THE BIG INTERVIEW: SelfcastTV goes head to head with YouTube

YouTube might be the dominating force on the Internet when it comes to sharing videos with your friends - last week it reported that users are downloading 100million videos every day - but it isn't the only player out there.

Based in the UK, the creators of video-search engine blinx.tv have decided to tackle YouTube head on with the launch of SelfcastTV, an online video sharing portal.

The site's USP is that it offers an easy-to-use but sophisticated way of uploading video content from mobile phones.

You simply text your video clips (or photographs) to the site, where others can easily download them to their portable media devices or mobile phones in MPEG4 format.

"Quite a few sites have support for mobile, but no one else has a direct text message system", says founder Suringa Chandratillake.

SelfcastTV also offers users the chance to create channels, where they can save their videos as well as others, and open the channels up to public or private viewing.

In MovieMode feature, footage can be combined into one clip so that users can have uninterrupted viewing of several videos.

Although it would seem a daunting task for any website to take on the might of such uber-popular sites as YouTube, Chandratillake is quietly confident that his new site will find its niche.

He told Pocket-lint that the site originated after users of blinx.tv began requesting an easy way to upload their own videos.

"Basically on the back of that we launch Selfcasttv. For the first couple of months there were only a handful of members, but now it's taken off and it's got a healthy community of people."

For viewers worried about what sort of content is hosted on the site, Chandratillake assures that content is checked automatically with software for copyrighted material or adult content.

Suspect videos are flagged for a human check. Because SelfcastTV grew from the sophisticated search engine Blinx.tv, the software is advanced and can spot problems that other sites may miss.

The site is as user-friendly as possible, and lets you create a profile so you can join the community and link to friends' profiles. You can rate clips, email favourite videos, and – good news for bloggers – easy embed video into your blog or MySpace pages.

Chandratillake is optimistic about the new site's future, saying, "I think the niche we have is the British angle. People here interact with the media in a different way. We're much more likely to use video phones than in the US, and this means that YouTube and such sites have less mobile support".

However with such a small stake in the market, you feel it is only a matter of time before sites like YouTube and Google video start offering the same technology. Then it really will come down to whether or not SelfcastTV has carved itself that niche and whether or not its users will be happy to stay.


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