Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Broadcast Yourself Live On The Web: Best Tools To Create Your Own Live Web TV - A Mini-Guide

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Online video continues to enjoy enormous success and is increasingly becoming a standard feature of websites and blogs. As we move towards the era of Internet TV, it gets easier and easier for everyday people to broadcast their own video shows to the world.

Photo credit: Robin Good

A new batch of tools is evolving to satisfy this need, allowing you to create your own custom TV channels, broadcast your own live video feed or even operate a mini-recording-studio right out of your web browser.

In this guide I survey the rapidly evolving landscape of tools aimed at extending the promise of the first generation of online video-sharing sites. For while YouTube made it easier to upload and share your videos, the new breed of video services make it easy for you to record, broadcast and arrange whole channels of homegrown video content.

Whether you want to broadcast yourself live, twenty-four hours a day, conduct a six-way interview with participants scattered all over the globe, or just put together great compilations of your favorite, thematically linked videos, there are now free services and tools that can make it possible.

Who needs a studio when you can create your own media-rich Internet TV channel right from your web browser?

In this guide I have compared the currently available tools and services according to whether they incorporate the following features:

  • Live broadcasting - the ability to stream live video directly from the user's computer and / or webcam
  • Scheduled broadcasting - a feature that allows you to set a date and time for the first transmission of your video, after which users will be able to access it in archived form
  • On-demand broadcasting - the more familiar YouTube-style broadcasting, whereby viewers can choose when to watch the show
  • Embed live video - the ability to embed a video player of your live broadcast into your viewers websites and blogs, so that they can watch live streaming from a website other than that of the broadcasting service you are using
  • Embed recorded video - the ability to embed pre-recorded video, or archived live video footage into a website or blog
  • Integrated text chat - the opportunity for viewers and / or broadcasters to interact with text chat from within the video player interface during a broadcast
  • Integrated video chat - the chance for viewers to interact in realtime via their own web-cams during a broadcast
  • Webcam capture - the ability to capture video footage directly from the user's web-cam, either to stream live or record for later broadcasting
  • Mobile phone capture - the ability to capture either stills or video from a camera-equipped mobile phone, whether live or recorded
  • Import online video - the option of bringing in video files from other video-sharing websites for use in your broadcasts
  • Pre-recorded video - the ability to broadcast pre-recorded video as uploaded to the service being used
  • Still images - the inclusion of photographs and other still images in the broadcasting options
  • Music - the ability to broadcast music files, either separately or mixed in with a video track
  • Multiple participants - the chance for more than one broadcaster to take part in a video, such as the ability to cut between a number of cameras, or simultaneously broadcast multiple users
  • Add titles - the ability to create text-based titles or captions over or in addition to your video footage

To find out which features are included in the services reviewed and the strengths and weaknesses of the currently available web broadcasting tools, read on.

Live Broadcasting Solutions

If you are looking to broadcast yourself live to the world using your webcam, there are now a number of options available to you. Furthermore, several services offer you the opportunity to enhance your direct-to-camera performance with the inclusion of extra features, such as the ability to add and mash-up a variety of different media, or manage a group of participants in a live video discussion.

  • Ustream


    Ustream does one thing and does it really well. If you are looking for a solution to broadcast live from your camera, by way of your computer, Ustream makes it very easy to get started. Providing you with an embeddable video player and a TV-guide style listing of forthcoming events, UStream allows you to create truly live videos that can be inserted into any website or blog. Once your live show has finished, your videos are archived and can be watched back at any time.

    Suited to: Situations where broadcasting live is of peak importance, from up-to-the-minute (on-location) news reports, to reality-TV-style lifecasting in the style of Justin.TV

    Not suitable for: Situations where you want to edit your live feed on the fly, or insert other media into your stream, such as a musical soundtrack, or pre-recorded video clips


  • Operator11



    Operator11 gives you what is essentially a mini-TV-studio right in your browser. Broadcasts are created either from pre-recorded video clips, or in the Operator11 studio, whereby you can mix your own web-cam video, that of any other person watching your broadcast, adverts and pre-recorded video clips. With a simple drag-and-drop interface, you choose which feeds will be displayed in the live player at any one time, just as an editor might do for a live TV show. The result can be a fantastic combination of live conversation and pre-recorded video clips. It's a real shame you can't embed the live video player into your website, though.

