Vzaar Review

Vzaar Review

High-end video hosting and live streaming platform with an easy-to-use interface, exceptional customer service and optimal playback for global audiences, including China.

Pros

  • Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), domain control and password protection allows for secure video streaming and prevents unauthorized downloads
  • One of the only video hosting platforms to offer high-quality playback in China
  • Capture emails and generate leads by adding call-to-actions before, during and after playback

Cons

  • Videos cannot be monetized via subscriptions or pay-per-view. You must integrate with external paywall to accept payments
  • Overage rates are expensive if you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit
Analyst's Rating
76
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Table of Contents

Vzaar Pricing

  • Plans start at $209/month, with the most popular plan costing $419/month.
  • 14-day free trial.

Vzaar Full Review

Vzaar is a reliable video hosting platform for digital publishers, eLearning companies and enterprises. The company offers a safe and secure way to upload, manage and distribute video content for a global audience. Founded in 2007, Vzaar has grown from supporting small eBay sellers to helping over 2,800 companies across the globe (including large corporations such as Fiverr, Cathay Pacific and Getty Images) with video hosting.

Vzaar’s core service is video hosting. Live streaming is available, but it’s not advertised much and it’s offered only on plans that are mid-tier and above. The platform has a simple drag-and-drop upload feature that supports bulk uploading of videos that have various file extensions and resolutions. Frame widths and bitrates can be customized with the “Ingest Recipes” feature. Multi-bitrate and adaptive streaming allow you to reach viewers on various devices and platforms across the world with the best quality playback. Vzaar is one of the few platforms that have reliable points of presence (PoP) in mainland China (Beijing and Shanghai), which gets your content past the strict firewall rules.

The software is extremely intuitive, with a simple, clean, modern interface. Users have reported that customer service is second-to-none because of the fast response times and helpful advice. Vzaar has a chat feature, a contact form and US and UK support numbers (available M-F, 4 AM to 9 PM EST).

The company has a fixed pricing model that starts at $209/month (billed annually). Compared DaCast’s Premium Plan (which costs only $125/month and offers both on-demand video and live streaming), Vzaar’s entry-level plan Launch is relatively expensive given the number of included features and monthly bandwidth (1,000GB). The mid-tier plan (Scale) offers more monthly bandwidth (4,000GB) and storage capacity (2,000GB). If you select Vzaar’s Launch Plan, be warned that overage rates, which start at $0.50/GB for standard playback, can add up quickly. In contrast, DaCast overage pricing starts at $0.20/GB.

Key Features

Below, we'll discuss Vzaar’s key features and how they can benefit your business.

Vzaar Uploader

Vzaar features a simple drag-and-drop video uploader that supports bulk uploading of up to 10 videos. You can connect Vzaar to your Dropbox account to automatically add videos from your library.

Vzaar does not restrict video length; however, there is an upload limit of 5GB per video. If your video exceeds the limit, you can reduce its picture size or bitrate before uploading.

Vzaar Review Uploading Videos

With a feature called "Ingest Recipe", you can select different frame widths and bitrates to customize how each video will be processed and delivered. Before you start encoding, establish the main purpose of your video. For example, when uploading video content for internal use, you may want to use ULD/LD/SD-hi to conserve bandwidth, whereas you may want to prioritize quality when uploading videos for your external marketing campaigns. Keeping in mind the goal of each video can help you build different "Ingest Recipes" to meet your objectives.

Vzaar Review Creating Recipes

If you have a global audience, we recommend that you utilize the "Dual Encoding" feature. This feature encodes two different versions: a standard definition (SD) video and a high-definition (HD) video. Vzaar will then automatically deliver videos according to your viewers' connection speeds. Viewers with fast internet connections will be able to access high-definition content, while viewers with slower internet speeds will receive the standard definition video with no buffering. Vzaar has an extensive selection of encoding options to help you find the right balance between video quality and playback reliability. If you’re unfamiliar with the encoding process, you can read the company’s extensive blog post on the subject here.

Video Management

Organizing your content on Vzaar is incredibly straightforward. Every video you have uploaded is listed in the main library with relevant information, including the video’s size, frame, owner and view count.

Although you can find videos by using the search bar, the easiest way to manage your video content is with a combination of categories and labels. Categories are essentially folders that keep your videos organized. You can add subcategories (only two layers deep) to improve your workflow and video management. For example, you might want to create a category called “Marketing” and subcategories called “Project A” and “Project B.” However, as your library grows, you may want to introduce labels to help you find videos quickly. Labels can be used to define groups of videos that have the same subject. Labels also allow you to cross-filter content according to your needs.

