Over the past 50 years, worldwide media has been dominated by live broadcast media. With the advent of the internet, specifically thanks to the revolutions in video podcasting, mindsets began to change, and time-shiftable content became the new black. Streams were out, downloads were in.
Then came Justin.tv. Justin Kan and his business partners began to “lifecast” – effectively providing a twenty four hour look into the life of a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. Armed with a laptop, camera, and a soon-to-be overworked EVDO card, Justin.tv would make live cool. It was not just Justin though, the advent of attention-demanding networks such as Twitter made instantaneous updates more popular than ever.
‘Live’ ain’t cheap, but it’s getting there
One of the biggest reasons for the rise of downloads was the inhibiting cost of streaming live video. You needed a fast connection, cameras that could connect into your computer, and decent streaming software. But that was in the nineties.
Now, the cost of streaming is falling rapidly. Connections are fast and getting faster every day – cable and DSL dominate over dial-up connections. Consumer users can now easily connect cameras into their computers. Streaming software is more stable and servers more robust, and there are a great number of fun web cam enhancers to make your images more informative and enjoyable.
The biggest question when deciding how to broadcast is “why live?” What advantages do live video delivery have over delayed downloads?
- Instant – The most obvious advantage is the instant broadcast. Your event, show, or life can be seen with no delay. No lines, no waiting.
- Communication – instant community. Talk in real time with your users by using a chatbox or other methods. Whatever you choose the benefit of realtime conversation is enormous.
Live is not necessarily the ideal situation for fictional content (though their could be some unique uses) or non time dependent content like many podcasts. It’s a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.
With shifts in costs, a number of providers have stepped up to the plate with their services, offering unique solutions for stream hosting, image manipulation, and promotion. Over the coming weeks, we will profile some of these companies here on YouMakeMedia.
We’ll also be working on a few tutorials to introduce you to streaming live. We have covered static content in the past with our (yet to be finished) podcasting series and we’re excited to help with dynamic media content too!