Live-streaming is something that I’ve been meaning to look at for a while. I have watched many live-streams myself from sports and video games to politics but have never broadcasted. I was recently approached by a teacher at my school that was interested in broadcasting a poetry contest. In deciding what tools would work best, I was looking for something that was:

  1. Easy
  2. Free

I have mainly explored streaming on iOS since our school has access to iPads. I am not interested in hooking up cameras to computers and messing around with video encoders at the moment (although for a more permanent set-up for a daily newscast or something this would be the way to go!)

YouTube Live

If you have a YouTube account, you can activate YouTube Live and stream right to your YouTube channel. This sounds cool (and free… well, ad-supported) but the broadcast feature appears to be missing from the iOS YouTube app and in order to do this on a computer you need to download encoding software and have a camera and microphone… not impossible but the ease of mobile broadcasting is attracive. I believe this is an upcoming feature in the iOS YouTube app and this would definitely be my go-to broadcasting app. I will be keeping an eye out for this!

Ustream

Ustream is a popular streaming app and is owned by IBM. They have a basic version that allows you to have 50 viewers per country. There is a 30-day trial for unlimited viewers so this might be great for a one-time event. The cheapest premium option is around $100/month which seems expensive, especially if its not something you will use regularly.

Testing out Ustream

I downloaded Ustream onto my iPhone and was pretty impressed with how quickly I was up and running.

Watching Your Stream

To find out where your stream is broadcasting to, open up Settings:

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Next tap on “Default channel”

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I’ve blurred my channel out for privacy but this will be how you will find your Ustream channel. Go to http://www.ustream.tv/explore/ and type in your channel name into the search bar. You will find your channel. You can send this URL to anyone who wants to watch your live stream. Unfortunately you can’t rename your channel with the basic version.

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Broadcasting Live

To broadcast, we simply need to tap “Go live” in the main menu of Ustream:

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It will open up the device’s camera:

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Tap the red circle and a LIVE icon will appear in the top left hand corner. Now, anyone watching your channel on the ustream website will see what you see, live! I did notice a 15-20 second delay on the stream from when its recorded to when it appears on the website.

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Why Live Stream?

In a school setting, live streaming opens up some cool possibilities:

  • Presentations or special events
  • Concerts
  • Drama Productions
  • Sporting Events

Things like presentations or special events are often limited by space and not every student can be a part of it. With live streaming, teachers could share the live streaming link with their colleagues who would then have the option of showing it to their classes through the live stream. Kind of a neat idea!

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