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Tag: Live

Livestream Broadcaster Review

Posted by geeknews at 11:27 PM on June 22, 2012

I received the Livestream Broadcaster several hours ago and have been playing with it since it’s arrival. My initial impressions are mixed so lets start with the basics.

Straight out of the box when you power it up you need to connect it to the Internet to get it sync’d with your Livestream account. I connected the device via its network cable and it connected to Livestream and immediately asked to be updated. This took about 5 minutes (no issues), while I was waiting for it update I upgraded my Livestream basic account to a $45.00 per month “heavily limited” producer account, the first 3 months are free. The $45.00 a month essentially gives you ad free live streaming which you can do cheaper at Amazon, additionally you do not get shareable live stream embed code, and you are completely locked into the Livestream site.

I hate being locked into anything. But this is the restriction and the rules Livestream has in place at this time.

After it updated it presented me a code that I used to sync the device to my account. I did a quick Live Stream using a sony consumer camera I had lying around in the office, you can view the short video here. Once the stream is completed you can get a embed to put on a website but sadly it is not mobile ready.

I did nothing more than film the device in action and it worked as advertised. Knowing this device has been designed for portable use. I disconnected the device from the Lan cable and restarted it after I had plugged in my Sprint 3G/4G card. The device detected the Sprint wireless card but refused to ever connect to Sprint.

Strike 1 – The Livestream Broadcaster device will not connect to a Sprint U301 3G/4G usb Wireless Card to the Network!

I switched it to scan for wireless WiFi networks it found the 3 networks in my home, after entering in my password it connected to the wireless network with no issue. Every time it connects to the network is syncs with Livestream and through the menu system you can start a stream real easy.

Strike 2 – Every time you turn the device off, it does not save the password you entered for your WiFi network? Thus requiring you to manually enter it each time. This is a total fail and they will need to fix this. Be sure to keep your passwords short and 1-9 , abc as it takes a long time to key in letters in the middle of the alphabet.

Through the system menu on the device you can look at scheduled events that you have setup already online, you can set the stream quality, set the HDMI format from 480i, 576i720p 50, 720p 59.84, 720p 60. 1080i 50, 1080i 59.94, 1080i 60, 1080p 30. It auto-detects aspect ratio or you can set it to 4:3 or 16:9. The Audio menu allows to select HDMI, Line in or None and you can choose to have Stereo or Mono. The device also has a Auto resume feature which is real nice.

The menu system is really actually very good, and easy to navigate. Nothing compared to the Cerevo Liveshell device that I also have which online menu is a pain.

Minus the tech issues, this is nearly a perfect solution with “one” huge exception it really drives me crazy in the way that Livestream forces you to create an event before live streaming. You cannot just have a page on Livestream that you can easily send people to. The broadcaster account forces you to send folks to the Livestream site to a unique page with a new URL, for each live event. To me that is really is a deal killer.

I understand their reasoning they are selling a device similar to a cell phone model, the device is likely being sold at a loss, and they know that because they are “forcing” content creators to send their audience to the Livestream site that they are going to build traffic. It would not be so bad if I could have a “dedicated” Livestream landing page, that my live video could be found every time.

I would have paid a $1000.00 for the device plus a monthly fee to have a “dedicated” landing page on Livestream for all of my live shows. The folks at Ustream understand the value of having a dedicated show landing page. Who wants a landing page for a show to change each time you do a show livestream is not catering to serial content creators.

Overall Livestream has some bugs to fix. Wireless card support, Storing WiFi passwords and coming up with some additional producer options. I am very willing to pay for the added features. The question is will Livestream be willing to give up some control and quit forcing content creators into their way of thinking. Only time will tell. Is this device worth $495.00 in its current condition and restrictions I think so because the price point of something similar is much higher.

Google+ Hangouts On Air Impression

Posted by geeknews at 1:03 AM on May 9, 2012

This afternoon my Google+ Hangout On Air account was activated, and I have been doing some testing. Sadly I am slightly discouraged, when you are working with pro gear like the Tricaster you want your video streams to be crystal clear, and your audio to be perfect. With the current hangout interface it is going to be very difficult to obtain the level of quality I am used to.