    Suited to: Live shows with more than one participant, such as talk and discussion shows. Also an excellent tool for conducting and recording interviews, allowing you to cut between the two (or more) speakers with ease.

    Not suitable for: Those that want to broadcast their show live from their own website. Solo video-bloggers with no interest in involving the audience.


  • Stickam


    Stickam has been around for quite some time now, and was reviewed in full on these very pages a year ago. Stickam makes it very easy to create both video chat sessions and live broadcasts straight from your web-cam, with the addition of being able to upload photos and audio / music files to include in your broadcasting line-up. With an easy to navigate embeddable media player, an active (if teenager-biased) community and promotion of forthcoming shows on the Stickam website, this makes for a well-rounded live broadcasting solution.

    Suited to: Creating live broadcasts that can be embedded into any website or blog, or watched from the Stickam website with the addition of text and video chat.

    Not suitable for: Those afraid to seem 'past their prime'. The Stickam website and community is almost entirely comprised of teenagers, and the service can feel a little too teenaged for the tastes of some. Nevertheless, there is nothing to stop you breaking the mold.


  • YouCams


    YouCams focus is firmly on video chat, and the service is primarily advertised as a 'Webcam chat widget', allowing you to embed video chat capabilities, along with text-chat functionality, right into your own website. This is a great solution for those looking to broadcast from their own website, and perhaps to a smaller group rather than to the world at large. Furthermore, you can watch YouTube videos together with other chat participants, seeing their reactions in realtime.

    Suited to: YouCams could be used in a number of ways, from small seminars, marketing presentations and discussions through to focus groups, video-feedback sessions or just plain old video chat.

    Not suitable for: YouCams is ill-suited to broadcasting to a larger audience, and also lacks the creative control that other services offer, making sessions much more of a group effort than a programmed, individually-led broadcast.


Scheduled and On-Demand Broadcasting Solutions

If you are less interested in getting your video out live than you are in being able to seamlessly mix your media files together into fluid, multi-dimensional Internet TV shows, you might want to take a look at the following solutions. While they don't offer the ability to stream live video, they more than make up for this shortcoming by offering a great range of import and playback features.

  • Kyte


    Kyte offers a very easy way to create scheduled programming by combining your video footage, images, music files and even live image-feeds from your camera-phone. Using a really easy-to-get-along-with drag-and-drop interface, you simply drag different media and formatting features onto your screen to create a media-rich show. You can then share the show at a scheduled time from the Kyte website, where live text chat is integrated. Kyte features extensive customization features, so that you can really transform the look and branding of the media player to suit your tastes. It also allows you to produce shows for other users' channels, or invite them to contribute to your channel. The inclusion of in-show polling adds interactivity to the viewing experience.

    Suitable for: Anyone looking to put together their existing media files into a great-looking, branded-and-customized media player, to create scheduled Internet TV shows.

    Not suitable for: Those looking to broadcast live, as in 'right here, right now'. Kyte will allow you to upload photo-streams from your mobile, but if you want to broadcast your video show as it is recorded live, this isn't currently supported.


  • Splashcast



    Splashcast is focused on allowing you to easily aggregate your existing media into shows and channels. However, in addition to its extensive capabilities in this department - including the ability to import and incorporate YouTube video into your show - Splashcast has a further list of great features. With the ability to add a soundtrack to your show, to record voice narration, create still image slideshows as well as video, and to record your web-cam right from the interface, Splashcast has a very rich feature-set. What it won't do is allow you to broadcast live in any way shape or form, but this is perhaps made up for by the inclusion of RSS feeds that instantly update any player embedded out on the web each time you add new content to your channel.

    Suitable for: Splashcast is an excellent way to combine your media into playlists, with our without video and audio commentary, and is therefore also very well suited to the delivery of all types of web presentation.

    Not suitable for: If you are looking to broadcast either live or to a schedule, Splashcast is not for you, as the Splashcast player is on-demand only.



