Even before Google stepped in and bought it out, YouTube was the King Kong of video-sharing sites. Its success has spawned an impressive number of rivals – some merely clones, others offering unique twists. And while you may have a deep affection for YouTube, there are better-looking alternatives elsewhere.

We looked at 50 online video-sharing services before settling on the 10 we've covered here (click here for the full list of sites, links and comparisons). We also looked at the business end of things: is there any shared advertising revenue to be earned, and what's the potential audience of each site?

We looked at how easy it was to upload clips, the design of the embedded player, privacy and sharing options and other noteworthy features.

Quick links

The only video format supported across the board was QuickTime. Few sites limit clip length or the number of videos you can upload, but many restrict file size to 100MB.

For quality, our top choice was Blip.tv. It permits users to stream and download the original high-quality file - it also offers video that's ideal for iPod and mobile playback. Stage6's DivX compression gets high marks too.

Most services convert video uploads to good- but not great-looking Flash 8.0 format, which uses the On2 VP6 codec. However, some - notably YouTube - still use the Flash 7.0 format, which relies on the Sorensen Spark codec.

Vimeo also allows users to download (but not stream) the original high-quality file, while DivX Stage6, our second-placed service, lets viewers stream or download the original files - with a couple of small catches.

Not surprisingly, since it's run by the people behind the DivX format, Stage6 requires you to convert video to that format before you upload it. Thankfully, the site links to some free and painless conversion software (Dr DivX). The resulting video quality ranks as the best we saw outside of an original source file.

Next page: wealth, fame and copyright restrictions