Live Streaming TV Video - Streaming Live Internet TV

Thanks to streaming video technology, anyone can produce live streaming TV video from the comfort of their own home. All that is needed is a computer, a camcorder with microphone and a broadband Internet connection.

Of course, streaming live internet TV or webcasting can also be much more elaborate. It is possible to set up a professional studio with several cameras and lighting sources. Anyone who is interested in this level of live video broadcasting requires a backup staff and a dedicated streaming server to deliver the video broadcast.

Internet TV - Webcasting

For the rest of us, producing a live Internet TV show can be done with a minimum of extra equipment. If the broadcast consists of one person talking to the camera as in a video blog style, a webcam with a built in microphone is ideal. For interview style shows, you may wish to have a cameraman operating a camcorder so that the video can pan from one person to the other.

Most camcorders or webcams can be connected to the computer through the USB 2.0 port. Older camcorders may require a FireWire port and you will need to check to see the requirements of your particular model.

With the video camera attached to the computer, you need a way to create a video stream that can be sent out live over the Internet. Several software packages can do this, but the obvious choice for most people using a Windows computer is the Windows Media Encoder which is a free download from Microsoft.

Windows Media Encoder

One of the encoding options in Windows Media Encoder is 'Broadcast a Live Event'. Select this option and then make the required settings. Options include whether the video stream will be 'pulled' or 'pushed' from the encoder. 'Pull' means that the video will be delivered directly from your computer, whereas 'push' means that the video stream will first be 'pushed' to a remote video streamer for delivery. For simple home broadcasts you will most likely use the 'pull' option.

You must also specify your IP address and port number. The IP address is the unique location on the Internet of your computer, and is a number such as 64.233.167.104. Many people with a DSL Internet connection have a 'dynamic' address which changes each time they connect to the Internet. In order to for people to view your Internet broadcast they must know your current IP address and enter it into their browser like this: http://64.233.167.104:3100.

The number after the colon, in this case 3100, is the 'port' number. You can arbitrarily assign any free port number, or if you are using Windows Media Encoder, the software can automatically find a free port for you.

The next step is to choose an encoding method. Encoding live video requires a lot of processing power, so unless you have an extremely powerful computer you will probably have to settle for a low to medium quality setting on the encoder. The settings for video and for audio are independent, so if you feel that the audio portion of your broadcast is more important than the video you can increase the audio quality or vice versa.

Live Video Broadcasting

And that's it! Your video feed is now ready for live video broadcasting or webcasting to the Internet. Before beginning the broadcast press the 'Test' button to make sure everything is working properly.

Remember that to view your broadcast, people need to know the IP address and port number of your computer. The more people who are watching the video stream at the same time the more processing power and bandwidth you will need.

Live Video Broadcasting from your home PC is fine for small audiences, but if the number of viewers exceeds 50 you should go with a dedicated video streaming server.

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