With the Playlist feature, Vzaar allows you to group videos into a single player. Playlists can be embedded on any site, enabling several videos to be played from a single window.

Vzaar Review Creating Playlist

Secure Video Delivery

Vzaar delivers content via an embeddable HTML5 video player, using HTTP streaming (HLS) to make sure that the best version of your video can be viewed at all times. Originally developed by Apple, HLS is built for reliability. It dynamically adapts to variable internet speeds to ensure optimal playback on different platforms, devices and browsers. Although HTML5 is the default, the Flash Player will deliver the content if the viewer’s browser doesn’t support HTML5.

If you have confidential videos, you might want to opt for “Secure Delivery,” which includes AES Encryption. AES Encryption is a leader on the video stream security market. It is approved by the NSA and has been adopted by the U.S. Government. You can also add password protection to your video or utilize Signed Key Security and Domain Control to prevent other websites from embedding your content.

Vzaar Review Video Security Settings

Customizable Video Player

Once your videos have been uploaded, they can be added to your website (WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, etc.) via embeddable links. The recommended (and default) embed type is iFrame. It makes your videos work on a variety of platforms and devices in addition to updating instantly when backend changes occur. This instant updating can save you a lot of time; you need to make changes only once to guarantee consistency on your entire site.

Vzaar has several white label features for branding the video player. The player’s appearance and playback controls can be the same for all videos in your library or different for individual videos. There are two available colors (Base and Accent Color) and one border. A digital watermark can be added to protect your videos and display your brand. Vzaar offers a branded video page with three customizable templates and color schemes. Your business logo and a background image can be added to the page. However, custom URLs are available only with some plans. Compared to platforms such as Uscreen and Muvi, Vzaar’s white label features are underwhelming.

Vzaar Review Video Preview

Marketing

Vzaar is one of the better platforms for lead generation. It captures emails in the video window. Vzaar integrates with email service providers, including MailChimp and AWeber. Once connected, viewers will be prompted to enter their email addresses before, during, or after playback (according to your selection). Each email address will then be automatically transferred to a list with your selected provider, allowing you to take advantage of more marketing automation.

Vzaar Review Marketing Integrations

You can include a personalized call-to-action (CTA) message at the end of your video and send viewers to a specific URL. You might want to include a special offer for viewers, entice them with a free trial, or ask them to watch another video.

Analytics

Vzaar has basic analytics for the number of “plays” (autoplay events and times when the play button is pressed) and “impressions” associated with each video. You can explore the performance of individual videos in terms of bandwidth, plays and impressions. The analytics section could use some work. Vzaar cannot currently assess lead generation or track views by the device used to view the videos; this can limit your ability to plan your content and marketing strategy.

Vzaar Review Report Example

For more detailed reporting, there is an option to integrate Google Analytics with Vzaar. Integration allows you to track key events that are currently unavailable with Vzaar Analytics alone; for example, you can see the number of times the video player has entered full-screen mode, the number of times a video has buffered in seconds and viewers’ geographic locations.

However, setting up Google Analytics can be complicated for non-technical users. The integration was previously available only for the Flash-based player (not the HTML5 player), which resulted in missing data from some mobile devices. Although a new plug-in that works with both player types (Flash and HTML5) has been released, the integration requires basic knowledge of Javascript and HTML. Fortunately, Vzaar has documented the integration process here.

Vzaar vs. the Competition

We'll analyze how Vzaar stacks up against its competitors.

Vzaar vs. Uscreen

Uscreen is a better choice than Vzaar for users that need a fully managed solution for building and monetizing their own video streaming or subscription-based channel. The company caters to small businesses and provides everything from video hosting to a website builder. It even includes payment processing.

On the other hand, Vzaar provides a secure and reliable video hosting platform that supports businesses of all sizes with global video distribution. Because the platform can be monetized via advertising only, Vzaar is better suited to eCommerce sites whose owners are looking to leverage video marketing to drive sales. It is also suitable for businesses that require a secure platform for sharing confidential videos.

Vzaar has a laser focus on delivering reliable and secure playback. The viewer’s experience is prioritized with multi-bitrate encoding and a global network of servers that ensure smooth delivery at all times, regardless of internet speed. Like Uscreen, Vzaar keeps sensitive content secure with AES encryption and password protection, but with an extra layer of protection: domain control that prevents unauthorized content from appearing on other sites.

Both platforms support video distribution on a global scale, allowing you to penetrate different markets with multi-language subtitles (including Mandarin), but Uscreen offers more features, allowing you to build a website in multiple languages and accept payments in all major currencies. Both platforms integrate with Google Analytics, but Uscreen comes with a more comprehensive set of tracking tools.