While it is possible to get good Video quality in a hangout, thus far I have not been able to get the audio to a quality standpoint that I am satisfied with. This is largely due to the Hangout interface taking complete control of my computers audio level control. In my setup I was feeding video from my Tricaster to a Canopus ADVC-300 Analog to Digital converter, and sending digital video via Firewire to the hangout computer. Separately I was feeding a master audio feed from my mixer to the hangout computers mic in port. While this type of video/audio inputs have been effective in the past while streaming to Ustream and other services. The way the Google Hangout interface grabs control of the Audio in line and forces it to 100% causes some distortion.

Audiences will forgive video issues, but you have to have the audio nailed. So over the next couple of days I will engineer up a solution that will work with Hangouts the way I want it to.  Mac producers are in even bigger trouble as the Hangout Interface will not accept a Firewire video INPUT, thus Mac users are stuck with USB interfaced cameras until folks like Wirecast are able to code up a VVD solution.

I did hear that the VidBlaster folks  just released their new update with VVD built into the new build. Unlike Mac users though Windows users can select firewire inputs for their video feeds.

Finally Hangouts Live is not a replacement for getting access to YouTube Live for people like me that do stand alone shows. Our Saturday Morning tech show will likely use Google+ Hangouts On Air on a regular basis from here on out though as it is a group show.

The Eagles Have Landed…in Decorah, Iowa

Posted by Alan at 4:41 PM on April 3, 2012

decorah eagle cam

You may recall that last spring one of the most popular sites on the web was something called “Raptorcam” – also known as the “Decorah Eagle Cam”.  Well, those same eagle mates have been using that same nest each spring and summer to hatch and raise their young and this spring is no different.

The male and and female eagles have returned to their Decorah, Iowa nest and have recently hatched three new young.  Once again they are on 24-7 streaming video and once again they are under the  watchful eye of hundreds of thousands of online viewers.  You can watch them live at uStream or at Decorah Eagle Cam.  You can get more information from the Raptor Resource Project.  The happy family are now the number one most viewed live video of all time.

XBox Turning into Over the Top TV Solution? XBox Live TV Coming…

Posted by J Powers at 12:42 PM on October 5, 2011
Xbox TV partners

Xbox TV partners

I watch over a lot in the Over the Top Television space. Internet TV, IPTV, whatever you want to call it, it’s a great way to get watchable content without having a full cable lineup.

Last week, Steve Ballmer announced their TV initiative over XBox Live. Over 40 providers have signed up for this venture, including Comcast, HBO, BBC, Rodgers on Demand (Canada), Televisa (Mexico), and other countries including Germany and Italy (20 in all). Best part, if you already have an XBox 360, you have the hardware to do this.

“Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” said Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.” – Press Release

Add to conventional TV line-up the on-line video providers like Crackle, YouTube, Zune and more. Then there is audio content from Last.fm and iHeartRadio. Finally, Social networks like Twitter and Facebook to round off the service.

The Game System that Became More

Whereas companies like Roku that integrated smaller games like Angry Birds, XBox won’t have that problem. It’s a game system over a TV content distributor. You can play Gears of War, Tweet about it, then watch a video on how to play Gears of War (or another show).

Unified Dashboard in XBox Live

With the unified dashboard (looking similar to the Zune software), you can browse your shows, play the games, work your social networks and more. You will connect to the Comcast Xfinity service to get all that service has to offer.

Getting Rid of the Remote with Kinect

This might be the best part about the XBox TV. By using voice controls and your Kinect, you can gesture to a channel, play, pause and move on. It might get harry if you have more than one person wanting to watch different shows. Still, could you imagine a world without a remote control?

It won’t all be free, though.

Right now, to get HBO Go, you need to have a cable subscription with HBO. I don’t expect that to change anytime soon – especially with channels like HuluPlus. Of course, that is just like many of the OTT systems out there. Pay for a subscription and get the content.

Once again, there could be conflict if you have multiple family members where one wants to play a game and the other wants to watch a movie. So this might not replace a cable box or DVR just yet.

The Xbox Live TV service is expected to come out before the holiday season. The announcement comes before then so you can plan purchasing an XBox 360 or Kinect system for your loved ones to connect up quick. While the OTT solution is more pricey than a Roku or Apple TV, it does do more than just watch video, view pictures or listen to music. It also has some great game titles. It also has a new way to browse through your content.

