How to embed a video into a SharePoint page and where to host it

A very common requirement by content editors in SharePoint is to embed and play a video directly into SharePoint pages. The options available can vary depending on what version of SharePoint you are using and also what kind of browsers your users have (including whether they support Flash, Silverlight or HTML 5).

There are also decisions to make on where to store the video. Do you want to store it in a document library, YouTube or using some form of specialized video delivery network.

Where to store the video ?

Small “low view” videos

If you have a few smaller videos that will be viewed relatively infrequently, store them in a SharePoint document library. You can then use a Flash player, Silverlight Media Player or even HTML 5.0 to play the video. All 3 of these don’t really care where the video comes from, their main issue is what format the video is stored in.

Nowadays, if you believe the rumours, Silverlight is on it’s way out and is less likely to be installed in your users browsers, (especially if you have SharePoint 2007). If you have SharePoint 2010 then it’s much more likely that the Silverlight Media Player will work fine. Silverlight also supports many different formats of video (e.g. MPG4, WMV). One issue, if you are using SharePoint Foundation (or 2007) you cannot use the Silverlight Media Player as it’s only available on SharePoint 2010 Server. For a great FAQ on the Silverlight Media Web Part check-out Sanjays article.

Flash, however, is more likely to be everywhere so there’s the option to play Flash videos but there’s no out of the box web part. You can easily embed the flash using a content editor web part, or you could use something like the ‘SharePoint Video Player‘ which allows you to store the videos in a video library.

Sometimes (even for small videos) the simplest approach is to store the video on YouTube and use some HTML to embed the Iframe. Alternatively, you can download the free YouTube Web Part which makes the process of embedding the video into a page easier.

Large “High Watch”, but one-off Videos

If you are intending to stream larger videos concurrently, keep them out of SharePoint. The size of the video and the transmission to the user will quickly degrade your performance and also eat up all of your expensive SharePoint database space. You could store them on disk (within your network) which would be cheaper and faster. However, you will lose the ability to version and publish using SharePoint document management features. (This may not be a big deal in reality).

Another alternative, if you don’t mind your videos being publicly available, is to store them on YouTube or Vimeo. Both services support common video formats and many different browsers. They also allow you to edit, publish and view analytics about who watched the videos. There are some differences between both services, such as Vimeo wont allow commercial videos. For more information on the differences, check out “Vimeo vs YouTube“.

Many videos, many formats, many devices – video is a big deal!

If you want the video to be accessible outside of SharePoint, to a closed list, support multiple devices, multiple formats and have a pre-built player that integrates straight into SharePoint (as web parts and configuration pages), then consider looking at these video hosting companies. (They do charge for the service) :

I hope this post goes some way to helping you make the right choice when it comes to video in SharePoint. If I have missed any providers, options, please leave a comment.

How to embed the video?

Assuming you want to go with an option such as YouTube (or Vimeo) then please read ‘How to add a video to a SharePoint page in 5 steps‘ which explains how to embed it.