Ustream.tv: A Groundbreaking Realtime Audio/Video/Chat Site
I recently learned of a website called Ustream.tv and was quite amazed at how easy it is to produce free live video and sound streams online, and have people participate in a text chat session, right from a browser with no special logins or passwords. I first learned about Ustream.tv from Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central (I highly recommend his podcast if you are interested in tech-related news and/or space and NASA related news). According to Cochrane, he learned about Ustream.tv from Chris Pirillo, who runs Lockergnome, Gnomedex and a few other tech-related sites. It’s important to note that I was just watching the live video and typing in the chat window, but I did not have a video of me running. I’m not sure how well two-way (or more) audio/video chats can occur.
Leo Laporte enjoys spaghetti soup just before starting a new hour on his live radio show. (Source: Screen shot of a Ustream.tv live stream from chris.pirillo.com/live)
Two Ustream.tv streams open and running at the same time (the chat windows kept appearing and disappearing during the streams. Clicking in the area where they were (under the live videos) brought them back. I was using Camino (1.0b1) for OSX.) The left side shows a live stream with iJustine, which was being shown on the homepage of Ustream.com at the time. Leo Laporte is on the right. (Source: (Left) Screen shot of chris.pirillo.com/live (Right) Screen shot of Tumbleo.com)
A live Ustream.tv stream showing date and time and number of viewers (the most I saw was 572 but it may have gone much higher). Source: Screen shot from Leo Laporte’s tumbleo.com
The possibilities for this technology are many, and I look forward to learning more in the near future. I captured a few screen shots while I was on Chris Pirillo’s “Live Internet Broadcast” page (thanks Rocketboom.com for the link!). Pirillo streamed Leo Laporte’s Ustream feed from his live page, and more than 570 people were on the feed at the same time, though while I was watching, the number quickly dropped a bit after that (see above for three time stamps with the number of people on the stream). I also noticed that with 2 streams running, some audio dropped out every few seconds, and the video also became less “in sync”. I’m not sure if that is common as this was my first Ustream experience. I am on a Mac Powerbook G4 (802.11g) with a Cable Modem, and I get an average of 8000-9000 kbps downstream (according to Speakeasy.net).
Dave Winer, Editor of Scripting News and a pioneer in the blogging and podcasting world has also used the site to stream and mentions that he will use Ustream.tv for an upcoming conference (Mix 07).
During Leo Laporte’s radio show and live stream, someone DUGG it and in 15 minutes, it received 154 DIGGs on digg.com. As of Sunday 4/22 at 12:15am, there were 660 DIGGs (Source: Screen shot of Digg.com).
There are a number of archived streams by Chris Pirillo on this page as well. A few remind me of the Starship Enterprise…aye aye, captain!
An archived video on Ustream.tv with Chris Pirillo in front of some big screens and high-tech flashing lights. (Source: Screen shot of Ustream.tv)
An excellent overview of numerous online audio/video sharing options by Michael Pick of masternewmedia.org.
Todd Cochrane’s Geek News Central