Twonky Mobile Server

Posted by tomwiles at 9:50 AM on October 16, 2010

It’s always fun when technology intersects, and it becomes possible to do something cool that was previously not possible and/or was never thought of.

Such is the case with my Sprint HTC Evo smartphone. Sure, it’s a pocket computer. Sure, it has WiFi. As such, sure, it’s a network device with a potential node on my home network.

Rewind. What was that last bit again? My phone is a network device with a potential node on my home network. Let’s see – what can I do with network devices – share resources, share drives and therefore share files.

Enter the free Twonky Server Mobile for Android. Twonky Server Mobile is a free piece of software available in the Android Marketplace that shares audio, video and photos from the phone to UPnP and DLNA certified receiving devices on a home network. This includes software such as Boxee and UBMC among others.

I had a copied a number of videos to my Evo’s 8 media card so I’d have them available to watch if and when I had time. Hummm – with the Evo’s WiFi turned on and connected to my home network, if I ran the Twonky Server Mobile software, would I be able to see Twonky Mobile Server as an available network share with my Western Digital TV Live Plus boxes? If so, how would it work?

I’m happy to report that the free Twonky Mobile Server for Android works flawlessly. Simply start the app and there’s nothing else to do on the phone. Twonky Mobile Server shows up as an available server on the network, and the audio, videos and photos show up and play with UPnP and DLNA certified receiving devices such as WD TV Live Plus boxes.

Twonky also offers a small array of inexpensive server software products that make it possible to easily share audio, video and photo media from your Windows or Mac computer via UPnP and DLNA to certified devices such as Playstation 3, many digital photo frames, many Blu-ray players, and other devices and softwares.

Tech Podcast Broadcast Booth @ CES 2011

Posted by geeknews at 7:48 PM on August 29, 2010

While we are still four months away from CES 2011, the team members from TechPodcasts.com and TechPodcasts.tv have been very busy in planning for the 2011 event. For the first time we will have a broadcast booth on the show floor of the South Hall. Team Member Andy McCaskey worked with the CEA to get the broadcast space. I signed the contract on Friday, and while we have some more details to work out, we will be streaming live for the entire show.

Our 2010 appearance at NBC Universal, and the overwhelming success of those two live events, made us realize that we had to be live for the show in 2011, on top of having teams of folks on the floor as we always do. This is going to allow us to bring you a 24/7 non stop stream of news and information from the show.

There remains a lot of work to do, and we have to work like crazy to get all the sponsors lined up, but it should be a great event. If your company is interested in being a coverage sponsor drop me a line today. The best part is that as we cover the show, the Tricaster TCXD850 will be capturing every segment and we will be publishing that into a special TPN CES channels that will be on both the Roku and Boxee.

Are 30 Second Ads Hurting uStream, Livestream, Justin.tv?

Posted by J Powers at 7:43 PM on August 11, 2010

Ad Dollars

It’s the cost of doing business – advertising pays the bills. However, when you have a live show where someone clicks on – and is ready to move on when they don’t get instant gratification, 30 second ad might make them move on before they even see the show. Is 30 too long and what is the magic number?

But Hulu Does it…

Hulu, of course, has really cornered the market on stream TV. And most people will wait through the ads. Each ad is 30 seconds.

Some of them are longer and give you the option to watch the longer commercial to avoid the commercials at the breaks.  Some of them are only 10-15 second ads, too.

There are 7 commercial spots in a 1-hour TV show on Hulu. It’s network content from NBC, ABC, FOX (and soon CBS on HULU Plus). It’s not live content, so nobody misses a thing (Same thing with YouTube – pre-recorded, so an ad can easily go in without losing content time).

We might even expect and accept network TV ads simply because it is coming from a major network.

Why it doesn’t work on uStream, Justin.tv

Whereas Hulu contains studio productions that can take a pause 7 times a show, uStream and Justin.tv contains live content. Every extra second an ad takes, you lose what is being done or said.

For a person trying to start great content on this system, a 30 second commercial in the foreground could cause loss of viewership. The person, in turn, could just nix the idea and move on simply because it’s harder to get an audience.

Refresh

If the content freezes or if the system crashes, then when you head back to the site, you have to endure another 30 second ad. Would that make people feel the need to come back to the site?

How should they make money?

