Partly it's the result of seemingly increasing issues like this one, pointed out by Torley Linden, slashdot and many others, especially the tech geek perfectionist (well, perhaps just adequateist) denizens of YouTube. Partly it's the low profile of any video on YouTube that does not involve suggestions of nudity or dismemberment.
Whatever the real reasons might be, I've been thinking about giving up YouTube or at least finding a main place for uploads that doesn't destroy quality so consistently and further fuel my own sense of hopelessness and learned powerlessness. Maybe I should be thinking of the same things where Second Life is concerned, but in Second Life's favor, at least there is an active and engaged user base that share knowledge in many different ways and forms.
Here's a Vimeo widget -- and it seems to have worked quite well on first attempt. It has certainly been far better than my usual zero-feedback experience with YouTube. Given the vast number of uploaders and watchers of YouTube it is reasonable to expect that they would make direct contact and support a very low priority, and put their efforts instead towards making the upload process fairly simple and foolproof in at least the broadest terms, meaning, "Yes, your video uploaded. It looks like crap? Well that's probably because it is crap." A one-size-fits-all answer will cover a multitude of sins, and YouTube is all about the eyeballs. It's not that reasonable to expect it to operate differently and still support the massive traffic load and bandwidth that it does sustain. Both of the videos presently available in this viewer are also available in some form on YouTube. That's likely to remain the case, as there's really no point in taking them down from YouTube.
Please note: as with YouTube's blog widgets, the best quality rendering is available if you click through to the vimeo.com site rather than view directly from the widget. At the same time, the quality of the view here in the widget is at least as good and likely a good deal more clean than even the best quality rendering that YouTube presently supports.
These will be my follow on notes about this site (Vimeo). So far I'm favorably impressed. The user community there is a lot more focussed and able to communicate than many others I've seen. The quality of some videos is incredible. Then again, the site does seem to attract a fair number of people who shoot film and video for a living.