Justin.tv launched a week ago, and is rising steadily in popularity. It’s a simple idea – the site shows live video of Justin, who lives in San Francisco with his buddies and spends his time meeting with local startups and personalities. At any given time hundreds of people are watching and chatting real time on the site. Just this moment, at 2:46 AM PST, 126 people are watching Justin sleep.
Ustream.tv, a service that let’s anyone create their own 24/7 web cam show, is capitalizing on a ton of press around Justin.tv and launching way earlier than expected. That may or may not be a good thing – I discovered a lot of bugs while trying out the service, and it really detracted from the overall experience. Ustream also needs a basic “how to” guide for new broadcasters – suggested equipment, and a step-by-step process for launching their show.
The basic Ustream service is free, and anyone with a computer, an Internet connection and a web cam can set up their own channel and broadcast live. Viewers can watch on the site, or embed the live video onto any other website.
So far Ustream is a poor version of Stickam, which has great tools for people who want to broadcast their own live web shows (and build a social network around them). Ustream is targeting users who want to carry a camera around with them all the time, though, and like Justin.tv they are allowing users to put up a calendar with their upcoming activities.
Meanwhile, the Justin.tv guys have already built a robust platform that’s handling quite a bit of traffic already. It would not be difficult for them to launch a platform for others to host their own shows, too. They haven’t indicated that they intend to do that, but my guess is they’ll keep an eye on Ustream to see if this takes off. Like most things, there’s a novelty factor – future shows will have to have very talented hosts if they hope to build an audience.