Webcasting Concerts

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Summer’s here!

So are outdoor music concerts, like my city’s Water Front Blues Festival. It’s the main fund raiser for the Oregon Food Bank.

The 6 day concert, which attracts more than 100,000 people, is held in Portland. Last year, blues fans donated $545,000 and 103,500 pounds of food to fight hunger and its root causes.

But the mission of the Food Bank is state-wide. Why not webcast it state-wide? Cut-ins could promote donations. Maybe state-wide networks like The Oregon Channel could carry it.

Mike Arrington’s TechCrunch reviews Web 2.0 companies offering Live Video:

    stickammini.png The oldest of the bunch, launching back in February of 2006, Stickam lets you host your own live show stream and chat on their site or embedded in your own. When you’re show isn’t live, you can show a pictures, audio, or recorded shows on a MySpace-like profile page. The front page of the site features the most recent show and their number of live viewers, which currently are floating around 3,000.

    blogtvmini.png Launched back in May, BlogTv also lets you start your own live show and chat. Every show you record is broadcasted live and then archived. You can subscribe to each show on your account, embed, rate, and recommend them. Live shows are shown on the front page, but you can also review the archived footage in their library.

    mogulusmini1.png Yet to get out of private beta, Mogulus is focused on live video production tools. Using their tools, you can see how many viewers are waiting for your broadcast and storyboard the show you’re about to broadcast on your own Mogulus URL. With storyboarding, you can drop recorded videos into your feed at cue and even overlay graphics such as logos or titles. You can even collaborate with another producer and cooperatively shape the storyboard.

    justintvmini.png The oddest of the bunch, Justin.tv launched with a splash and then again when police raided their apartment. The novelty of the site centered around one of the co-founders, Justin Kan streaming his life 24/7 from a head cam. Justin.tv has yet to launch an open network, and has instead opted to expand slowly by adding a select number of dedicated “lifecasters”. Each caster gets a live feed, video archive, and chat channel. Instead of just featuring what’s live on the front page, they’ve also developed a “tips” service that lets users dig up key moments.

    ustreamtvmini.png Launched back in March, Ustream is another lifecasting network letting anyone plug in and start streaming, similar to Stickam. It’s caught on in the tech crowd with people like Robert Scoble and Cris Pirillo streaming their own shows from offices or on the road at conventions. Each caster gets a profile page where they can post their videos, photos, and thoughts. The player comes with live chat, the ability to archive footage, and embed it on your site.

Live flash video is a different animal than the recorded videos you see on all over Youtube. These sites require more accurate distribution networks because like FedEx, their packages always have to arrive on time. Back in March, Youtube delivered over 1.1 billion streams to 53.5 million unique users. That’s an unheard of number for live video on the web. You can see a comparison of the above site’s traffic on Alexa here, but be warned that streaming sites don’t need to be refreshed to consume more content and therefore don’t generate as many pageviews as non streaming sites.

Live video also complicates the trend toward time shifted video. The serendipity of live video makes it engaging to watch, but at the same time hard to bubble interesting content to the top. Sites have reacted to the problem by archiving and rating the videos, or more interestingly, voting up individual clips.

Live video has one great strength, however, the ability to directly engage the audience, be they friends or admirers. This is why I think if we see tremendous success in live video casting, it will come from sites that focus on building a community around a few top new media stars that can captivate their audience and drive the bulk of the traffic to the site.

Video search engines include ClipBlast, Blinkx, Dabble, Blinkx, Truveo, MeeVee and YouTube.

MetroFi, Portland’s municipal WiFi network provider, might supply the backbone for live webcasting. Other options include cellular EVDO/HSPA links, and even Mobile WiMAX (from Clearwire), which is testing its service in the Portland region.

But 5.8 GHz unlicensed WiMAX backhauls from downtown wireless ISPs like Stephouse and FreeWire might be the best bet (with a rooftop relay).

