Kaltura Unveils Free, Open Source Edition Of Video Platform
It may just be that in launching the Community Edition of its self-hosted online video platform Kaltura (news, site) has created a monster by giving everyone and anyone the ability to put their videos out onto the Wild Wild Web.

The announcement that the Community Edition is finally ready for download came at O’Reilly OSCON 2009 and now puts easily integrated, customizable, interactive rich-media functionality in the hands of anyone who wants it.

What’s more, Kaltura says that it is breaking the build-vs-buy and vendor lock-in conundrum by allowing users combine it with any other technology or services platform without being beholden to Kaltura.

Flexible And Extensible Platform

That in itself is pretty neat, but by giving users access to hundreds of flexible APIs and reference applications in PHP, Ruby, .Net and Java, as well as off-the-shelf pre-integrated extensions to leading web platforms, they have really sealed the deal.

OK, so this is very close to the proverbial “free lunch”, but until we find out otherwise let’s just take it at face value. Besides, Kaltura has admitted that running in parallel to the CE are a bunch of paid for services that users can opt into, though they also say they are not going to browbeat you into it.

Everyone these days is looking for the perfect all-bells-and-whistles website and for many people not directly involved in web development that means video.

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Kaltura Standard Editor

The result is that video is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing markets with rich-media integration a common occurrence even on financially under-endowed public sector websites.

In-house vs SaaS Video Management

Problem is that until now, there really have only been two options when it comes to developing this kind of web asset -- companies could either develop it in house, or alternatively they could go the SaaS route.

In both cases, there has been reasonable chance that they would have to remortgage their houses to afford either option.

Slight exaggeration maybe, but it is a given that if your company went the in-house route it was going to take a lot of time to complete and probably cost twice the original budget, while the SaaS route is often too pricey, not secure enough and not very flexible or extensible.

Kaltura say that their CE is going to change all that, and with an initial costing of -- well absolutely nothing other than a visit to their website -- it is likely to be an attractive option to many.

Self-Hosting Solutions

Online video capabilities are in high demand these days, and Kaltura’s appear to be more so than most.

So much so, in fact that earlier this week it was announced that it had been added to the MindTouch 2009 platform.

However, the CE is free and open to everyone, enabling them to build upon and extend an extremely robust platform, implement their own, self-hosted solution, on their own servers and behind their own firewalls.

They can also subscribe to Kaltura's paid services, which include support and maintenance services, professional development service and ancillary digital services, including video streaming, hosting, delivery, syndication, advertising and search engine optimization.

"Kaltura Community Edition puts control back in the hands of publishers," said Ron Yekutiel, Chairman and CEO of Kaltura "When we looked across the market, we saw a commoditized landscape littered with more than 50 online video providers selling similar services and trying to undercut the others' prices.”

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Kaltura Management Console

Feature-Rich Platform

In these circumstances, he added, it was clear that there was a huge need (and market) for an open source alternative, and that Kaltura is only too willing to supply it.

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Kaltura Application Studio

In doing they have provided a platform that provides:

  • A full content and widget management application.
  • Customizable rich media player and a playlist extension.
  • Customizable wizard, enabling end users to easily upload and import media from various sources using a single interface.
  • An editor that allows users to create remixes from images, audio and video files; Easy to use UI and customizable skin and locale.
  • Kaltura Advanced Editor which is a full featured video editor to create remixes from images, audio and video files on timeline-based editing.

CE is multi-platform and runs on Linux, Windows, Mac and will soon be available on most cloud computing platforms, Kaltura says.

The full source code is available at the Kaltura website for download now.

If want more info on this you can still get Kaltura at booth 207 at OSCON 2009, which runs until Friday.