Telly vs. Viddy: The Battle for the Instagram of Video

It’s well known that visual media is extremely popular online and this is especially true when it comes to social media. While it’s cool to read about what someone is doing, it’s even cooler to see a picture of it. This is why photo sharing has been such a huge hit recently. Instagram was already the hot topic in social before it was even acquired by Facebook. So where can you go next?

Many believe the next logical step after pictures is moving pictures and there are a few Android apps vying to make that market pop such as Telly and Viddy. There are a number of other contenders, but these two are almost blatantly trying to give their users that Instagram appeal. From the layout of the interface to the availability of fancy video filters, Telly and Viddy are definitely going head-to-head, and we’ll be following them with a thorough comparison.

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When I first started writing this post, Telly and Viddy’s comparison was a one-sided battle. They shared minimal similarities and Telly lacked many of the features to make it a real contender against Viddy. However, Telly received an update on Christmas Eve which brought a complete overhaul to the user interface and features available. I was pleasantly surprised and you may be too.

Interface and Features

Both apps are pretty similar as far as the interface goes. You have a stream of videos which you can filter by various categories. Telly keeps things pretty basic here, providing a main feed of people you follow and an option to view popular videos. Viddy provides further breakdowns for the main categories. The Hot videos are broken down into Popular, Trending, and Newest. The Home category is broken down into videos from those you’re Following, Featured, and those you’ve Liked.

Main Video Stream: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Main Video Stream: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Speaking of liking videos, you can like and comment on videos in both apps right from the feed as you scroll. Your basic share options are also included in both apps. While Viddy gives you just a generic share button, Telly highlights sharing these videos to Facebook and Twitter in addition to a generic share button. Viddy provides the additional option to view how a video has been tagged and also to add tags to video. Tags can refer the Things, People (other Viddy users), and Places (which can only be set at the time the video is created).

Viddy's Video Tags

Viddy’s Video Tags

Playing Videos

Where we start to see more major differences is in how videos are actually played and handled by each app. Viddy actually limits you to videos of 15 seconds in length, making the content easier and quicker to consume. There are a few other design choices in Viddy which facilitate browsing and watching a lot of videos:

  1. Viddy plays your videos directly in your stream. There is no separate popup or layer.
  2. You cannot view the videos full screen.
  3. There are no player controls. You simply tap the video to play or pause/stop.

By contrast, Telly allows you to post videos of seemingly any length — it even includes content directly from YouTube. When you press Play, the video pops up in a new layer where you are able to see a detailed description along with the ability to scroll through the video and blow it up to full screen by hitting a button or rotating your device.

Playing Videos: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Playing Videos: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Posting Videos

The process of posting videos is pretty much identical between these two services, and both are also eerily similar to posting photos on Instagram. The screenshots below show how you can apply visual filters when posting your video, much as you would do on Instagram. Viddy lets you choose your filter after you’ve recorded your video, while Telly lets you see the filters in real time while recording it.

Video Filters: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Video Filters: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

One piece of the puzzle I hadn’t even considered when thinking about the Instagram of video was the audio aspect. I’m sure you’ve seen your share of videos which had random and unnecessary background noise. Both Telly and Viddy avoid this issue by allowing you to apply a soundtrack to your video. After recording, you simply choose from a limited selection of tracks to go along with your visuals.

Adding a Music Soundtrack: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Adding a Music Soundtrack: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

The final step in posting your creation is providing a title and choosing where to share the video to. Again, we see some major similarities here, but Viddy steps it up a bit with a few extra options. You can not only post to Facebook and Twitter, but also share to Tumblr and YouTube. You can also set more detailed privacy options on the Viddy side.

Posting Options: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Posting Options: Viddy (left), Telly (right).

Available Content

It doesn’t really matter how awesome an interface you have or how slick your app runs, it can’t be social without people — Instagram didn’t become popular solely because people were sharing photos of art and landscapes. This is one area where Viddy really sets itself apart and the difference in content between both apps is pretty striking.

On Viddy, it’s almost like the early days of YouTube, with people mostly posting videos of themselves doing stuff. You can find everything from daring feats and singing to dancing and telling jokes. There is even your average status update here and there depending on who you follow. Viddy even has a large number of celebrities using it, which gives you a unique window into their lives.

With Telly, things just don’t feel as personal. I think this is partially because Telly allows posting of videos from external sources like YouTube. Rather than seeing and interacting with people, it seems more like your average social network where people are simply posting videos they’ve found online.


Even with Telly’s recent big update, I have to give the upper hand to Viddy. As I’ve played with the two, I noticed that I pay much more attention to Viddy because it’s more captivating to see real people trying to be interesting for 15 seconds. The community there also seems much more vibrant and engaging, while still growing and evolving. By comparison, Telly just doesn’t feel as personally social and is simply not as fun to be on. Of course, this niche is changing almost daily, so Telly still has time to pivot and become more unique.

While my personal pick is Viddy, Telly seems to have just about as many active users, so you might find your foot there. Let us know in the comments if you’ve joined the social video movement, and whether you picked one of these services or other alternatives.