Ustream.tv provides users with a platform for their live streaming videos of events. The site has grown tremendously to include more than 1,50,000 hours of live video content along with more than 2,000,000 registered members. Although the site seems to showcase sports and television, it actually caters to a number of diverse content categories.
Users can browse live streaming video that focuses on gaming, technology, spirituality, pets and animals, news, entertainment and education. Events covered includes sports games, holiday festivities, music concerts, family related events, conferences, performing arts, citizen journalists, traffic, security, lifecasting and business related events.
Ustream.tv was founded in March of 2007 by CEO John Ham and President Brad Hunstable. The application was intended to provide an easy way to share and access live streaming video content of events ranging from television programs to business events, conferences and more. The original concept was born when the founders decided that they needed a way to stay in touch with their friends in the Army who traveled and were stationed overseas during the war in Iraq. Ustream.tv was intended to make it possible for friends and family to stay in touch, and has expanded to include commercial and professional events.
The live, streaming nature of Ustream.tv is what makes it appealing to many users. The user can host an event and broadcast it online or check out streaming content of events going on right now. The application covers a number of popular topics and event types so users can find almost anything on Ustream.tv.
Ustream.tv uses a number of bright colors and flashy banners to catch the visitor’s eye. Initially, the user may feel a little lost in the sea of individual images, banners and more. A banner of links helps the user find their bearings and locate specific types of content. The site also posts a featured video, which automatically starts broadcasting (with sound) when the user visits the homepage or navigates to other pages on the site. This can be a bit off putting since the user must scramble to find the source of the sound to turn it off if they do not wish to hear it.
New users can join Ustream.tv by clicking the “Sign Up” link in the upper, right hand corner (to the left of the gold “Go Live!” button). The registration form is found stretched along the left hand side of the following page.
Users can sign up for a free Ustream.tv account any time they like. The application also offers an upgrade to a premium account. The premium membership costs less than $5 per month and includes the premium icon on the user’s profile, premium social stream features and the ability to enjoy streaming videos without advertisements.
Ustream.tv is ideal for anyone who enjoys watching live events online. The application favors highly commercial events like sports and television programs however there are a number of other options available. Users can create their own live streams or check out existing streams created by others.