Comparison of Steaming Video Server, Vimeo, and Panopto

The page provides examples of the various ways that I have distributed my videos and my experimenting.

Rick's Video Management System diagram. This diagram attempts to portray what I am seeking with video distribution.

Vimeo - My current video server system

Vimeo offers several ways to provide videos on the Internet. I show these below, using my "Install Moodle PC Sandbox video" as an example (captioned in English and Spanish.)

  1. Copy video link (this is Vimeo's default link,
  2. Copy review page link (
  3. Copy download link (
  4. Copy embed code (only the URL part of this code,
  5. Play the video for download links (1080x720,

I will discuss each of these. Each provides some unique features. Vimeo doesn't offer a player that provides everything, so picking a method always has some trade-offs.

Current Method on a Resources Web Page

I am currently using the "Copy review page link" URL for my courses. Clicking on the graphic or the name takes you to this same URL place.

Button to play video titled "Videos, Videos, and Videos" Install Moodle on a Sandbox - PC (11 minutes.)

However, I am thinking about switching to something like this. The play/download button uses #1, and allows the video to be downloaded at different sizes, and it allows subtitles to be downloaded. The "link" uses #4, providing speed control and chapters.

Button to play video titled "Videos, Videos, and Videos" Install Moodle on a Sandbox - PC (11 minutes.)

In this example, the Play/Download video button takes you to the Vimeo web page, and it allows the video and/or SRT file to be downloaded. The video name's link provides chapters and speed control, but not downloads. I have put in a feature request to add the download feature to Vimeo's embed code options. Picture-in-picture seems to be a browser feature, supported by Safari and Firefox, but not Chrome.

1. Copy video link

This method gives the full Vimeo website presentation for this video. I use this link when I want to share videos with the world. In my courses, I find that this is too much for the student, and that I do not need the "Vimeo" company name prominent.

This link, when entered into the Video tool for Moodle or Insert Media tool in Canvas, seems to be converted to the embed code presentation. I don't understand why, but this is pretty good. However, there is no easy ability for the student to "download" the video. Also, a "thumbnail" view of the video is provided, which has both positive and negative results (students see what it is, but it takes more space.) With this method, in Moodle and Canvas, I find myself manually adding a download link for students.

Using this Copy video link in a standard web page provides a hyperlink, as shown above.

2. Copy review page link

This is an interesting video presentation. It provides a pretty clean webpage for the video, without surrounding stuff that you get in #1. This is why I like it. Also, students have an easy ability to download the video, which I like. However, this method does not support "chapters." I have asked for this feature from Vimeo. This method also does not support speed and quality controls.

3. Copy download link

This method presents only the video for downloading. The Download button provides a variety of resolutions, good when download speed is slow or when filesize is an issue (for some mobile devices.) This method I use when using method #1 within Moodle and Canvas.

4. Copy embed code

The "code" is as follows:

<iframe src="" width="640" height="427" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Notice that this is iframe code. Depending upon where you use this iframe, your system may or may not support it. Of course, this web page, created using Dreamweaver, supports the iframe.

Here is what this looks like on this web page:


What I have discovered is that there is another (secret) method of providing a video, which is using only the URL portion of this embed code. When this is done, you get most of the features of the embed code (less download ability.) So, this method might be a competing method to #2. Which is more important, the easy ability for students to download a video, or "chapters." At this point, I am not sure. I am considering switching to this method. If students want to download the video, they could display the source code, copy the video URL, and paste it into another browser window, which takes them to Method #1. For whatever reason, Vimeo hides the "Picture in Picture" button until you click the Play button. This picture-in-picture feature is important, as it puts the video into its own movable and sizeable window.

Here is what I mean:

Use Embed Code URL

5. Play the video for download links

This method presents the video, and you can right-click on the video to download it. This method is very similar to how I provide videos on my server, or how I provided videos on the UIowa Streaming Server. You do not get captions, speed control, or most other Vimeo video-playing features. I am not sure when I would use this method over method #3, except that it does provide a right-click-download common feature.

Other Notes about Vimeo

Advantages: Overall, I find Vimeo to be very good. It can present students with a clean web page with the video, supports captions, chapters, picture-in-picture, provides easy downloading of the video, the download filename is correct, works on mobile devices (with and without the Vimeo mobile player), a version history is kept, easy replacement of either the video or captions, easy uploading and managment of videos on Vimeo, videos play fairly quickly, there are minimal "server" problems, and support is good. I like having Embed presets for overall player consistency.

