Sony Live at CES 2016

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Today is the eve of CES 2016 and it sounds like Sony is ready to give us quite a show. The rumor mill has been bustling with speculation, with the most popular theories all being hardware related. Cameras? Headphones? Camcorders? Maybe even a Smart Watch? Any way you slice it we are in for a treat. Sony’s CES 2016 press conference kicks off on Tuesday, January 5 at 5:00pm PST in Las Vegas, and you can watch the entire announcement live here exclusively on Ustream.

Sony CES 2016

Ustream has a long history of working with Sony, most recently as part of the huge Playstation 4 announcement at E3 in 2013.

“When we launched the Playstation 4, we were trying to start the conversation on the next generation of game platforms.” says Michael Brynteson, Executive Producer/Senior Manager of Video Production at Sony of America “The biggest benefit of Ustream is the amount of people you are able to touch and reach at one given time, we thought maybe we would get a few people watching us, but we ended up with millions. People measure success in eyeballs these days, and I think Ustream has been able to provide the biggest and best outreach there is possible”

To learn more about how Ustream helps Sony live stream their event, watch our exclusive testimonial.

Early Preview: New Ustream Viewing Experience

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The New Viewing Experience

The new Viewing Experience offers your viewers a super clean, responsive user interface that provides the best viewing angle on all screen sizes and devices. Not only our web site has been upgraded to work perfectly on all desktop and mobile screen sizes, but we’ve also upgraded our native iOS and Android mobile apps to offer the same viewing experience to all of your viewers across all platforms.

The new Viewing Experience offers lots of room for all of your content: a large video gallery, a rich About section, links to your external websites, event calendar and links to other channels if you have multiple channels on Ustream.

As a broadcaster, we would love to hear what you think! You can take the new Viewing Experience for a test drive now by logging into your dashboard and accessing your channel settings. The preview will be available for you as long as your channel is not hidden or password protected and has no locks on the content.

Please feel free to drop us a line and let us know your thoughts by using the feedback option within the preview both on the web and via our mobile apps.

Ustream for iOS Update: What’s New in Version 3.1.2

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iOS users received a surprise in the app store this morning, check out the new features + fixes in the new and improved Ustream Version 3.1.2

iphone_app_screenshot          iphone_app_ 2          iphone_app_3

  • New Features:
    • The long awaited feature to edit your profile within the app is finally here! Tap your profile picture or the Edit button on the Account settings screen to start.
    • You don’t have to remember your usernames anymore! Simply use your email address to log in. (Pssst… your old usernames still work of course.)
    • Chat now shows nicknames! Remember the part where you can edit your profile? You can set your nickname there too.
  • Fixed:
    • Broadcast sounds can be heard again on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus.
    • Several stability improvements and bug fixes under the hood.
    • Adds backward support for iOS 7.1.

Notice anything that we might have missed? Let us know your feedback!

Live Streaming Cameras: Select the Best for You

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So you have decided to create a live stream broadcast and I am sure you are very excited to get started. The biggest step now is to select the live streaming camera that is best for you. We understand that choosing a camera for live streaming can be overwhelming, and it’s hard to tell which live streaming video cameras are the perfect fit for your needs. It feels like there are a million different makes & models to choose from and the prices range from $100 into the thousands. Not to mention all of the cards, cables and technical terms that go along with it. Megapixels? Optical Zoom? ISOs & F-Stops? Walking into an electronics shop and asking a salesperson can be intimidating, but tackling the decision solo can also be a lot of work. Before you start your journey, we have some tips that will help you get started, and technical lingo that will make you sound like a professional videographer.

Before you make live stream camera commitment, keep a couple of things in mind:
  • What is your current computer workflow?
  • Do you only want to stream live?
  • Would you like the flexibility to shoot on the go?
  • What is your budget?

Just like introducing a new member to the family, your video camera for live streaming most importantly has to get along with your current hardware set-up. The key thing to pay attention to are the existing camera connections available on computer you are using whether that be on a laptop, desktop or even a tricaster. Regardless of your technology preferences, it’s a whole lot easier to pick a camera for live streaming that is compatible with your hardware than having to re-adjust your hardware gear based on the hottest video camera on the market. 

Live Steaming Cameras USBLive Steaming Cameras USB cable

USB Camera
This is the best live streaming camera option for entry level broadcasters because basically all computers, whether they be mac or windows, has this connection already built in. If you are just starting out with live streaming, this is an hassle free first camera choice. With so many USB cameras on the market, it’s not hard to find one that will fit your budget and your needs. If you use our Pro Broadcaster or Ustream Producer, both of these encoding programs should automagically recognize your USB camera. You just “Plug & Play” so they say.

