Live video streaming platform Ustream has announced with Teradek a new portable HDMI streaming device for $699. Just like Livestream’s Broadcaster, it is easy to use and compatible with a wide range of cameras, as long as they have an HDMI output.
“We’ve been in the live streaming business for more than 2 years now, and have probably sold more encoders than anyone else,” Nicol Verheem, CEO of Teradek, told me. “Over this timeframe, we have learned what customers want and the lessons are all very similar: ‘make it simple and affordable, but give me choices,’” he continued.
That’s why the VidiU is platform agnostic, with native integration for Ustream and the new Livestream. But that’s not all, as the VidiU is compatible with Tier 1 CDNs like Akamai or Limelight thanks to a generic RTMP interface. It works with Brightcove, Justin.tv, Ooyala and many others.
The Livestream Broadcaster was a key selling point for Ustream’s competitor. With an affordable prosumer device, amateurs and professionals alike could start video streaming in minutes. Ustream had to provide a portable streaming device that you can fix to any camera as well.
Yet, the VidiU is $200 more expensive. Here’s a few reasons why. When it comes to output quality, the VidiU can stream up to 1080p at 5Mbps compared to 720p at 2.5Mbps for the Broadcaster. Those specs will matter even more in the future as LTE continues to roll out in many countries. The new device uses a traditional Li-Ion battery compared to AA batteries for the Broadcaster. Finally, VidiU customers can run their iOS devices into a real-time monitor.
Ustream probably hopes that customers will choose the VidiU over the Livestream Broadcaster as the new device is slightly better, universal and Ustream is the default streaming platform on the VidiU.
“We emphasize universal compatibility, but Ustream will make the most sense for many customers, especially if we include free membership for a period. So Ustream will be the recommended choice,” Verheem said. The VidiU will be available in February.
Overall, as these niche webcasting devices become available, the quality of live video content should greatly improve on platforms like Ustream and Livestream, and many video enthusiasts will be able to make the jump and cover live events.