Stage 6 Beta Review
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The beta launch of Stage6 has seen a host of new features that has turned Stage6 alpha from just another one of those video sites into something really unique and compelling.
The first thing you will notice when you go onto the new Stage6 site and watch a video is the quality. Everything feels widescreen and well designed and you are free from blurry pixilated videos. Stage6 supports video quality up to 1080p HD.
But it doesn’t just stop at higher quality videos, Stage 6 alpha had that already. Stage6 beta is trying to make its mark as the ultimate portal for independent video producers and video enthusiasts to distribute their videos, network and share ideas.
The Features of Stage6
- High Quality video – DivX is well known for its effective compression technology that keeps files sizes small but video quality high. This means you can watch high quality video on Stage6 without having to wait for it to download first. DivX supports HD up to 1080p.
- Great design – It is definitely one of the hottest looking video portals on the net.
- Widescreen video player – The videos are shown in widescreen 16:9 ratio and can be quickly viewed in true full screen mode and also launched in their own window.
- Search tags within tags – Each video comes with tags to describe what the video is, these tags are searchable. This in itself is not that unique but Stage6 also allows you to search tags within tags, so for example you could search for videos tagged as Music and also tagged with Classical. This feature could be made clearer on the site, you need to click the little arrow and plus sign next to the tags.
- What’s hot – Based on user reviews, ratings and other criteria Stage6 is able to arrange videos by hotness.
- Branded Channels – Stage6 allows video producers to have their own customizable channel which they can brand. The channel features all their videos, their own blog, a forum, pictures and a list of subscribers.
- Download Videos – A simple but great feature! You can download the videos to your computer’s hard drive and do what ever you want with it. DivX recognize that if you can watch it for free online, then why the hell not let you download it for free too. Stage6 gracefully gives you that freedom. The download button is next to the play button on videos as shown above to the right.
- Consumer Electronics – After downloading your videos you are able to watch them on any of the 70 million DivX compatible electronic devices including DVD players, cell phones and portable media players.
- Universal Search – Well you can search videos, nothing really surprising here.
- Community – A growing community for content creators and video lovers to network, share ideas and broadcast videos.
- Your Stage – Each registered Stage6 user has a personal ‘My Stage’ page where they can receive watch alerts, upload and organize videos, post on their own blog, and create and manage channels. The rest of the community can view other people’s stages.
- Karma – What goes around comes around and Stage6 has a number of ways to measure people’s Karma which is publicly viewable. Good is rewarded and bad is punished. Those good users have a more profound effect on the site, for example their ratings will be worth more.
- Fighting Tag abuse – Have you seen completely irrelevant tags posted along with videos on sites like YouTube just so that video gets some extra visitors? On Stage6 content creators can remove inaccurate tags and community members can vote for a tag’s relevancy.
- Recommendation Feature – As a member of Stage6 the site will present you with videos that it recommends, based on your own use of the site and the actions of users with tastes similar to yours.
- Quick and Easy publish tools – Stage6 has worked hard to make uploading video a painless process. You can even upload multiple videos at once.
- Publicize your Brand – Marketing tools such as promotional spotlights, pass-along features (e.g. video greetings, friend invites), widgets, and affiliate programs can be leveraged not only to attract viewers, but to turn them into loyal fans. Monetization features for video producers are in the works.
- Great for serious video producers – HD resolution video, Unlimited file size and Unlimited number of videos per account
Installing the Video Player
The big downside of Stage6 is that to get such high quality videos you need to install the DivX software. While this is not a big deal for the more sophisticated internet user it’s a bit of a problem for the less tech savvy user. That means your Grandmother might get a bit confused and run back to YouTube to watch some gardening videos.
Video player crashing
I’ve experienced the DivX web player crashing my browser and I;m not alone. I emailed a representative from DivX and they said they are aware of the problem and are looking into it.
Given that Stage6 is still in beta I will cut DivX a bit of slack here and hope it will be fixed soon.
To Sum Up
- High quality video up to 1080p HD
- Innovative social features with Karma
- Ability to fight tag spam
- Focus on high quality independent videos
- A growing community of video enthusiasts and video producers.
- Videos can be downloaded and played in DivX compatible electronics
- Fluid, functional, professional and aesthetic deisgn.
- Videos in 16:9 widescreen ratio
- Video player known to crash
- You have to install the DivX software to watch it
- Monetization options for video producers currently lacking
- Not as many videos as a site like YouTube, but for the most part they are more professional.
- The site is sometimes slow to respond.
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