these changes we believe we are making big strides forward in our twin aims of giving businesses extremely affordable online video hosting along with the software features they need to succeed.

More Help

Plans Comparison Table
What’s Included In Each Feature Set?

Categories vzaar updates
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vzaar – Player API

The other week I wrote a little bit about our REST API. This week it seemed only fair to fill in the other side of the puzzle and tell you all about our player API.

The player API is a front-end, JavaScript, API, which allows you to communicate with and manipulate the vzaar player. It allows you to integrate the player deeply into your webpages and make the two interact. Effectively, it helps to break down the barrier between your videos and the rest of the content on your webpage.

What does it do?

The API itself can achieve all manner of awesome things. To start with let’s take a look at some of the great examples, which are already out there.

Chaptering
The API includes a `seekTo` function, which can be used to reach a particular point in any given video. String a few uses of this function together and you’ve essentially put together a set of chapters. This is great, as it means viewers can easily skip to sections that are particularly relevant for them.


Here’s an example, which we put it together for another blog post, last summer. It uses our jQuery library to quickly add chapters to a video. The library itself provides styling for the chapters and does all the heavy lifting, so all you need to do is plug everything together and tell it where your chapters should go. You can instructions for doing that in the library’s readme file.
Bookmarking
Another neat trick, which you can see in the jQuery library, is video bookmarking. This is essentially another use for the API’s `seekTo` function. This time, rather than using the `seekTo` function on click, we’re saving a time in a cookie and then seeking to that time when the page is played again. Essentially remembering where the user left off. It’s a great trick for lectures, longer productions, weddings and bar mitzvahs.

Here’s an example of it in action. Pretty awesome, no? Well, once again it’s a cinch to set up. Check out the jQuery library’s readme file to see how.
Quizzes
Of course, the fun doesn’t stop with the jQuery library. That’s just one thing, which was built on top of the player API. The beautiful thing about the API is that it offers a simple set of methods for interacting with the player. Using those you have every resource you’ll need to integrate your own code with the player.

Here’s a good example. Last year I put together a blog on using the API to add interactive quizzes to the player. The result is a quiz which essentially appears to be a part of the player itself. However, let’s take a step back here. Most of the code this utilises controls the quiz itself. To hook everything together, it just needs the player to do a few simple things.
  1. tell it where the video’s played up to, so it knows when to show the questions
  2. pause the video when a question is displayed
  3. play the video again when the question is answered
  4. let the quiz know when the video’s ended, so it can show the score
You see? Each piece of that information is vital to the process. They’re all simple interactions but without them the quiz wouldn’t be able to do what it does. It’s amazing how a few little bits of integration can quickly allow you to build something pretty cool.
A myriad of video loading tricks
Continuing on that theme, just before Christmas I put together a little (slightly daft) compendia of uses for the API’s `loadVideo` function. The `loadVideo` function is one of those great little tools, which quickly proves itself to be invaluable. Quite simply, it will let you load another video into the player.

Now, at first glance, that may seem like mundane task. However, it can be used to build all manner of things. In the blog I looked at changing the video depending on the viewer’s device, their screen orientation, or after a button click. The idea of loading different videos depending on the context, just seemed really cool to me. As for the button clicks, that’s a little more ordinary (there’s a video below showing it in action). However, making the player change videos on a click is only a few steps away from building your own custom playlist. Something that’s very achievable with the API.


Taking your first steps with the player API

Ok, so that’s what you can do but where do you start?

If you have a little JavaScript experience, setting up the player API is quick and easy. The heavy-lifting of communicating with both our Flash and HTML5 players is handled by a JavaScript library, which we’ve already written.

To get everything up and running all you need to do is link the library into your HTML document’s head and create a new instance of the library’s vzPlayer object. After the player object’s been instantiated, interacting with is just a matter of calling the library’s pre-defined functions. For instance, if everything’s set-up correctly, playPause() will play or pause the video. Link that up to a button and you’ve taken the first step towards building your own set of controls.

There’s some great documentation, outlining the process for setting up the API in more detail and listing all it’s functions, which you can find here. It should help to get you off to a flying start and naturally, if you run into any problems, our support team are here to help.

If you’d like to learn more about the vzaar API check out the page here, or drop us a line – always very happy to help with any video projects.

Happy coding and stay awesome!

Categories Tech, vzaar updates
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We’ve always had Mail Catcher (well, for a pretty long time anyway). But it just got a whole load better. You can now send viewer email addresses to your own custom API (hurrah!)

What is Mail Catcher?

In a nutshell, Mail Catcher allows you to capture your viewers email addresses. You can add an email capture form either at the beginning, end or during your video. It basically turns your video into a powerful lead generation tool, meaning you can reach out to people who are actively interested in your product/services to develop your relationship with them further. It’s a fantastic way to stay in touch with your audience.

Mail Catcher then sends the email addresses to either MailChimp, Aweber or Google Drive. PLUS you can now send to your own custom API too. The video (above) gives step by step instructions.

