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Get Ready for Video on Wikipedia: Al Jazeera Already on Board

08/17/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 29, 2013

Although video has been on Wikipedia in a limited way for the past two years, it is poised to take-off with the recent introduction of Firefox 3.5 along with other imminent developments, we have learned.

Over the next few months there will be the introduction of server-side transcoding technology, a new Wikipedia video player, and a set of collaborative editing tools which will allow community members to amend videos.

Videos on the site are uploaded and watched in a format called Ogg Theora.  It is a Flash-like program which is completely open-source.  Video producers can render Ogg files in FinalCut and other editing programs by using various plug-ins. Once in Ogg, these files can be uploaded to Wikipedia.

Later this year, Wikipedia will allow uploads of popular file formats directly with server-side transcoding to Ogg.  This plug-in is called FireOgg.

For some time, these videos have been viewable with certain Java and other plug-ins.  The release of Firefox 3.5 is the first time that Ogg videos can be viewed "natively" on a browser.  Opera and Chrome will support Ogg soon, but not Explorer or Safari; this news has inflamed the open source community with Apple.

Last month, we caught up with Erik Moller, deputy director of the Wikimedia Foundation at the Open Video Conference in New York.  We have published our interview today.

Earlier this week, Erik told Beet.TV that Wikipedia is working on a sophisticated video player with full-screen, share, and other standard functions.

Later this year, Wikipedia will allow members to edit videos in a project funded and lead by Kaltura.

Watch Wikipedia Videos Now

We have some links to explore.  The experience is not perfect, but you will find some interesting material.  While you can't share the videos, you can download them.  As mentioned above, there will be major improvements coming in the player.  Stay tuned.

Get Ready to Upload, Al Jazeera and Others Have Started

Jazeera Some media companies, including Al Jazeera, are experimenting with uploading to Wikipedia. The fast-growing Middle East television network has uploaded its coverage of last year's conflict in Gaza. It was one of a handful of news organizations with crews in the war zone.

Other media entities, non-profits, governmental organizations, and marketers will find Wikipedia extremely important for video as they find it for text now.  

Bandwidth Will be an Issue, Wikimedia Foundation Seeks CDN

Right now, videos are hosted on Wikipedia servers and there can be performance issues.  How can Wikipedia possibly manage to stream properly if video starts to
takeoff?

Erik told me that the Foundation is looking for a CDN company to provide services at a deep discount or on a contributed basis.  This would be a good cause, indeed.  We hope someone steps up to the plate.

This video was originally posted on Beet.TV.