ROFLcon Turns Me On To Ustream.TV

I was amused to learn Nathan was officially at ROFLcon on behalf of his library. I wasn’t representing my work and wasn’t on the lookout for work-related tools, but I found some anyway.

Universities have been anxious to get into live video casting for a while. Our first effort eventually became PBS (NET, ETS and PBS histories). Later, we invested huge amounts of money in interactive television (ITV), but enormous costs and complexities limit the use of such facilities.

One might think the web would make this easier and cheaper. Apple’s broadcaster and streaming server are free, after all; and in the summer of 1996 I participated in a live webcast of Laconia’s Motorcycle Week. But until I discovered I wasn’t aware of anything that made live videocasting as easy as sharing recorded video on YouTube.

From their about page:

Ustream.TV is the live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size. In less than two minutes, anyone can become a broadcaster by creating their own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through their own site, empowering them to engage with their audience and further build their brand. Click here to start a broadcast now or learn more about broadcasting.

Ustream’s one-to-many live interactive video encourages broadcast-to-viewer and viewer-to-viewer interaction, empowering a much more engaging experience for everyone involved.

With Ustream’s interactive broadcast functionality, viewers can personally interact directly with whoever is broadcasting — including personalities like their favorite musician or politician. Ustream viewers can watch specific broadcasts, explore our networks ranging from music, talk shows, sports and politics to discover a world of interesting new broadcasts, or review our past broadcasts.

Ustream opens up a new world of possibilities and experiences to broadcasters and viewers alike, which the pre-recorded static video that’s predominated the Internet to date just can’t provide.

The trend here is a familiar one: technology solutions that were once complex are now easy. An ITV classroom of the 1990s required expensive equipment and support staff to operate it at all the sites. Recent ITV classrooms have used costly commercial video conferencing equipment. These solutions imposed scarcity on the system that limited the experimentation that’s necessary to find success with the medium.

Ustream, which works with most any computer and a $40 webcam (though your computer probably already has one built-in), eliminates that scarcity. What’s more, it adds useful features — including in-stream surveys — that our old tools didn’t.