This brings a ton more flexibility – because you can choose to send your data to your own database. Once you’ve got it – you can do with it as you will. Perhaps you’re using a custom set up, or an alternative email provider, a la online media company Pink Minds Media:

kevin-van-der-straeten“We use a custom build CMS/mailserver platform. As a media company our mailing database is the center of our business. Being able to capture valuable opt-ins directly in our database, even when our videos are embedded on other sites is important.” – Kevin Van der Straten, MD & Founder, Pink Minds Media.

We intro’d the new functionality direct from a request from one of our existing clients (see, we really do listen to you guys :p). We’re constantly reviewing our platform to make sure we’re bringing you the best possible service we can, and we’re always open to any feedback. Drop us a line if you’d like to discuss any of your requirements – always happy to help!

Categories vzaar updates
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vzaar Support teamMaybe you’re looking for a new video hosting and delivery service and you have some questions to help you in your evaluation?

Maybe you’re a new customer uploading a large number of videos to our service so that you can get those videos playing on your website and in front of your viewers?

Maybe you’ve been with us a while and you’d like to discuss a new feature or how we can help you as your video needs evolve? Maybe you just stumbled across vzaar and you have no idea what we do!

Regardless of who you are and what your question is, the vzaar support team is here to help.

What’s the best way to get hold of us?

There are many ways to contact us for support:

Phone

For some questions – and for many people – there is no substitute for a knowledgable technician on the end of the phone. A phone call gets you an immediate, personal response that’s interactive and secure. There’s also no restriction on the length of the message. We might answer your question in a moment or need to do some troubleshooting which can take a little longer.

You can call vzaar directly in the UK on +44 20 7820 6280 or at +1 877 831 7110 between the hours of 9am GMT (4am Eastern) and 6pm Pacific (9pm Eastern). That’s a 17-hour window each day when you can talk to a real person and get help.

Live Chat

Some questions are more easily answered – and some can only be solved – while you’re at your computer. For that reason, we have Live Chat on our website on all pages at vzaar.com:

Video_Hosting_For_Business

Just click the tab and one of our video experts will be right with you. Live Chat is a great channel because it makes sending links (e.g. to specific videos, or pages on your website) easy and error free (if you’ve ever spent 5 minutes trying to read a website URL over the phone to somebody, you’ll know what a boon this is).

Live Chat is online during the same hours as our phones. If you visit our site and you don’t see that tab, we may have taken it down for maintenance or we may be experiencing a spike in chats and our support technicians are at capacity. It’s usually back online, in either case, within 5 or 10 minutes.

Help ticket

If your question is less urgent in nature – you don’t need immediate help – or if it’s more involved and you’d like to write it up in detail, then consider opening a help ticket by clicking the “support” link at vzaar.com:

Video_Hosting_For_Business

You can also go directly there by bookmarking https://vzaar.com/help/.

On that page, click the “start a discussion” button. Then give us a little information about yourself and your query, and submit the ticket by clicking “create” and following the prompts. If your question concerns security or if you just would prefer that other vzaar customers don’t read it, check the box to make the discussion private:

Example of discussion form

The help ticket system is also a useful option if you need to attach files to your question.

The ticket system has an advantage over phone and chat as it’s available 24-hours a day. Response time for a help ticket can be very short – it’s typically measured in minutes. In 2014, 75% of all help tickets received a response in less than 4 hours.

Time to resolution can vary obviously, depending on the nature of the specific question, but most issues are satisfactorily resolved quickly – the vast majority of tickets are fully resolved within one business day.

Email

Traditional email is a good choice for many people as it makes support enquiries easy to manage as part of your regular workflow. Again, you can compose your questions – or in the case of a pre-sales enquiry, your list of requirements – at your own pace and can work through the response in your own time.

Support emails can be sent to: support@vzaar.com

Contact form

Perhaps the fastest, simplest way to send us a question. You can find the contact form at: https://vzaar.com/contact

Twitter

The 140-character limit on a Tweet can make asking a question hard, but not impossible, If Twitter is your preferred channel of communication, you can get hold of us there too. On Twitter, we are: @vzaar

Blog

We regularly update our blog with informative and, we hope, interesting articles: http://vzaar.com/blog/

At the end of each blog article, there’s a section for comments – it’s the best way to get help with specific issues covered by that article.

What do we need to know to help you?

There are many approaches to problem solving but most, if not all, will start by identifying the problem. It’s hard to solve a problem if we don’t know what the problem is!

At this early stage, a few simple but key pieces of information will go a long way to helping us to identify and work towards a solution:

Which video is having the problem?

We’re a video hosting company so many of the questions we answer are about specific videos. Before you contact us it will help to make a note of the specific video about which you’re asking. The easiest way to give us that information is to just paste in the address of the video ‘manage’ page on http://app.vzaar.com (the ‘manage’ page is the page where you manage the settings for that specific video):

video_-_Butterfly___vzaar_com

The address will always be: https://app.vzaar.com/videos/xxxxxxx where xxxxxxx is the unique vzaar video ID.