With packages starting at $149/month, Uscreen offers considerably more value for on-demand streaming than Vzaar, whose starter plan will set you back $209/month (with additional charges for bandwidth and storage overage). However, it's also worth noting that Uscreen’s payment processor (Stripe) charges 2.9% of the payment amount plus $0.30 per transaction.

If you have your own website and simply want an easy and secure place for storing, managing and delivering your video content, Vzaar is a good option. However, if you’re looking for an end-to-end solution with payment processing and an engaging storefront, choose Uscreen.

Vzaar vs. Muvi

Muvi is a video hosting platform that allows businesses to easily upload, manage and deliver video content worldwide. While Vzaar supports on-demand video only, Muvi is a “hybrid” platform that encompasses live video/audio streams, on-demand video and even eCommerce. Users can monetize their content in a variety of ways: via subscriptions, pay-per-view, an online store, or advertisements. In contrast, Vzaar allows you to monetize through ad-supported networks only.

Muvi offers a lot more white labeling features. Using the visual editor, users can build a fully branded website without any coding experience. Although Vzaar does offer a branded video page, the page has limited customization functionality and looks a little more outdated than Muvi. Both platforms provide basic marketing features; however, Vzaar is more flexible when it comes to third-party integration because it allows you to connect to external providers (such as MailChimp and AWeber).

Vzaar has large bandwidth limits (4,000GB with the medium plan, compared to 1,000GB with Muvi’s standard plan), but the overage limit can be very expensive. Users are charged $0.50/GB if the bandwidth limit is exceeded during a given month; Muvi charges $0.09/GB. Vzaar’s price starts at $209/month (billed annually), while Muvi starts at $199/month for basic features.

If you’re looking to monetize on-demand video content or you want live streaming, Muvi is the better option. For a lower price, you can access many features and monetize your content in a variety of ways. However, Vzaar is a good choice if you’re looking for a reliable on-demand video hosting platform only.

Vzaar vs. DaCast

DaCast is an online broadcasting platform that allows individual publishers and businesses to monetize their audio-visual content. Like Vzaar, DaCast has an embeddable white label player that supports both live streaming and video-on-demand content. However, Vzaar offers live streaming only with mid-tier plans, while DaCast offers live streaming with all its plans. DaCast is by far the more cost-effective option for businesses looking to broadcast live videos (online classes, sporting events, worship services, etc.).

If you want to monetize your video content, DaCast is the clear winner. The platform has a built-in payment system that can charge viewers for subscriptions or on a pay-per-view basis, while Vzaar provides the option to monetize content via advertisements only. That said, it’s important to note that DaCast currently accepts U.S. dollars and euros only.

Both companies offer full-featured video APIs that allow you to host video content on your own mobile, web and desktop apps. Vzaar and DaCast both employ global content delivery networks that ensure fast and uninterrupted content delivery across the world. One key difference is that Vzaar allows you to upload larger files (5GB, compared to DaCast’s 2GB), which makes it preferable for longer videos.

Billed annually at $19/month, DaCast’s Starter plan comes with 100GB of bandwidth, 20GB of storage and a reasonable overage charge of $0.18/GB, making it an enticing option for beginners. Vzaar plans start at $209/month with 1000GB of bandwidth, 1000GB of storage and a much steeper overage rate of $0.50/GB.

Is Vzaar Right for You?

Vzaar is one of the most trusted video software solutions on the market. If you’re looking to scale your business, Vzaar gives you the power to harness the potential of video marketing with lead generation tools (call-to-actions, email capture, video replacement) and brand exposure strategies (white label player, integrated social sharing, YouTube syndication).

You can place your own advertisements before, during and after playback to diversify your revenue stream while cutting out the middleman. You can also increase conversions by embedding videos on product pages or landing pages. However, Vzaar’s reporting is limited, and you need to integrate Google Analytics to really analyze the performance of your video content and marketing strategy.

With Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) protection and password protection, Vzaar is also an excellent (albeit expensive) choice for sharing confidential videos with colleagues and stakeholders. The company’s commitment to securely delivering high-quality video makes it a reliable option for eLearning businesses. We love that Vzaar has a global network of servers (catering to a Chinese audience even), multi-bitrate encoding and adaptive streaming to ensure seamless playback on all devices.

If you’re looking for an end-to-end solution to monetize your video content on a subscription-based channel or via pay-per-view, Vzaar is not recommended. However, if you are planning to leverage video marketing to drive sales or need a reliable hosting platform to deliver your videos globally with flawless playback, Vzaar is a reasonable option.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit. He leads the team's research and publishes content about software products and trends. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed technology companies, and launching new businesses. You can connect with Bruce on LinkedIn.

Bruce is an expert in several software categories including:

  • Dental software
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