Vimeo nixes HD embed play limits, side business

Vimeo has gotten rid of one of its business services that charged users for high-definition playback on videos that had been embedded off its site. The company is now offering it free of charge.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
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Vimeo, one of the first providers of high-definition video on the Web, has done away with a limitation that had its users paying to place an HD version of their video on external sites.

The business centered on charging its members for a certain number of HD plays on external Web sites, which ran anywhere from $9.95 for 1,000 plays, all the way to $199.95 for 100,000 plays.

In cases where a user ran out of plays, Vimeo would still let viewers watch the video in HD, though they'd have to come back to the video's page on Vimeo.com, where the company could place ads.

The limits were there largely to cover the cost of bandwidth. For 720p videos, this was somewhere in the ballpark of 1.6 megabits per second, making a three-minute video take up around 36MB in bandwidth--no small feat when you multiply that to a video that's getting a few hundred thousand plays. For something like 1080p video, which the company introduced earlier this year, that number could go up dramatically.

Vimeo says that users who had already purchased credits for these plays within the last 30 days are getting their money back.

Alongside the removal of the HD embedding limitations, Vimeo also rolled out its global settings feature, which CNET previewed last week.

Vimeo's global settings
Vimeo's new global settings pane lets users adjust options just once to have them carried over to both existing videos and future uploads.