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Red Carpet Interview: Jan Ozer, Streaming Learning Center

Sitting down with contributing Jan Ozer on the red carpet at Streaming Media West to review the highlights and key takeaways of the show, including live streaming using the cloud, the exploding market for live stream applications, the Logitech Broadcaster Wi-Fi Webcam, Livestream's Studio HD500, and the ongoing reality/perception divide on Flash and HTML5.
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Steve Nathans-Kelly: We're actually winding down the last day of the show here. And I'm sitting here with Jan Ozer, contributing editor to Streaming Media, chief instructor at the Streaming Learning Center. And as we get to the end of the show this year, what do you think are the key takeaways from the show this year, Jan?

Live Streaming and the Cloud

Jan Ozer: Key takeaways for me were, number one, the cloud, in very strategic places. If we were streaming this live, we only had 2 Megabits per second bandwidth out, and we wanted to send one stream and split that out into multiple streams, that's a perfect application for cloud computing. And everybody seems to have a product in that category now. iStreamPlanet talked about one; Haivision has one. Elemental has one. Sorenson has one.

The Live Streaming Market Explodes

Along the same vein, the whole live market just seemed to explode this year. Livestream and Ustream are both big sponsors with big booths, and the traffic interest in all their applications was very significant. Ustream showed this cool new webcam from Logitech which can talk directly to your Wi-Fi hub, bypassing the computer, so it can shoot the picture, encode the video, and send that directly to Ustream. You don't even need a computer. You just need a Wi-Fi hot spot. That's pretty cool.

Logitech WiFi Webcam

And for the first time I saw the Studio HD500, the new $8500 portable mixer from Livestream. But I'd not seen the software before. I'd heard the announcement and saw the price and I really thought the product was focused to compete against Wirecast. It has multi-camera switching, some titling capability. But if you take a look at the product, it really seems like it's much more focused on the TriCaster class of products. And that's pretty interesting. 

Livestream Studio HD500

TriCaster's a great product line, it's legendary. A lot of people use it. But it's really had no competition in that space. And what Livestream is doing is, you can buy the box, and the box for them was kind of the proof of concept. They wanted to test operation on one set of known inputs, one operating system, one type of device. Once they feel that it's secure, it's stable, it's going to work on a lot of different devices, they're going to roll it out as a software package only. And it's free if you're a Livestream subscriber.

But it's $2,000 if you want to use it to connect to Ustream or some other service provider. So they really are getting into the software business. I think their vision of the product is creating streams for them to distribute, but I also think that they're for real in the software business. And that's going to be a very, very interesting product. If it's as good as it looked, it's going to be quite a competitor for TriCaster.

I spoke to their president, Max Haot. I asked him, "Are you getting in the software business?" He said, "We don't just care about the people who are in this room; we also care about the next million people who are going to be streaming live. That's who we built the software for." So I think he really is still trying to drive business to Livestream with the software, but you can't dip your toe into the software water. You've got to be credible. And the software looks very, very credible.

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