downloadsquad has recently announced that YouTube are planning to introduce live video in 2008. This is a very exciting piece of news, even if the announcement hasn’t been confirmed by the “Tubesters” themselves. The fact that YouTube, the #1 video sharing website, may even be considering live video broadcasting is surprising, and may yet prove that live video broadcasting is not just hype.
The best example of live video streaming is lifecasting. Lifecasting began with Steve Mann, who has been transmitting his everyday life 24/7 ever since 1994. Justine Kan made lifecasting famous when he connected a webcam to his cap and began streaming continuous live video of his life and named it “lifecasting”. His website grew to be Justine.tv, currently one of the biggest communities for live video streaming, which celebrated its first birthday last week. Kan brought the idea of live video streaming to the masses and showed that the technology is here to stay – and it is even affordable. And if you think that the entrance barrier is low these days, it will only get lower as more powerful names, such as Yahoo! and Google enter this domain.
But is live video streaming something the average video consumer wants or needs? According to recent surveys, the number of people watching live TV is slipping dramatically, especially with the introduction of services like DVR and VOD. The Internet is not very different – although it can offer a wider variety of live broadcasts, such as news (mainly local) and sports, the majority of videos online are not viewed in real-time.
One can argue whether the lifecast of a certain individual is something worth watching. I guess it really depends on who that person is, and how attractive his life is. One might even say that once in a while, when there is a major breaking news, or sports event, the ability to watch it live online is compelling. Still, I must admit I don’t see how live video streaming will prove to be much more than a silly distraction. But time will tell, and who knows – this blog may be transmitted live from my desktop webcam by the end of 2008…