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Ustream Watershed Live Streaming Video

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

The Bottom Line

Ustream's Watershed service is easy to setup and extremely reliable. I have used the service and our first event went off without a hitch. The live stream from the event was very consistent and the audio and video was perfectly in sync. The service is priced competitively and we were able to put together a prototype in about 30 minutes.

It's really easy to integrate Watershed into your environment. The branding and customization works really well and can be done without any programming. I found Ustream's Watershed services to be an excellent choice for live streaming video.

Pros

  • Self-service solution scales for small business to fortune 500 companies.
  • Flexible pricing with a pay as you go option as well as a monthly plan option.
  • Few resources are required as you can broadcast a live event with a PC, a browser and a web cam.
  • Secure solution with password protection of your content available.
  • Social networking ready with built-in chat and polling. Integrates with Facebook and Twitter.

Cons

  • Pricing dependent on viewer hours and if uncontrolled, costs could add up.
  • The documentation for using Adobe's Flash Live Media Encoder software is a little confusing.
  • Email only support.
  • No support for Ustream’s Producer or Producer Pro encoding tools.

Description

  • Self service platform providing ability to broadcast live within minutes. Service available as try before you buy.
  • Private label version of Ustream’s Flash based interactive streaming video platform that is completely customizable.
  • Includes a pay as you go option as well as monthly plans. Watershed is a “Software as a Solution” (SaaS) service.
  • Broadcast live event from a browser or Adobe Live Media Encoder software.
  • Resources required are a PC, a web cam and an internet connection. Dashboard allows real-time monitoring of live event.
  • Can record event using the browser broadcaster or locally using the Adobe Live Media Encoder software.
  • Includes social networking components including chat and polling. Can also link to Facebook and Twitter.
  • Advanced configuration accommodates XML based web services connecting your website to the Watershed services (SOAP 1.2).
  • Secure system allows you to password protect your content. This can help you to control costs.

Guide Review - Ustream Watershed Live Streaming Video

There is a lot of flexibility built into the Ustream Watershed Platform designed for live streaming video. You can broadcast a live event with nothing more than an internet connection and a web cam. This option uses your browser as the broadcaster. While this option works great, it does offer limited options. Adobe makes a product called the Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder which is free and can be downloaded from Adobe's website. You can use this software as the broadcaster and it offers more options then the browser version. One nice feature is you can easily save the live event as an .FLV file on your local machine.

From a pricing standpoint, the pay as you go option starts at $1 per viewable hour down to $.25 per viewable hour. The monthly plan starts at $49 per month which includes 500 viewable hours. Discounts are available with higher viewable hours.

The chat is somewhat limited but is easy to setup. As far as making the player available for viewers, the Watershed website gives you the embed codes which are typical for Flash content (object tag in html). You can also embed the broadcaster so you can control your event from your own website.

With the quality of web cams today and the speed of broadband connections, it's really easy to broadcast a live event for your user community. Give this service a try. I am confident your organization will appreciate the results.

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