I stayed up way too late last night watching and listening to a live feed of Chris Pirillo and his team of developers work on their new live casting feature at Chris’ site. Chris was talking about how he wanted to create an almost TV-like experience with multiple feeds switchable in one stream–complete with intelligent AdSense. I wondered what Ted Turner would be thinking if he was watching?
Chris isn’t the only one experimenting with live casting. Robert Scoble has been giving it a go too. In fact, he’s talking about live casting Web 2.0 Expo this week. That’ll be something to see. [Update: Jeremiah Owyang is live casting from Web 2.0 Expo here.]
Both are using UStream.tv as their video stream hosting service. I haven’t tried it myself, but I’m quite curious to see how it works.
At CES, you may recall that we used a similar service, Stickam, to live cast the Tablet PC Gathering at CES as well as while we (actually Layne) walked about some of the booths, shown here and here. You can see some of the recorded videos here.
Our set up was simple. We used a Tablet PC (running on batteries) with a USB Logitech Quickcam camera and an EVDO PC card for our broadband connection.
For the most part the live casting went as planned. Since I was unable to attend CES, it gave me a way to get a small taste of CES. Others enjoyed watching too. We had people from all over the US and as far away as Germany watching the live feed. I’m not sure of the numbers–probably a handful. What was really funny was that while I was at home watching the live feed, I was live blogging what I saw. If I needed further explanation on something, I’d call Lora or Layne and they’d straighten me out. It was a blast. Almost better than being there–because if I had been there I most assuredly would not have been live blogging–I can’t type and walk at the same time :-).
Not everything went smoothly though. The EVDO connection was too slow. Some of this had to do with being at CES and competing with everyone else that was using EVDO I imagine. However, we were also running on batteries, which slowed things down a bit. The result was that we could get the video across the Internet fine–as well as audio–but not at the same time. If we had the audio enabled, the video would show maybe one frame every thirty seconds, if even that. We finally decided to go with video only. I’m curious to give UStream.tv a try to see if we could get better performance. TabletPCGuy also neglected to bring extra batteries and it wasn’t long before things went black. Doh. It was fun while it lasted.
So has TabletPCGuy retired? Nope. He’s gearing up for this month’s Mobile and Embedded Devices Conference (MEDC) and there’s talk of even more live casting. This time he needs to remember to take along extra batteries. Fully charged.