Ustream.tv started life as a Plain Jane livestreamingserviceprovider, compet- ing with Livestream, the now-departed
Justin.TV, Bambuser, and ultimately You Tube
Live. Since then, the company has evolved into
a full-service online video platform for both
live and VOD content, which the company calls
Ustream Pro Broadcasting. The company has
also introduced two vertical products; Align, a
more secure platform for enterprises and teams,
and Demand, a lead-generation product.
The best way to consider the products is like
this: Pro Broadcasting includes the platform for
broadcasting live events, uploading and encoding VOD content, creating the player and channel page, and managing and embedding videos.
Align provides most of the same functionality,
with increased security and authentication options and analytics. Demand bolts onto the Pro
Broadcasting product, adding the ability to force
users to register before viewing your videos.
I’ll describe Pro Broadcasting first, then
Align, and then Demand.
Ustream Pro Broadcasting
Ustream offers an ad-sup-ported free trial, and advertis-ing-free plans that start at $99/
month. Plan specifications are
available on the Ustream site
I tested using the Demand
plan, which included five channels. I used two: the Streaming
Learning Center channel, and
the Loose Strings Concert Channel, which I set up to stream a
concert for the Galax country
music group on July 10, 2015.
This is shown in Figure 1.
As with all live streaming ser-
vice providers, you can watch
Ustream videos in multiple
places, including the channel
page, or the page for the chan-
nel on the Ustream site, or on
any website via an embed code. In the Ustream
Channel page, there is Ustream branding above
the player; in the embedded videos, there is
none. Plus, I was able to customize the player
with the Loose Strings picture on the top left and
the logo on the lower right of the video window.
Additional customization options include the
ability to choose a background color or image,
which I experimented with, but ultimately didn’t
use. You can also control whether a social stream
of messages from Ustream chat, Twitter, and
Facebook is available in the player. For more
extensive customization, you can use Ustream’s
IFrames feature to customize the size and appearance of the player within the channel page,
which I did not test.
Ustream offers three configurations for your
embedded videos: just the video, just the social
stream, or a larger configuration with player,
social stream, and video gallery. This flexibility is useful; most other services limit embedding to player only, forcing viewers to visit the
Ustream;By Jan Ozer
The Loose Strings