Live video is going to be huge

A couple of things I’ve been wanting to write about lately, a quick note before running to work.  First, this morning I read on that both On2 (the video transcoding service we use at SplashCast) and Akamai (huge content delivery network for video) are coming out with live streaming video services.   I gotta cheer for the little upstart groundbreakers like UStream but this is exciting stuff.  Video on the web, one of the most compelling types of media being published, will no longer by exclusively asynchronous.  Have you seen my favorite podcasts in the player on the sidebar of this blog?  Make those all live broadcasts and I will gladly watch one or two minutes of commercials every 15 minutes.  The barrier to entry into the video publishing world has been lowered dramatically and when live video broadcast is easily accessible then we are going to see some thrilling stuff.

One of the most compelling parts of the live video world for me is the roll of widgets.  Live video players can be embedded on any site around the web.  That means if something really exciting is being broadcast, it can spread across countless points of distribution quickly.  Imagine what kind of live broadcasts you might see having their embed code copied onto more and more MySpace or Facebook user profiles in real time.  That has the potential to move masses of people politically.  I’m sure there’s some net neutrality issues here, too.

Embedded here is the BlueFox TV channel on Ustream. It appears to be one of the more regularly live channels on the site. It’s not terribly exciting in the first few minutes I’m watching it, but it’s good for a proof of concept. Neither the video nor the audio are streaming well enough for me over my EVDO connection. The medium is obviously in its infancy, but I think the potential is clear. Try viewing the most recent episodes of Democracy Now in my sidebar here and imagine if that was being broadcast live.

I would love to produce live video.  I don’t know if I’d rather do live news coverage, web 2.0 tutorials or both.  Imagine being able to afford a team of researchers and technical producers.  That’s pretty much what you’d need to have a steady flow of interesting content instead of a lot of video of some person sitting in front of a computer. Really robust text chat and good integration of archived content perhaps between live broadcasts are other things I’ll be watching for. There are some really powerful possibilities.  Just something I’ve been getting excited thinking about lately.