Livestream has benefitted from the growth in both mobile viewing and broadcasting, but it’s decided to combine those functions into a singular app. That app also has been updated with features to make broadcasting better and to notify users when new streams from their favorite producers are actually live.
When you first open the new Livestream app, it prompts you to follow friends that use the platform, as well as brands and video publishers that you might be interested in. By creating a list of channels to follow, you’re not only sharing your interest with Livestream, but you will be notified when those channels have new content to share. It does so with push notifications, both when events are added to a calendar and when they go live.
The whole thing goes from being channel-focused — i.e. jumping back and forth through different channels to see what’s new — to being event-focused. By doing so, Livestream is highlighting just what is current and online and interesting, rather than showing viewers a bunch of channels that might be offline.
Livestream users can also search through and discover the most popular live events happening when they open the app. And, of course, archived, on demand videos are available, as well. The app also enables viewers to chat with other viewers who have tuned in, and to share streams that they’re watching with all of their favorite social networks and with friends by email.
On the broadcasting side, Livestream has greatly improved the quality of streams that come from the mobile app. In order to do so, it optimized using a software codec that maximizes video compression for streaming, even in low-bandwidth areas. Livestream CEO Max Haot told me by phone that, using adaptive bit-rate technology, the app should be able to broadcast with 100 kbps of bandwidth available or less, making it possible to stream live over Wi-Fi, LTE or even 3G networks.
The app includes other new features while broadcasting, including the addition of filters, as well as the ability to pinch to zoom. Broadcasters can also chat with their viewers, even while streaming. And they can post photos, video and text to their events any time.
Livestream isn’t the only company going after the mobile broadcasting market. There’s also Ustream, which has its own Broadcast For Friends app for streaming video live from your phone. For now, Livestream’s combined viewing and broadcasting app is only available for iPhone, but it’s testing out an Android version and is looking to build an app optimized for tablets soon.