  • With the UIowa Streaming Server, I had to use the VPN to connect, then navigate to my videos directory, and use Filer to move the video. With Vimeo, open Vimeo in my browser, it keeps me logged in, I click on the sub-folder, and then drag & drop my video into it. Vimeo seems a little faster, and no VPN required, with was nusance on my Mac.
  • The Chapter feature in Vimeo is really nice.
  • The picture-in-picture feature is very nice.
  • Replacing, and managing both videos and SRT files is better with Vimeo. I no longer need closed-caption (_CC) duplicate videos. I don't need to keep SRT files on my website, either.
  • Vimeo is quite reliable.
  • By paying for my own Vimeo video server, I never have to worry about what videos I put on it.

So far, I like Vimeo better than Panopto, and much better than Kaltura.


  1. Cannot podcast.
  2. I desire a "download" icon in the embedded player. If I had this feature, I would only need one video player. So far, only fully public videos provide this.

Thumbnail: Best thumbnail is from Premiere, exported png, no alpha. This provides the best quality, and it matches the videos first frame.

In the future, it would be nice to get this down to one button or link instead of four.

Button to play video titled "Videos, Videos, and Videos" Videos, Videos, Videos (11 minutes.) Button to download transcript SRT file Videos-Videos-Videos. Download.

Vimeo Settings and Distribution Notes

I have three kinds of videos: Public, Lectures, and Copyrighted. Settings are slightly different for these.

General: Privacy

Who can watch? = People with the private link. This makes videos "private" on Vimeo. This private link is the link in #1.

Where can this this be embedded = Anywhere. For copyrighted videos, use Specific domains (rjerz)

Who can comment: No one

Embed: present = rjPreset

Controls: All on

Actions: None on. Public videos: All on. Lectures: Like, Watch Later. Copyrighted: None on.

Interactive tools:

Use Chapters, where appropriate.


Use subtitles, where appropriate.

No Creative Commons License

People can: Download, Add to collections


UIowa Adobe Streaming Video Server - No longer available as of 1/2020
this is the beginning of a URL, + folder + video filename.

Note: The university streaming server was turned off in December, 2019. So links to videos that were once on it will not work.

Below is a simulation of how this URL worked (the videos are on my server.)

URL: BA_Introduction.mp4,

URL: BA_Introduction.mp4, (Captioned)

Advantages: Downloads maintain exact size and name. Able to podcast. Video management is easy, including easy replace. Easy to upload and replace videos. URL contains a recognizable video name.

Disadvantages: Just a little quirky at times. I had to log in with the VPN.


Example of video link that uses "Panopto Web Viewer."

This provides speed controls.

Example of "View Podcast" link.

This is very similar to what one sees with my own server or the UIowa Streaming Server.

This is an example of "Embed Code" added to a web page, in Dreamweaver.


Advantages: It is free to UIowa instructors. Compared to Vimeo, Panopto offers a 10-sec rewind tool, some flexibility to where captions display, and the ability to show captions on the side.

Disadvantages: It does not present the video in a clean web page; it always wraps it with Panopto margins. URL is not obvious. Panopto doesn't provide a download of the original. It always appears to transcode videos. Replacing video is not obvious. Downloaded videos do not take on the video file name. On embed code, puts a "Powered by Panopto" watermark on the video. Cannot edit/replace the caption SRT file. Compared to Vimeo, there appears to be no picture-in-picture feature or full sizing control.

Problem: Captions show, but I don't see where to pick the language.

Rick's Server
this is the beginning of a URL, + folder + video filename.


URL: BA_Introduction.mp4,

URL: BA_Introduction.mp4, (Captioned)

Advantages: Same as UIowa Video Server. Can FTP, which is more convenient. Did not need to log into VPN.

Disadvantages: I am not sure what effect this has on my Moodle server's performance.


UIowa: Cannot download. Cannot replace. Cannot present in a clean web page.

Kaltura used to provide a nice ".mp4" link, but no longer does.

I am not sure where Kaltura is going to fit into UIowa's video platforms. Maybe there is some benefit with Canvas.

Other Video Servers to Investigate

Techsmith Relay



Rick's Flash Player - Ended around 2016

I created a custom Flash player to deliver my videos because there were no other good alternatives at the time.

Experimental Flash Player

Old Flash Player

Test new multimedia player


Older Videos Distribution Methods


This example illustrates using a "ram" file to stream RealMedia. You need a Realmedia player to play these. I no longer produce Realmedia videos because I find that Flash and podcasts are more prevalent.

Realmedia Streaming, Realmedia Download

First "Lecture" Video. I produced this video for my MBA670 course, in 2002, when I decided to try a one-week "electronic" week. This was originally an "avi" file, and now has been converted to an "mp4" file.

Sharestream (UIowa)

I never used this server because it did not provide the ability to replace videos, which was a necessary feature.


My first copy of Adobe Premiere, version 5.1, I purchased in (March) 1999. By 2000, I was using Premiere to create lecture videos. I have yet to locate my first Premiere-produced video, but I believe this was for my CAD course.


Moodle 2.1 on Jing

This is the same video from above but provided on Jing.