The Slingbox turns any Internet-connected PC, Mac, or mobile device into your home television. CBS 5 has 28 live cameras in the Bay Area, all of which are supported by Slingbox technology. The San Francisco International Airport has 1,500 security cameras but only a few screens and staff on duty at any one time to monitor them, according to Vidient Systems, a Sunnyvale provider of behavior-recognition software.

For cellular backbones, WAAV makes “mobile access points” that allow Internet connectivity in mobile environments. Their $499 wireless router, with a single backbone connection, uses Sprint’s EVDO starting at $59.99/month. WAAV’s products were first tested San Diego in 2004.

Their new AirBox X2 ($1099), is the first mobile cellular router that establishes two cellular Internet connections, binding them together for additional speed. It can also utilize WiMAX or 4.9 GHz public service frequencies for the backhaul, mixing and matching various types of backbone providers.

EVDO Rev A would be necessary to provide the upstream bandwidth. Sprint’s Linksys EV-DO/Wi-Fi Router costs less than $250 (plus monthly service charge).

Kyocera Wireless announced a free firmware update for its Kyocera KR1 Mobile Router (left).

The $219 access point now supports a variety of EV-DO Rev. A devices, including the Kyocera KPC680 ExpressCard as well as other Rev A devices including Novatel’s S720 PCMCIA card and U720 USB device, Pantech’s PX-500 PCMCIA card, and UTStarCom’s PC5750 PCMCIA card.

Current KR1 users can download free firmware upgrades. EVDO-Info has more on the KR-1 mobile access point and the GPS module.

The $700 Junxion Box provides a similar cellular backhaul solution. It’s used on Seattle buses to provide mobile WiFi, so a static (or bike-mounted) webcam shouldn’t be too difficult.

KVH Industries last year introduced the $1,995 TracNet 100 Mobile Internet System, which also works over a cellular broadband connection. The system is designed to provide high-speed Internet access in vehicles, such as sports utility vehicles, that already have built-in television screens. The monthly connection fee is $59.99 and up.

A WiFi-enabled Nikon S-50c ($350) could provide continuously updated stills uploaded directly to Flickr. Breeze Systems has the leading application for controlling Canon PowerShot cameras from a laptop.

Zoomify, SocialCanvas and Microsoft’s HD View can host your photos — with an Infinite Zoom from the stage. Autostitch, the world’s first fully automatic image stitcher, can create Gigapixel panoramas without any user input.

Immersive Media uses 12 cameras (right), but isn’t “live”. Microsoft RoundTable ($3000), features 360° panoramic views powered by 5 built-in cameras. It’s used with Microsoft Live Meeting.

AT&T’s Video Share enables one-way, live streaming video feeds, which can be seen by both users while they are participating in a two-way voice conversation.

Once users have initiated a Video Share call, either party can be the one generating the video stream for the other to see. For $0.35 a minute, AT&T subscribers with access to the company’s 3G wireless network can talk on speaker phone while simultaneously streaming a video their phone is capturing in real time.

It’s the first AT&T service to be delivered on the company’s new IMS platform. It won’t be the last.

IP Multimedia Subsystems enable video streams to be shared among a diversity of platforms; including cell phones, computers and televisions.

Add Web 2.0 for messaging, uploading and sharing — and lots of opportunities to buy schwag.

If webcasting costs $5K and gets you $10K, it’s a no-brainer. And the economics will only improve. This could be the start of something big.

Perhaps you could slip a Wi-Fi repeater, like a Meraki Access Point, inside a glove and pour hot wax around it to create public Wiki art using a Nokia web tablet or iPhone. Free with ads.

Related DailyWireless articles include; Geocoding Photos, TrainFi On the Move, Buses Get WiFi, What Up at Where 2.0, Trip Mapping, 3-D Traffic/Weather Maps, Mapping Goes Live, Mobile Ad Delivery for Traffic.com, WiFi Tracking Tags from AeroScout, PanGo & Ekahau, Geocoding Content & Telemetry, GPS Tracking: In a Shoe, On a Bike, MIT’s SENSEable City, and Cellular Navigation/Tracking.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, June 22nd, 2007 at 6:49 am .

Leave a Reply