The next wave of web video

Web video is evolving, and it is easier than ever to create your own Internet TV show using free tools, right from your browser. Some of the features now available would have seemed impossible only a short span of time ago. With nothing more than a web-cam enabled computer, you can now:

  • Broadcast yourself live to the world, twenty-four-hours-a-day if the mood takes you
  • Create media-rich mash-ups from a number of different sources, bringing your video, music and images into exciting new fusions
  • Manage live and recorded video from a virtual TV studio, cutting between live and archived footage to create an episode of your personal show

With several services offering branding capabilities for the resulting channels you create, it is now very easy to put together your own highly customized video content streams, from news broadcasts to academic conferences, stand-up comedy shows to multiple-participant interviews and debates.

Wishful thinking?

With so many well-featured services out on the market, and surely more to come, it should be easy to find a web-based tool that meets your broadcasting needs. I would argue, however, that there some features missing from each of the services reviewed.

What I would like to see, and this may be just wishful-thinking, is a tool that combines the ease-of-use but tight creative control of Operator11 with the embeddable live streaming feature of UStream, and the ability to import and mix in other media to your broadcasts, as is possible with Kyte and Streamcast.

At present each tool leaves me just wishing for that little bit more. Take Operator11 as an example. Here is a tool that allows me to control a variety of live and pre-recorded video feeds, and to create great looking shows as a consequence. I can embed these shows on my website, but only after they have finished recording.

UStream, on the other hand, has little in the way of additional features and controls - it just does a very good job of broadcasting live video, which can be embedded anywhere, as it happens. If it were possible to embed my Operator11 broadcasts while they were still live, this would be a very welcome improvement to what is already a very promising service.

Finally, I would love to see the ability to have integrated chat appear within the frame of the video as it unfolds live. Operator11 comes very close on this front, displaying new messages onscreen, but as soon as I watch the video back, the messages are nowhere to be seen.

Nevertheless, each of the tools reviewed here has a very rich feature-set. We are seeing the next wave of online video and Internet TV evolve, and the opportunities seem to expand a little more each month. If you want to broadcast your very own web-based TV channel, the time is ripe.

The new wave of live Internet TV

Live Internet broadcast is really taking off. In the footsteps of Justin.TV and the recent interesting tests from Chris Pirillo, our very own Robin Good has been himself extensively testing this new opportunity, and has already done two outstanding broadcasts at the recent OpenCamp and RItalia events.

He is now preparing for the major next step, which will take place this next Saturday, 28th April in Genoa, at the upcoming ZenaCamp, where with some new interesting gear, personal sponsors and micro-mobile team he will stream the whole event live from 10am to 6pm or later.

Stay tuned.


Comparison Chart

The following chart summarizes the key features and differences between the services under review:


Additional Resources

If you would like to read more about web video broadcasting, you might want to check out the following links:

Originally written by Michael Pick for MasterNewMedia and originally published as: "Broadcast Yourself Live On The Web: Best Tools To Create Your Own Live Web TV - A Mini-Guide"

Readers' Comments    
2012-05-22 15:50:55


I'm looking to do live training sessions on a subscription basis,where people pay to watch on a certain time of day i.e every sunday morning. Whats the best way to go about this.

2012-02-02 21:41:11

Jose Lagos

hello!! im intending to make a sports webpage, and i want to include live transmission of some games, of course im gonna pay copy right, my question is: how can i include such service in the webpage and how to pay copyright. thanks a lot!

2011-09-29 01:24:03

Robin Good

Hi Mike,
there's no absolute best solution as it all depends on what you need to achieve. Ustream is definitely a rock solid solution that should not disappoint you.

2011-09-28 14:36:53

Mike D

Hi I'm getting ready to shoot a tv show and was planning to use upstream to broadcast our live feed from our this really the best option in your opinion?

2011-08-26 05:07:02


This is such a great article!
I found it very useful; I wish there was an update that would reflect the newest tool.
(This article is dated - Apr 2007)

2011-07-28 10:45:38


i find that live stream with procaster works perfect for me and its free ,you get easy to use screen,web cam ,or even game boarding live to there own server and you can embed it to your own website+at same time your live stream is being saved at the livestream site on your own free 10gig page/player.the game live broadcast works with direct x which means only the game content is broadcasted you can even lower the screen down or interact with windos without it showing up on your stream

2011-06-13 12:11:26

andrew anarchy

It's horrible that the best live site on your list (operator 11) died almost 3 years ago. I was a member of the site at day one and no other site has ever compared to it. Another site you may want to add to the list for live is i must warn you though its not under 18 safe nor is it for those who are "sensitive"

2011-01-30 04:12:00


Thanks, Mike!! Good rundown.

