Video Accelerator (for Youtube) from SpeedBit – the makers of Download Accelerator Plus has become nothing short of a sensation. It has been downloaded a million times in 49 days. Video Accelerator promises to fix one problem that many users face on websites like Youtube – videos getting stuck due to slow loading. This is a problem that even users with relatively fast internet connection are confronted with.
How Does It Work ?
Video Accelerator enables smooth playback of streaming media by ensuring the the total bandwidth provided by your ISP is used efficiently. Normally, your browser establishes a single connection with the content provider and downloads the media file linearly. In this process the content is often downloaded at a much slower rate than your connections maximum transfer rate. Hence you experience buffering problems even when the bit-rate of the video is lesser than your internet connection speed. Video accelerator on the other hand uses a complex algorithm to split the media file into multiple segments and establishes multiple connections with the content provider. It downloads all the parts simultaneously, thus ensuring efficient usage of the bandwidth available to you. Once, downloaded it reassembles these chunks and sends it to your browser. This is very similar to how Download Managers work.
The Business Model
Video Accelerator is backed by Pitango venture capital and Yossi Vardi, the founding investor of ICQ and managed by Ariel Yarnitky the former general manager of ICQ.
Video Accelerator offers two version of Video Accelerator – Free and Premium. The Free version works with Youtube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, and Grouper. The Premium version additionally works with iTunes. Support for Amazon Unbox, WalMart Video Download Service, Myspace, Fox News, ESPN is expected soon.
Additionally the Free version comes bundled with Ask.com toolbar. However, users have the option of not installing it.
Installing and setting up the software was very easy. It quietly sits in the system tray (without consuming any CPU resource), and springs into action as soon as you start streaming video from any of the supported services.
The software did what it promised to do for me. For the first time I enjoyed pause free video playback. Since, it directly intercepts all connections made with these video sharing websites, it is independent of the choice of browser and worked with all browsers I tried.
Apart from speeding up video download it also allows you to search for videos on multiple websites. Video Accelerator also has a History feature. Interestingly enough Fileratings website has a Most Viewed Videos section. I am interested in knowing if SpeedBit is collecting this data from Video Accelerator users.
It does have some issues though. As soon as it is started it makes hundreds of connections (I checked the ip addresses it established connections with, they belong to various video sharing websites and content deliverer like limelightnetworks). With Kaspersky Internet Security running in the background this caused a noticeable reduction in system performance and chocked my connection. I even got a BSOD once when I tried to run it with KIS active. Disabling KIS however solved all these problems. I was told by their support that Video Accelerator is currently not compatible with KIS. Based on user feedback I read at various places, it does seem to have quite a few compatibility problems. It’s still early days for this software and I am sure all of these problems would be fixed in the future.
Overall, I am impressed with this software. Speedbit took the technology used by download managers and adapted it for streaming video. I would like to see it supporting more services in future especially Veoh and Joost.
Download Speedbit Video Accelerator (1.16 MB)
Requirements : Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 (Vista Support coming Soon).
Services Supported : Youtube, Dailymotion, Metacafe, Grouper and iTunes (premium only)
Version Reviewed : 126.96.36.199 (Freeware)
Cost : Premium version with iTunes support costs $4.90 per month or $49.90 if you choose to make a yearly payment. Freeware version is available.