How to Get Started with Live Streaming Video
Live streaming, also known as live-casting is to transmit or receive video or audio over the internet as it happens. Thus, streaming media is content that is continually received by an end user as it is being conveyed by the provider. The media is transmitted bit by bit and on ‘on the fly’. That can be accurately compared to watching the live news on the television. It employs the use of various transmitting and viewing media such as cameras, personal computers (PCs), tablets, laptops, smartphones among others.
Live streaming differs from on-demand streaming in that it involves the broadcast of events as they happen whilst the latter’s media is prerecorded. It is important to note that both of them involve the transfer of data (multimedia) to the end user’s machine without downloading it.
To adequately understand and appreciate live streaming, it is essential that we should consider its history. The first forms of streaming were attempted in the formative years of the 20th Century, but little progress was made mainly because of inferior technology and lack of the technical know-how. Muzak is the earliest known form of streaming. It is simply a general appellation of elevator music introduced in the early 1930s after George Squier was awarded the rights to ‘air’ commercial music without the use of radio.
The phrase ‘live streaming’ was first construed in the early 1990s to replace ‘video-on-demand’. It was hectic not to mention strenuous to watch or listen to media online in the early days. That was because the computers were slow, and the dial-up connections were weak and unreliable; But also because the videos and images were pixilated and heavy.
However, in recent years, live streaming has seen significant improvements. Due to the development of standard and application protocols and formats such as; HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) and Internet Protocol Suite (TCP/IP). The expansion of the network bandwidth and the universal accessibility of the internet have also given live streaming a major boost.
Why use live streaming in business
In the recent past, live streaming has immensely gained popularity, especially in the business sector. It is now safe to say that live streaming is taking over the traditional boardroom and business meetings. Business people and entrepreneurs can interact with each other without having to incur the expense of travel. Marketing has also been made easier due to the huge number of people visiting the web on a daily basis. Marketers can now reach millions of prospective clients from all over the world with just a click of a button.
So why is live streaming good for any business?
Due to technological advancement and commercialization of the internet, it has become considerably easy to access online media. There is extensive competition among internet provision companies leading to reduced rates for the consumer. It is also worth mentioning that the fall of gadget (electronic devices) prices has been of immeasurable help. That will contribute to the reduction of an entrepreneurs input capital that may result to increase in business profits.
It is now possible to transmit, and access live media on computers in the comfort of our homes and on our smartphones while on the move. It is no longer necessary to endure long airport queues and annoying traffic holdups to transact business. That has been solved by the availability of live stream features such as video calls. This way, you can save a considerable amount of time which can be alternatively spent handling other equally important tasks.
3. It is real time
Media transmitted is live. That allows for the immediate feedback thus facilitating faster and more efficient communication.Businesses can sell and make purchases in real time and interact more efficiently with their clients. That is perhaps it is the strongest feature since it sets it apart from on-demand streaming.
How it works
For the live streaming process to be successful, several components are necessary. These include a recording device (source media) e.g. camera, an internet connection, an encoder, and a media publisher such as a projector. Your computer will also require a stand-alone player or a browser’s plugin.
Even with the technological advancements, the quality of the streamed media can still be irregular and fickle. That is because it is hugely determined by the quantity of bandwidth and the technology employed by the providers of the media. Because of this, it is important to ensure that you purchase enough bandwidths to support your activities.
Live streaming tools and websites.
As mentioned earlier, live streaming requires several components to be functional. Chief among them are tools commonly known as applications or Softwares. These applications (abbreviated as apps) are essential for the viewing of live media on our devices.
There are several tools. The most common among them are Meerkat and Periscope. Below is a list of most of the tools that are currently in use for live streaming.
• Meerkat is an application that allows users to stream live videos on their mobile devices. Written by Ben Rubin and developed by Life On Air, Inc, it was released in February 2015. It makes it possible for users to transmit live to their followers on Facebook. It can be installed on both iOS and Android devices. It was initially used by both Facebook and Twitter users, but its use in Twitter was blocked only weeks after its launch in favor of Periscope.
• Periscope is a competing application that is nearly similar to and with the same functionality as Meerkat. Developed by Joe Bernstein, KayvonBeykpour, Tyler Hansen and Aaron Wasserman, it was developed by Twitter and released on March 26, 2015. It also can support iOS and Android devices. Unlike Meerkat, it allows recipients to rewind and even re-watch the videos at a later time.
• Ustream was launched in March 2007 and now serves more than 80 million global users. It was developed by Jon Ham, Dr. GyulaFereh and Brad Hunstable with the initial intention of enabling their friends who had been deployed to Iraq to communicate with their families. It has since been used widely in various political, entertainment and technological forums.
• Livestream allows users to transmit live video feeds to viewers with the use of only a camera and computer. Viewers can access the transmitted media via iOS and Android-supporting devices and the web. Developed by Max Haot, DayanandaNanjundappa, Phil Worthington, and Mark Kornfilt in 2007 as Mogulus, it was re-branded in 2009. It is a host for several notable users such as NBA and Spotify. It supports both corded and cordless cameras, and it is compatible with most personal computers.
• Twitcam is a product of live stream that enables users to access live video services on Twitter.
• Google Hangouts is a platform owned and developed by Google that promotes features such as VOIP (Voice Over Internet Phone), video chats and instant messaging (IM). It was developed as an improvement and integration of previous services namely Hangouts, Google Talk and Google+ Messenger. It was initially released on May 15, 2013, but its stable release only on September 10, 2015. It works on various operating systems including Microsoft Windows (as a chrome extension), Linus, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and on the most modern web browsers. It is free on all platforms.
• Snapchat was authored by Snapchat, Inc and developed by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown. It allows the user to take photos and videos and send them instantly to their friends and followers. However, media sent is only available to recipients for a very limited amount of time. It was launched on September 2011 and supports iOs and Android operating systems. Snapchat is available in numerous available languages.
• Streamup is a free platform that allows users to view or transmit live videos. It is owned by Streamup, Inc and is based Los Angeles, California.