Livestreaming App Comparison

Objectively documenting the actions of a bully, and making it known to others, is a damn solid way to bring-about accountability. Fortunately we live in a time when you – armed with a smartphone and a streaming app – can share such incidents with the world in real-time.

copblock-apps-streaming
CopBlock.org/Apps

If you’ve visited CopBlock.org/Apps, you’ll see that there are a number of apps through which you can stream video, but which is the best?

Over the past couple of years Ademo Freeman and I have created accounts for Cop Block with the bulk of the streaming apps, yet never satisfied with my grasp on the different functionality of each app, I decided to take some time to dig in, so I could make a more-informed decision on the best app for my use.

The overview below lists five of the more-popular streaming apps and the pros and cons and the plans available for each. It is far from exhaustive, so if you have any input to share, please leave it as a comment. I’ll incorporate the info received into a stand-alone document about livestreaming apps that’ll be linked to from CopBlock.org/Documents and CopBlock.org/Apps

For now, I’m going to use Bambuser’s free, basic plan, as may other Copblockers who have admin access to that channel (check out CopBlock.org/Live for the feed). If there is a need to step-up to something with more functionality I’ll update it here.

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Bambuser

http://bambuser.com
Download: Android
Download: iOS

Bambuser’s claims: “Bambuser is one that we use in the streets with globalrevolution.tv. benefits include seemingly better software than ustream. it also has a nice stream-stability live feedback bar as you are live. It also seems to be less intrusive with ads, and the latency between the camera and website is very low, less than 5 seconds.”

Default video resolution 176×144. other option is 240×160

+

  • compatible with no-contract phone
  • video saves automatically to phone (good safeguard in case you’re out of coverage area when recording, and helps make editing easier, so you can import to your computer directly, rather than have to download it from the site)
  • creates a RSS feed for your channel (i.e. http://feed.bambuser.com/channel/CopBlock.rss)
  • content saved to channel is embeddable
  • content saved to channel downloadable

  • the URL is a bit clunky (i.e. instead of bambuser.com/copblock it’s bambuser.com/channel/copblock)
bambuser-premium-copblock
Bambuser plans

Justin.tv

http://www.justin.tv
Download: Android
Download: iOS

Justin.tv claims “Justin.tv is the easiest way to create live video and show anyone in the world what’s happening right now.”

+

  • direct URL to channel is straightforward (i.e. http://justin.tv/copblock)
  • content saved to channel is embeddable
  • can connect with Facebook and Twitter profiles
  • has chat box on monitor
  • lots of options to share – Facebook, twitter, myspace, email, URL, embed code

  • content saved to channel is not downloadable
justintv-plans-copblock
Justin.TV plans

Livestream.com

http://livestream.com
Download: iOS

Livestream claims “Livestream is the most powerful online video broadcast solution available. In just minutes you can create broadcasts as polished as any multi-million dollar traditional television network — with full capability to easily broadcast Live, 24/7 Linear, and On-Demand content — absolutely FREE.”

+

  • ability to create Smart URL (i.e. http://livestream.com/copblock)
  • can connect with Facebook profile

  • basic app does not allow videos to be embedded (you must step-up to premium account for that functionality)
  • cannot connect with Twitter or YouTube channels
  • unverified channel has 50-person limit
livestream-plans-copblock
Livestream plans

Qik.com

http://qik.com
Download: Android
Download: iOS

+

  • able to get straightforward URL for channel (i.e. https://qik.com/copblock)
  • connects with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube
  • can embed channel or most-recent video
  • saves as .mp4
  • records 720p HD

  • only hosts 25 videos with basic account
qik-premium-copblock
Qik plans

Ustream.TV

http://ustream.tv
Download: Android
Download: iOS

+

  • can download video as .mp4 and .flv
  • 10GB storage with basic account
  • can share via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AIM, YouTube, OpenID

  • clunky URL naming convention (i.e. http://ustream.tv/user/copblock)
  • mobile only no desktop
ustream-plans-copblock
Ustream plans

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Keep in mind that continuous livestreaming will eat-up your phone’s battery life. If you don’t have a spare battery and plan to stream extensively, you may want to consider a product that allows you to charge your phone in the field: Energizer XP4000 Universal Rechargeable Power Pack

For more, Jan Ozer, did a pretty thorough overview in the June/July 2012 issue of Streaming Media: Ustream, Justin.tv, Livestream, and Bambuser: Streaming Unplugged. Note though, that Ozer’s intended use for these streaming programs seems to be in more stable settings (ie a presentation) rather than on the street, where most Copblocking is sure to take place.

And if you’re big into privacy, recognize that like any app you download, before you use a smartphone app, you must “Accept” the conditions set-forth. Below are those given prior to the Qik download (the other apps aren’t much different):

Allow this application to:
Hardware controls (take pictures,record audio, change your audio settings)
Network communication (full Internet access, create Bluetooth connections)
Phone calls (read phone state and identity x3)
Your location (course (network-based) location, fine (GPS) location
Your personal information (read contact data, write contact data)
Storage (modify/delete SD card contents)
System tools (mount and unmount filesystems, prevent phone from sleeping, write sync settings, bluetooth administration)
Your messages (receive SMS)
Your accounts (manage the accounts list, act as an account authenticator)

To download any of these apps or a number of other solid smartphone apps, visit CopBlock.org/Apps

If you have input that’ll help make the above information more exhaustive please do share here as a comment – thanks in advance!

EPN

Pete Eyre

Pete Eyre is co-founder of CopBlock.org. As an advocate of peaceful, consensual interactions, he seeks to inject a message of complete liberty and self-government into the conversation of police accountability. Eyre went to undergrad and grad school for law enforcement, then spent time in DC as an intern at the Cato Institute, a Koch Fellow at the Drug Policy Alliance, Directer of Campus Outreach at the Institute for Humane Studies, Crasher-in-Chief at Bureaucrash, and as a contractor for the Future of Freedom Foundation. In 2009 he left the belly of the beast and hit the road with Motorhome Diaries and later co-founded Liberty On Tour. He spent time in New Hampshire home, and was involved with Free Keene, the Free State Project and The Daily Decrypt.