If the video is embedded in a page in your own website, it’s even more helpful for us to see the video in the page and begin there. The address of the page on your website that contains the video might look like this: http://www.awesomewebproducts.com/products/page1/index.html.

How does the problem appear?

Are you seeing an error message and, if so, what is the full text? Simple information like this will speed up diagnosis.

How is the viewer viewing the video?

We’ve spent a lot of time creating a system which ensures that your videos will play across all kinds of devices, operating systems and browsers so, whether your viewer is using Chrome on Mac OSX or Silk on a Kindle device, videos will play reliably and look great.

But, occasionally, users will have issues which are specific to their setup – they may have an out of date browser or some component which is interfering with our ability to deliver your video. It’s very helpful for us to have information about your viewer’s system details and you can get that to us quickly and easily by inviting them to visit our system details page.

Ask them to “Start Speed Test Now”. When it completes and displays the “Average Speed”, they can click the “Save As CSV” button and send us the CSV document which is saved to their hard drive.

Any other information on their machine, connection, etc. is useful. For example, a comment like “I’m in the same office as a coworker – she can see the video but I can’t” can help us quickly isolate and solve a problem.

In summary

There are many ways to contact us and get help with our service. Whether you prefer talking – or chatting online – in person with a video expert or writing up a query in more detail at your convenience, we have an appropriate channel.

You can help us to help you by gathering some basic information before you contact us. And we’ll have all your video questions answered just as soon as we possibly can. Drop us a line – always happy to talk video.

Categories vzaar FAQ, vzaar updates
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First things, first..

What is the rest API?

REST stands for representational state transfer. It’s a fancy way of saying you can send HTTP requests to vzaar, and vzaar will do stuff for you.

Basically, the REST API will let you build your own custom platform, off the back of vzaar. You can integrate your own web application into our own, allowing you to harness the years of work which have gone into vzaar, and saving you from reinventing the wheel.

So what does it do?

Imagine a scenario where your videos are added to your web pages automatically, whenever you upload a new one. Hell, why stop there? The API will allow you to upload videos from your own webpages too. If you wished, you could build a whole video application, allowing users to upload and interact with their own content automatically, using the API.

Ok, that’s all a little esoteric. How about some examples?

Video training portals

LearningZen gives its clients the ability to create their own online training portals. The team used the vzaar API to integrate video into this platforms. Giving their clients the option to create video based training portals.

“We were also looking for a service that could be fully integrated into our own product at an API level, eliminating the need for our content creators to leave LearningZen when uploading videos and placing them into their own course materials.” – COO, Thomas Klassen

Read More

Personalised video messaging

Not an application for popping the question remotely. ProposalApp allows sales pros to connect with their prospects, including a video of themselves in their proposals.

Read More

CMS with easy video integration

Parallax are a digital marketing agency. As a result, for them, video forms a single part of a multi-media arsenal they use for their clients. Using our API they created their ‘Expose’ CMS which means their clients can add videos to their sites really, really easily.

“The user simply clicks ‘add video’ in the interface. This adds a video placeholder to the page. They then click on the placeholder and select the video file. The file uploads to vzaar and, after it’s finished encoding, it will play on the page.” – Director, Dario Grandich

Read More

In a nutshell…

The REST API integrates with vzaar’s video management functionality. Allowing things like uploading and accessing video data think of it as allowing you to do all the things you’d normally log into your account to achieve. Except, you know, without actually requiring to login.

Hang-on? Wait?! What?! My account can be controlled without logging in?! That sounds terrifying?!

Well, no. The REST API still requires that you authenticate to perform the majority of actions.

To authenticate with the API, you’ll need your username and an API key (randomly generated muddle of characters, which you can create in your account’s API settings). These two values are then used to generate an OAuth signature, which tells vzaar you have access rights for the request you’re making.

An OAuth what now? Where does that come from? Hold tight and I’ll explain…

The techie bit

The OAuth signature is programmatically generated. However, I wouldn’t get too hung up on the details. We offer a range of libraries, in multiple different languages, which handle most of the nuts and bolts bits for you.

This means that most API tasks are as simple as copying over your username and API token, then calling a function from the library.

Let’s look at the process in Ruby, to give you an idea of how simple it is.

require ‘vzaar’

vzaar = Vzaar::Api.new(application_token: "API token", login: "vzaar login") vzaar.video_details(video_id, authenticated: true)

This will give you all manner information for the video you requested. Like this:

vzaar REST API example

Not bad for three lines of code, right?

Take a look here for all the other functions the ruby gem offers. The libraries in other languages are also similarly well-endowed. You can find a list of them all here, at present we also offer libraries for PHP, .NET, Java, node.js, Scala, Objective C, ActionScript. and ColdFusion.

In Summary

The REST API gives you a lot of extra functionality. Because the vzaar API is so flexible, you’re able to build bespoke platforms to suit your business. It basically means that you can really tune your use of video and use it create your own custom solutions.

Remember, we’re always happy to chat through any video projects, and we love hearing about the different ways businesses are using video so do get in touch with any questions, comments or ideas.

Video Hosting API Developers Learn More

Categories Tech Tips, vzaar updates
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