Great ways to share your videos

If you've recorded a lot of videos, chances are good that you'd like to share them with other people. Fortunately, you've got lots of options using Windows Live and a PC running Windows Vista.

You can burn your videos to DVD if you want to share with a few friends or family members, or you can upload videos to different video sharing websites to share them with the world. There are other options for sharing videos with friends and family, too, such as by using Windows Live SkyDrive, email, or instant messaging. And if you want to be able to watch your videos on different computers and devices at home, there are ways to do that, too. Windows Vista and Windows Live provide many options, so you can choose the ways that work best for you. Get started by learning more about each of your choices.

Here are some different ways that you can share your videos today.

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Create a DVD‑Video disc

One popular way to share videos is to copy them to a DVD-Video disc that DVD players can play. This option works well if you want your family and friends to be able to watch your videos on TV using a regular DVD player or on a computer (using software that can play DVDs). If your family and friends don't live nearby, you can send them the DVD in the mail.

If your computer is running Windows Vista Home Premium or Windows Vista Ultimate, you can use Windows DVD Maker to burn your videos to a DVD-Video disc. For more information about burning videos to a DVD-Video disc using Windows DVD Maker, see Burn a DVD-Video disc.

If you don't have Windows DVD Maker or you need more advanced features, such as creating chapters or customizing menus on the DVD, you can choose to use other DVD-burning software. You can search for DVD-burning software by going to the Windows Vista Compatibility Center website and searching for "burn DVD."

For information about playing DVD-Video discs on your computer, see Overview: Playing videos and DVDs.

Burn a data DVD or CD

If it's not important to play your video on a TV, you can burn your video to a data DVD or data CD instead. These types of discs are a bit easier to create than DVD-Video discs. However, videos on most data DVDs and CDs only play on computers.

For information about burning a data DVD or data CD using different features that come with Windows Vista, see the following topics. Each feature offers different benefits, but all of them will help you accomplish similar tasks.

You can also burn your favorite videos to a data DVD or CD using Windows Photo Gallery or Windows Live Photo Gallery. Windows Photo Gallery is in Windows Vista. Windows Live Photo Gallery is part of Windows Live Essentials, which you can download for free from the Windows Live Essentials website.

Upload to a video sharing website

Another popular way to share videos today is to post them on a video sharing website, such as on YouTube.

This is a good option if you and the people you want to share with have fast broadband connections that improve the experience of watching videos over the Internet (compared to a slower dial-up connection). Sharing your videos on a video sharing website is a good option if you don't want to spend time creating and mailing a bunch of DVDs or CDs.

For example, after you've uploaded your video, you can send a link to the videos to your friends in email, and they can watch your video in their web browser. The video is stored on the video sharing website and other people can link to your video too if they want. If you're concerned about your privacy, check to see if the site allows you to choose who can or can't view your videos.

If you download and install Windows Live Movie Maker, you can use it to publish your movie directly to YouTube. You can also download and install other publishing plug-ins that let you publish your videos on other popular video sharing or social networking websites directly through Windows Live Movie Maker. Windows Live Movie Maker is a part of Windows Live Essentials, which you can download for free from the Windows Live Essentials website.

Share online using Windows Live SkyDrive

With a Windows Live ID, you can share your videos online with friends and family using Windows Live SkyDrive. You can upload your videos to Windows Live SkyDrive, and then send a link to video to your friends and family in an email message. Because you can set the permissions on your SkyDrive folders, you can determine who can watch your videos or access any other files in that folder. Friends and family can then download the video and watch it on their computer. Using SkyDrive means you won't fill up your friends and family's email inboxes with large attachments, and they can watch your videos anytime they're online. To get started using SkyDrive, go to the Windows Live SkyDrive website.

The Windows Live‌ SkyDrive home page
The Windows Live ‌ SkyDrive home page

Send as an email attachment

You can also attach a video file to an email message, and then send that email message to your friends and family. The recipients can open the message, and then download and play the attached video file in a media player on their computer.

Sharing videos in email works great for smaller videos, such as short video clips you might have recorded with your digital camera or mobile phone. Some email providers place a file size limit on email attachments, so make sure that the video file doesn't exceed that limit. Check the documentation for your email provider to learn more about file size limits for email attachments.

You can automatically attach a video to an email message by choosing the Email option when publishing a video in Windows Movie Maker. For more information about publishing a video in Windows Movie Maker, see Publish a movie in Windows Movie Maker.

You can also manually attach videos to email messages using different email programs, including Windows Mail (which is included in Windows Vista), Windows Live Mail (which is part of Windows Live Essentials), and Windows Live Hotmail on the web.

The recipient of the email message can open the email message, and then download and play the attached video file in a media player on their computer. For information about playing videos on your computer, see Overview: Playing videos and DVDs.

Attach to an instant message

Similar to sending a video in an email message, you can also send a small video file in an instant message. As with email, this works well for small video files that you might record using your digital camera or mobile phone. To send a video in an instant message, open your instant message program, start a conversation with someone, and then attach and send the video file like you would any other type of file. Similar to sending a video file as an attachment to an email message, check for any file size limits that might exist when sending attachments using your instant message program.

There are many instant message programs that you can use today to send videos in instant messages—including Windows Live Messenger, which is also part of Windows Live Essentials.

The person who you are instant messaging with can then download the video file and watch it in a media player on their computer. For information about playing videos in Windows Vista, see Overview: Playing videos and DVDs.

Copy to a flash memory card or USB flash drive

If you're going to see the people you want to share with in person, you might want to copy your videos to a flash memory card or USB flash drive. To copy your video files to the flash memory card or USB flash drive, insert the memory card into a compatible memory card reader (or insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on your computer), and then copy the video files to the flash memory card or drive. For more about copying files or folders, see Copy a file or folder.

A USB flash drive
Copy videos to a USB flash drive

To play the video, bring the flash memory card or USB flash drive to your friends and family, insert the flash memory card into a compatible flash memory card reader (or insert the USB flash drive into a USB port on their computer), and then play the video file. For more information about playing videos in Windows Vista, see Overview: Playing videos and DVDs.

Share over a home network

In addition to sharing videos with people around the world, you can use Windows Vista and a variety of devices to share and stream videos to computers and devices in your home over your home network.

To get started learning about home networking, see Home networking: recommended links.

If you've already got your home network set up, you can get started learning more about sharing and playing video files over it by reading these topics:

You can also share your videos and other files over your home network if you have a computer that's running Windows Home Server. Windows Home Server lets you share your videos (and other digital media files) with other computers and devices on your home network. To learn more about Windows Home Server, go to the Windows Home Server website.