While Streaming Media West last week, I checked a few new offerings of streaming live Livestream and Ustream. This post focuses on Livesteam, I'll discuss the new features of Ustream then.
Livestream has evolved considerably over the past years. Originally known as Mogulus, Livestream renamed itself in 2009 to their current, more memorable name. Earlier this year, the Livestream took another step in evolution with the release of what he calls the new Livestream. The big difference between the old (or original) and novelty is the development went from the concept of pages 'channel' in what they call 'events' pages. Pages of the canal were similar to TV channels, a producer may deliver any number of events over time on the same channel. Even if we can create several channel pages, many producers would set up a channel and call it a day.
The new event Livestream page switches focus to a particular regular event. The idea being, each event has its own URL that lives as archive once that the completed event. Event pages are also much more dynamic than the pages of canal in what producers and viewers can send text, photos and videos updates than flow to the bottom of the page in a familiar format of timeline. The main video event, whether live or archived, still lives at the top.
Another excellent feature that you will find with new Livestream, DVR functionality is built directly into the direct drive. If you look at the screencap above, write it down< dvr="" icon="" in="" the="" lower="" right="" corner.="" clicking="" this="" allows="" the="" viewer="" to="" rewind="" to="" any="" point="" in="" a="" live="" broadcast.="" missed="" the="" first="" 5="" minutes="" of="" a="" keynote?="" no="" problem,="" just="" scrub="" the="" slider="" back="" 5="" minutes="" and="" you’re="" watching="" it="" from="" the="" beginning="" before="" the="" talk="" has="">
Pricing has also changed with new Livestream. Is no longer broadcasting without advertising is based on the number of Viewer hours. You can now use the new totally free Livestream, without ads inserted into your content and for unlimited amounts of time in HD. It's a pretty sweet deal. Anyone who has ever watched any amount of streaming knows how annoying and irrelevant video pre-roll and mid-roll ad ads are. Warning with free, your viewers are required to register with Livestream (also free) before watching. For $49 / month they do away with this requirement, as well as give you unlimited archiving and Google Analytics integration. For $399 / month, you can embed your channel event on your own site. This may seem steep, but it is not out of proportion to what was once old Livestream cost without advertising of viewing with a viewer hour Cap 3000. No maximum limit number of viewers on the Livestream again.
The other nice to subject the new Livestream thing is a seamless integration with their product diffuser Livestream. This iconic feature of camera-top red, created in partnership with Teradek, allows a producer to encode and broadcast directly on their event page without needing a computer. If you make a single camera shooting with a HDMI compatible camera, this is a pretty sweet to go way. The broadcaster may broadcast via ethernet, wifi or a single 4G cellular modem. Just select the profile of bitrate you want on the menu of the user interface, and you're ready to go.
The most recent and probably coolest thing Livestream that has added to their aresenal is the Livestream Studio HD500 production switcher. If you have already used a Newtek TriCaster before, you will be familiar with what this box. It is essentially a portable device, five SDI input, HD, digital mixer and encoder. It is placed to compete nicely with Newtek TriCaster 450. The material of the HD500 is your base Intel Quad Core i7 processor based machine Windows 7 with a video capture card Blackmagic Design DeckLink Quad and LCD screen built into a luggable design. It does most of what you would expect from a Tricaster; transitions, DVR playback, stills, titles, lower thirds and assignable audio sources. The piece of coding and streaming is managed by integrated Procaster software of the Livestream, with the support of Multi-bitrate streams.
Max Haot, CEO of Livestream, told me that they would be releasing a single version of the HD500 to the first quarter of 2013. I asked Max that is the impetus for this and he replied that they wanted to do this enter into as many hands as possible. The version of the software will be free for use with Livestream and a unlocked paid version will also be available which can be used with any provider or the CDN streaming.
Inspired by Apple, Livestream is clearly moving towards an ecosystem approach, possess each critical piece of the live streaming experience. At the same time, they require that a producer use their software or hardware, it can certainly relieves pain while maximizing the gain.