Remember RedLasso, the awesome but illegal Web video company that let you edit and embed TV clips from dozens of TV networks, almost in real time? They didn’t survive, but a new company called 1Cast is trying to pick up where RedLasso left off. 1Cast, funded by telecom industry legend Craig McCaw, opens today in private beta. If there are any invitations left, you can pick them up here.
What is it? A growing, legal, video clip library from TV and news networks, such as CNBC, Reuters, the AP, AFP, etc. (The company says it’s in the process of signing up pretty much everyone in the business.)
Via 1Cast’s browser, you can build embeddable video “casts” about a certain topic — a person like Barack Obama, a company like Citigroup, etc. — which gather more clips over time, and put them on your Web site. (There’s also an iPhone app, which we haven’t tried yet.)
- The “casts” aren’t all that useful yet. For instance, our “cast” about Mark Cuban — embedded below — only has two videos in it so far, one from AP and one from Reuters, both from Monday. (One is a news roundup that only briefly mentions Cuban at the end.) We’re not sure if that’s because 1Cast is still adding new content from partners — isn’t Mark Cuban’s name on CNBC every 5 minutes this week? — or if we did something wrong.
- Clips seem stale, and don’t seem to make it to 1Cast in near-real time. Or if they do, we don’t really have a way of knowing. There’s no “most recently added” river, which would be very helpful. By the time a few hours have passed, news video has little value.
- There doesn’t seem to be a way to easily embed a single video clip — other than deleting all the other videos you’ve collected from a “cast.” This is silly. People are used to embedding individual video clips from YouTube, Hulu, etc., and shouldn’t have to go through the trouble to do that here.
The video quality is pretty good — it looks like 1Cast is using Akamai (AKAM) to deliver the video, and relatively high bitrate Flash video. Each “cast” includes a pre-roll ad, which seems to be served up from ad network YuMeNetworks, and hover-over ads during the video.
Overall, a good start. But we’d like more content and better tools before we rely on 1Cast for news video to complement our coverage.
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