Primer: Live-Switched Webcasting

Streaming Media by Shawn Lam

Although it's possible to webcast with a webcam or smartphone and a streaming service provider, a professional live-switched webcast has more in common with a live TV broadcast than it does a kid with a smartphone. This article discusses the roles that must be filled in a live-switched webcast, the various features and types of video switchers, and a lot of the small details that are important considerations in the larger video switching and webcasting workflow.

I'm not sure what generation to consider myself a part of. I was born in 1977, and by many accounts I am a late Generation Xer, but Boom Bust & Echo 2000’s David Foot considers me part of the Bust Generation cohort. Others, such as Jason Ryan Dorsey, author of Y-Size Your Business and self-proclaimed “The Gen Y Guy®” (and yes, that is a registered trademark symbol, a sign of the legal state of affairs of his generation), considers me a part of Generation Y, aka the Millennials, the Net Generation, or the Digital Generation.

Being caught in the middle of these generations, I don’t place too much of my personal identity into these broad characterizations, but I do find it interesting from an economic and demographic viewpoint.

From a video perspective, I think the generations’ attention spans are getting shorter with technological developments. The MTV generation of short attention spans and 24/7 media saturation gave way to the user-generated content era of YouTube, Facebook, video on Instagram, and recently Twitter’s Vine, where video can be captured and shared as fast as upload and processing time allow.

But even this isn’t fast enough for viewers who want their content live (and then on demand). The current generation of lifecasters is streaming live—sharing (and oversharing) over the internet, using a range of webcasting services. Their adoption and consumption of this technology has in part helped fuel the demand for professional webcasting services. If kids can connect with their peers and document events using live streaming video, why shouldn’t Fortune 500 companies, governments, conferences, churches, city halls, and even small businesses with a global reach be delivering their messages and their events live to their audience as well? read more...

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