Mobile Video Streaming: Why QIK Is So Great
Many have already talked about it. Of those who have used it, some, with enough courage and vision, have made it one of their staples of online programming. Take Steve Garfield or Robert Scoble, to mention two of the guys I have been following on a few of their mobile-based live video streaming sessions. Thanks to QIK and this new personal video broadcasting technology a huge world of opportunities opens up for those who can see and explore the uncharted ground that such new media platform delivers.
QIK, is a mobile-based live video streaming service which allows you to utilize your standard Nokia mobile phone to video stream, record and interact with unlimited viewers on the Internet.
I wanted to write about it back at the end of November 2007, when I first heard about it, but I don't normally write or review a new technology unless I have first tested it. And since up until a few weeks ago I had decided not to have a PDA or smartphone of any kind, I really had no way to easily test QIK in person.
So Giulio Gaudiano, the editor-in-charge of Master New Media Italian edition was the first one I was in touch with to try out QIK in a real way.
It was envy at first sight.
As I expected, QIK is another tool (see yesterday review of FreeScreencast) that really takes existing technology to a whole new level. I am absolutely in awe for how effective this is and, for now, I can't stop saying how great this is and how much I would recommend it to others.
But let me line up things in a bit more orderly way.
Why do I like QIK so much?
Here my answers:
QIK is a live video streaming service with the unique characteristic of being mobile-phone-based. Unlike existing and highly popular live video streaming services such as Ustream, Mogulus, Kyte.tv, Blog.tv and the newly launched Yahoo Live, QIK requires no computer to do your live video streaming.
Simply by using your Nokia mobile device, on which you must have previously installed the QIK application, you can video stream to any number of live Internet-based live viewers with both audio and video and with no limits in terms of audience, duration or bandwidth used.
The quality of the mobile live video stream is generally not as good as the one coming from a properly setup computer-based streaming video channel, but if you have good connectivity to a high-speed mobile network (3.5G or better) and your QIK settings configured correctly, things can get to be quite good indeed.
Once installed and activated, QIK is extremely simple and straightforward to use.
Here, from my personal viewpoint, its key winning traits:
1) Supereasy to Use
No fancy configuration settings, no bandwidth or audio volume settings to check. Once installed on your Nokia QIK offers you only a handful of options: a three-level image quality / resolution setting and an on-off compression / delay setting. That's it. And since I don't need to go and mess up with these everytime I live video stream, QIK is virtually like an Instamatic camera. You press the "stream" button on your Nokia and QIK does the rest.
For someone who wants to use QIK as a true mean to capture just-in-time encounters, street interviews or even news events as they break, the ability to waste zero time on turning something ON before it actually works is invaluable. QIK can be launched on your Nokia and left sitting there idle for as much time you need. It won't use more of your battery power or prevent you from doing other things. And when the moment comes that you want to suddenly extract your filming weapon to capture something unique happening in front of your eyes, you only need to take out your phone and given a few seconds for it to "wake up", you are ready to live video stream. Priceless.
Hard to believe but true. During a live video stream your Internet viewers can actually interact with you by sending in text chat messages that are displayed in real-time on your Nokia display on top of the subject you are shooting at that moment. This allows viewers to feel more part of the action and to actually intervene and co-operate in the final outcome by asking questions, making comments, or suggesting specific things to do. Since at times these live messages from the audience can be pretty many and hard to follow, QIK provides a simple numeric key to scroll back through them anytime you want. Excellent.
Each and every single video stream you broadcast via QIK is automatically recorded and stored for you on the QIK servers. Nothing is lost, everything is kept. Obviously you can go on QIK and delete any video you have produced quite easily, but unless you take such conscious action you can feel secure that every time you stream, it is recorded. To make this even better QIK has recently added the option to also download any of your video stream recordings in .FLV format. Super.
Both your overall "live" QIK channel as well as any specific one of your already recorded QIK clips can be easily published on your blog or web site by simply pasting the handy "embed" code provided on your profile page or next to each one of the archived videos.
This QIK feature by itself makes the price of buying a Nokia and installing QIK on it, worth the price and time required many times over. QIK allows you in fact to video stream even when there is no cellular field, by recording everything you capture and streaming to the QIK servers as soon as you are again within a well covered area. You have read this right. You can go underground, while videoing or interviewing someone, you can take any elevator or drive through any tunnel and QIK will keep doing its job. The moment you come out of the area not well covered by a strong cellular signal, QIK will automatically stream back to the QIK servers every single frame you have shot making your recording available to everyone effortless. Amazing.
7) Social Media Integration
To extend the reach and potential audience of your video streams, QIK allows you to a) auto-promote your live video streams to your Twitter followers either automatically (everytime you stream) or manually (by pressing 55 on your Nokia), b) send each and every video stream to Seesmic and c) broadcast directly to your Mogulus TV channel, providing enormous potential to new online television stations who want to start leveraging the power of grassroots and distributed reporting.
In summary: QIK is for now the only and best technology to live video stream from your own mobile phone. It is simple, effective, and more than reliable... it even broadcasts and records where there is no signal.
This is why I like QIK so much and why I would not hesitate a second to recommend it to other people.
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