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.