2011-01-28 04:59:24


Thanks, it s help me for my student work.
I found this facebook apps that allow to broadcast live on a wall and on a facebook fan page:
You can add this option in your chart : Social and see which solution do that.

Excuse me for my poor english. I m italian.

2010-11-16 11:03:10


Hello: is also a streaming platform which can be added to your list. I posted a tutorial about how to get started with live streaming services here: http://blog.eyepartner.comtutorialshow-to-stream-video

See me offline if you need more info about how to publish your content LIVE on the web.

Professional Streaming Consultant

2010-10-20 03:03:58

ketan is also provide live broadcasting..............

2010-07-02 02:25:14


avcstreamer lets you broadcast both mp4 videos from your hard drive as well as live video from a set top box. It works pretty good streaming to the iphone too. Its pretty well suited for a peer to peer kind of video sharing setup.

2009-07-05 12:42:15


Good article. I am just at the start of this mini-live-tv thing and the comparison of hosting is great.
What I have found though is that ustream is not compatible with Microsoft Expression which is great for setting up recorded video to cue when needed.I am playing with some web cam programs to get the same multiple cue live ability but I am struggling to get the flow streamlined.
This is still a new area for me though, so articles like this are great.

2009-03-22 14:19:36


In response to Nombo I think you should try ScreenCamera. This program is actually a camera that points to your desktop and allows you to stream your desktop on UStream, Skype, or any other live video streaming program or service. It allows you to control the frame-rate so that you can stream your game and not have your CPU taken away for the streaming.

You will find ScreenCamera here:


2009-02-12 07:54:04

double u


What about copyright protection. Which services guarantee that I keep the copyright and the right to delete the video at any time i want? I want to broadcast live video of some cultural events. So i have to promise the artists, that their copyright is not violated in any way.


double u

2008-11-07 17:33:10

Great review - its a pity was not mentioned for live broadcasting

2008-10-25 13:22:55

Dario Felix

Hey Guys.
I need help. Im developing a adult web site content and I need a feature that allows the clients to chat with web cams, upload amateur videos and upload voice.
Does somebody knows where I can get this whole package? My web site it`s almost done and I`m going nuts to find this feature online.
Any help I`d appreciate.


2008-10-25 13:22:55

Dario Felix

Hey Guys.
I need help. Im developing a adult web site content and I need a feature that allows the clients to chat with web cams, upload amateur videos and upload voice.
Does somebody knows where I can get this whole package? My web site it`s almost done and I`m going nuts to find this feature online.
Any help I`d appreciate.


2008-07-13 01:34:22

Kevin is a free portal that allows you to stream live videos or upload recorded ones and share with others. You can send and stream live video right from your camera and control the stream from a control panel. Streamavideo also incorporates elements of social networking, allowing you to set up a profile, send video enabled private messages to your friends and even have private video chats. Video conferencing is also provided . Current streams are organized into channels so you can simply select the channel you are interested in and watch the stream.

2008-04-22 08:28:09


im looking for a solution that allows users to broadcast live footage of their console gaming as they play. i personally use a dazzle dvd recorder with the av cables split (one to tv, one to dazzle), so the drivers exist on the pc but need something that will find the info and display it either on my site (embeded) or from a host. i wonder if operator 11 has potential for this?

2007-04-26 15:50:05

Michael Pick

Hey Nicolas,

Thanks for the feedback.

I liked what I saw of Operator 11, and you have definitely brought something fresh to the market. I will be looking forward to checking out the live player, as this would make a big difference to the next wave of Justin.TV creators. Added to the studio and ability to edit live feeds I think this would make a dynamite combination.


2007-04-24 22:04:18

Nicolas Sanguinetti

Hi! I'm one of the guys behind Operator11. First of all, thanks for the good review, you pretty much nailed what we do.

We are in a heavy development phase, and things are changing and getting better by the week, though :)

For now we only allow to embed a player of a previously recorded show, but the idea of a player that shows you whenever you are live is around the corner, so watch out for it ;)

Anyway, see ya around

posted by Michael Pick on Tuesday, April 24 2007, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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