I’m not talking about taking away the ads – just remember that people will not only leave a show, but also leave a website because they are not entertained.

10-15 seconds ads sound palatable. Add the pop-up ad every now and then – You’ve got a winning combination. Maybe when the show is off-line, content is played with breaks – 15 seconds every 5-10 minutes of content.

Browser Blocker add-ons?

Yes – if you install an add-on blocker in your browser, you could avert those ads. Personally I wouldn’t do that. It is a free service, after all. They need to make money to keep it free.

Pay a Premium?

What if the content producer paid to do their show? Would that in turn be good or bad for companies like uStream?

If the consumer was asked to pay, you might get a few that do it for a while. Most would want to go somewhere else for their content. You can only ask and see what happens.

While sites like uStream, Livestream and Justin.tv need to make money, long ads in front of the videos might not be the answer. Re-thinking the ad sounds like a better idea. break up off-line content -Play an add every 5-10 minutes in a pre-recorded show. Pop-up video ads that are not too invasive. That is what is needed in a live “See it now” environment.

OTT And Paid Content

Posted by tomwiles at 11:41 AM on July 9, 2010

OTT, short for “over-the-top-television” is an up-and-coming acronym that we are all likely going to become familiar with in the near future, provided someone doesn’t come up with a different marketing name. The concept is simple – it’s TV that comes “over the top” of traditional channels on a cable system via the Internet delivered in digital packets. It can either be live streaming video, on-demand streaming video, or in the form of a pre-recorded on-demand podcast.

There are many aspects of over-the-top TV that have yet to be shaken out. Specifically, here in the early stages there are some still-murky areas when it comes to details of how advertising is going to work.

Things that we know about how OTT works successfully so far:

People are willing to pay for bundled on-demand professionally created OTT content in the form of Netflix on-demand streaming of movies, TV shows, and other content. The bundled Netflix price for all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming OTT offers the consumer a real value. In most cases, a great deal of marketing money and effort has been spent promoting the majority of individual movies and other content that are available on Netflix, so the consumer has a fairly high degree of familiarity with much of the on-demand streaming content they offer. These are essentially repurposed movies that are already on the shelf.

People are willing to watch on-demand streaming OTT of professionally-created content with embedded ads as demonstrated by the ongoing success of Hulu.Com. The consumer is likely already familiar with a portion of the content, but Hulu also allows the consumer to discover and explore previously unknown TV show content in an on-demand stream with embedded ads. These are essentially repurposed TV shows, some movies, and other content.

Live streaming OTT of live content is still catching on. The most successful live OTT content as typified by what Leo Laporte and company are generating still offers an on-demand podcast version that can be downloaded later. Currently, on-demand, after-the-fact podcast versions of live OTT generated content end up with many more downloads than people watching via live streams. Both live streaming OTT and the on-demand podcast versions can contain ads. For the ads to be effective in this format, they need to be relevant to the audience’s needs and desires. The old “shotgun” advertising approach does not work in this format. This specific type of content is closely associated with word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a few questions that remain to be answered. Will consumers pay for on-demand streaming of TV drama-type content they are unfamiliar with — in other words, will consumers pay to watch an on-demand stream of a new TV show drama, documentary or reality show? Using myself as a gage, I wouldn’t pay for individual on-demand episodes of a TV show or movie I wasn’t fairly familiar with. Promotion and word-of-mouth still has to take place.

If consumers will pay-per-view for an unfamiliar on-demand TV show, can the content still contain ads? I think the answer to this depends on the content and its perceived value – i.e., how well it is promoted, and the resulting perceived value that is generated in the potential consumer.

Once “Lost” was a hit TV show, would the fanatic fans have paid for on-demand streams of new episodes? Probably they would have, if they could have gotten them, say a week or so in advance of the actual broadcasts. “Lost” fans would have also put up with ads in the advance on-demand stream. They might have grumbled about it, but if that were the only way it was available in advance, many of them would have opened-up their wallets and paid the price monetarily and with their attention to the embedded ads in order to satisfy their “Lost” habit. Clearly, the producers of “Lost” – ahem – “lost out” on a time-sensitive revenue stream opportunity.

Bottom line, I believe it all revolves around the content and the real and perceived values that the content delivers.

