Vid.ly offers cloud-powered universal video transcoding for free
In essence, Vid.ly simply lets you upload a raw movie, and await an email notification to tell you that the upload and transcode has been completed. You can watch the process if you like, but other than a progress bar and a cute "console" style log, there isn't much to see. Not only does Vid.ly generate 14 very different versions of your uploaded video, but it also gives you a universal embed code, which serves up the best video format for the end-user. Visit the Vid.ly link in Firefox, and you get an HTML5 Ogg Theora stream -- but if you visit with IE8, you get a Flash video stream. If you're curious, check out our test upload on your desktop and smartphone.
Vid.ly also has the rather neat ability to transfer files that are already in the cloud -- or on FTP dumps -- into the Vid.ly transcoder. There are plans to provide an API, so that you can skip the website entirely -- but that will require the 'pro' version, which isn't currently available.
The best thing about Vid.ly is that it just works -- but considering it's a sister site of the excellent Encoding.com, that shouldn't really come as a surprise. What you're looking at here is possibly the most useful application of cloud processing power yet, and judging by the interview at hacks.mozilla.org with Encoding.com's president, there's a lot of cool things still to come.