I liked last season’s remake of the old “V” television series. If I could be assured the production values remained just as high, I might pay to subscribe in some manner. If the “V” series is picked up again by ABC next season, I would also pay to subscribe if I could get episodes via on-demand streaming before they were broadcast.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with the death-throws of the old broadcast model with its old appointment based viewing schedule combined with the old shotgun advertising approach. ABC broadcast TV affiliates would have had a cow if “Lost” episodes had been made available as a paid on-demand OTT stream before the episodes were actually broadcast via the network.

The final destination of OTT and when it ends up at that destination depends on what is right for the time. Both delivery infrastructure capabilities and consumer demand will make that determination.

Watching le Tour Online – Followup

Posted by Alan at 7:44 PM on July 5, 2010

Okay, it’s been three days of watching the Tour de France online and my experience has been less than perfect.  The audio has been fine, but the video has been, mostly, bad.  The Prologue,  on Saturday, froze continuously while we tried to watch the On-Demand version.  Yesterday’s Stage 1 was pretty close to prefect.  Today’s Stage 2 was great until around 50km to go when the video began freezing – and I mean CONTINUOUSLY freezing – as in, I had to refresh the page to get the video started again and then it would freeze again within a minute or two.

I was on the verge of calling, or emailing, Versus to cancel and ask (or demand) for a refund.

But, I will give them props for beating me to the punch and sending out an email today answering what must have been a landslide of feedback about these issues.  They even got rid of the Autobahn plug-in that they had been using, and which may very well have been the source of these issues.

Below is posted the email I received from Versus today.

Dear Tour Tracker user,

First of all apologies for the problems over the last few days with the Tour Tracker service. We know that many of you have experienced problems and have contacted us through our support email or posted your feedback online. We’ve responded to many of you, but while we’ve worked on fixing these problems we know many of you have not yet received a response.

Due to the problems with the Autobahn plugin, after today’s stage we removed the video player and replaced it with one that does not require Autobahn. Initial reaction is that this has fixed the streaming problems. This was also why the On Demand video of todays stage was delayed.

Another issue (particularly for the prologue) has been the start time of the coverage. We start the coverage when the International TV broadcast starts, some days this includes the start, some days it does not – it depends on when the host broadcaster in France decides to start the broadcast. The feed goes up on the Tracker at the same time as anyone in the world gets a TV feed.

The daily schedule of broadcast times is now published on the FAQ page: http://tracker.versus.com/faq

The other issue that many of you have commented on is the audio feed and the lack of background noise. We’re frustrated with this as well. We’re working hard on a resolution to this with the host broadcaster in France to correct the problem.

We’re cycling fans too and understand that the problems over the past few days have been extremely frustrating, we appreciate your understanding and hope you will enjoy the rest of the tour without any further streaming problems with the service.

Regards,
The Tour Tracker Team.

Watching le Tour Online

Posted by Alan at 5:45 PM on June 28, 2010

While the world is buzzing about the Soccer World Cup and the vuvuzela, I will be following the OTHER big European sport – cycling.  Being a cycling fan in America isn’t easy.  While the big races are covered live on all of the big Euro TV networks, America has only sporadic coverage on Versus and Universal Sports.

Now, since I turned off the satellite for the summer because Lost ended, 24 ended, and football hasn’t started, I have had to scramble to watch bike races.  Video recaps are surprisingly not too hard to find online.  But now the granddaddy of all bike races is set to start this Saturday.  That is, of course, the Tour de France.  And, I want my full coverage – every stage, in it’s entirety.

The Tour has been covered daily in the US in recent years by the Versus Network, and they have done a great job.  But, no satellite, no Versus.  Enter the new beta version of their web site.  For $29.95 I can get full coverage of every stage in it’s entirety, both live and, thankfully, since stages start around 7-8am my time, on-demand.  It is being broadcast in “full” HD, even real-time GPS tracking of the riders!  It’s a geek/cycling fan’s dream-come-true!

In the past I have watched some video recaps and extras on the Versus website and the quality has been good.  So, I have high hopes for this.  I am plunking down my $29.95 and I will let everyone know what I think after the race actually gets started this weekend.  It should be an epic race this year so the coverage better also be epic!

Now, if I could just avoid all of those Twitter spoilers until I get home from work and actually watch that day’s stage….