Camera: Logitech Webcam Series
  • Pros
    • Low cost
    • Easy or no setup involved
    • Can connect directly to most computers, no capture cards or boxes required
    • Usually no batteries or AC power required, can be powered directly from computer
  • Cons
    • Typically lack zoom, manual focus, iris, white balance and gain controls required for more precise shots
    • No ability to upgrade lenses
    • No ability to record locally
    • No ability to input professional audio and pass through to encoder

Live Steaming Cameras analogLive Steaming Cameras Analog cable

Analog (Component/Composite)
Nothing like the classic. If you have ever looked at the back of a newer model TV, you may have seen the red/green/blue cable ports. Most video camera for live streaming have some option for analog output, however most laptops do not have these inputs built in, meaning you would need a switcher or capture card to accept the analog connection.  

Camera: Panasonic P2 HD Series
  • Pros
    • Very common connection type, available on almost any camera, new or old
    • Lowest cost, particularly with all the older used video cameras available
    • Easy to source and replace cables and cameras
    • Relatively easy to find capture cards, switchers and encoders that support this connection type
  • Cons
    • Many analog connections only support SD resolution. Only newer cameras support HD over analog component connections
    • Not recommended for long cable runs. Analog cables can be prone to interference and signal degradation.
    • Most camera brands have proprietary connectors on the camera, these cables are not as easy to replace and typically you need to connect an additional cable to reach your switcher or encoder

Live Steaming Cameras HDMILive Steaming Cameras HDMI cable

HDMI
This interface was designed for home theater systems, but has become super popular in the live stream camera world due to the fact that they are a bit less expensive than the SDI cameras but still have a lot of bang for your buck. Video cameras with HDMI outputs are a great choice because there are many inexpensive models available that shoot and record in HD and output over HDMI. Not to mention the price point makes them great for multi camera live streaming. Instead of buying one $1,000 camera, you can purchase five $200 cameras!

Camera: Canon VIXIA series
  • Pros
    • Wide range of options, from affordable entry-level camcorders to professional, full-featured cameras
    • Widely available and easy to buy
    • Easy to convert to SDI for more capture / encoder options
  • Cons
    • Might require conversion to SDI for compatibility with some switchers and encoders
    • Cannot do cable runs as long as SDI
    • Cables do not lock, can get disconnected if you are not careful
    • Some consumer-level HDMI connections have built in copy protection which will prevent signal transfer

Live Steaming Cameras SDILive Steaming Cameras SDI cable

SDI
These are the Cadillac of live streaming cameras and in our opinion the best. SDI output cameras are the most professional live streaming camera option, and of course typically the most expensive. Since SDI cables lock into place they provide a stable & reliable connection and are the best for long cable runs. Because cameras with direct SDI output can be expensive, many people choose to use HDMI output cameras and then use an HDMI to SDI converter. But if you have the means, we highly recommend the SDI route.

Camera: Canon C100 Series
  • Pros
    • Most professional and robust connection type
    • Can do the longest cable runs
    • Locking connectors
    • Most common connection type for capture cards and encoders
  • Cons
    • Cost

“But wait, can’t I just use my current DSLR for live video streaming?” 

Great question! The answer is both yes and no.

DSLR cameras are considered in the same category as HDMI cameras in regards to using them for live video streaming. They need to have a HDMI output from the camera, as well as a capture device or capture card between the camera and your computer. But be aware that there are limitations to using DSLR cameras:

  • They do not provide a clean output over their HDMI port
    • Many DSLR cameras are not great for streaming because some models use a mirror of what is in the viewfinder, which means your broadcast may include an overlay that reveals settings like battery life, etc. Some DSLR models provide an option to turn off the overlay and provide a true “clean” output over HDMI, but not all, so make sure you should check your specific make and model.
  • They offer less audio capabilities than a true live streaming video camera
    • Since the built in mic on DSLR cameras are usually low quality, you will want to make sure that the camera you are using can input live audio from an external microphone or audio source and output that audio over the HDMI port.
  • Not all DSLR cameras are designed for extended live use
    • Some camera models have the tendency to overheat and will automatically shut down if shooting video for extended periods of time, which will be unsuitable for applications where you plan to stream for longer than 2-3 hours.

Now that the hard part is taken care of, all you need to do is sign up for Ustream Pro Broadcasting and start streaming! Please do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions, or need assistance setting things up. We are more than happy to help get you started. 

Cali Christmas & Hot for the Holidays Concerts

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With temperatures dropping across the nation, Power 106 FM & Hot 97 are keeping us warm this week by bringing together hip hop’s hottest artists from coast to coast. Tickets to the shows are still available, but if you cannot make it in person you can still watch the live broadcast brought to you exclusively on Ustream so that you will not miss a moment of the action.

Power 106 FM: Cali Christmas
The event you have been waiting for is here! Power 106’s Cali Christmas is popping off this Friday December 4th @ 6:30pm (PST) from The Forum in Inglewood California and bringing together hip hop’s hottest stars live on one stage. Catch performances by Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Travis Scott, Dej Loaf, Ty Dolla $ign, Logic, Skeme, Post Malone with a special guest performance from Pharrell Williams.

Hot for the Holidays

HOT 97: Hot for the Holidays
Busta Rhymes teamed up with Hot 97 to host one of the most highly anticipated events of the season. The concert features performances from Puff Daddy, Mary J. Blige, Lil Wayne, Sean Paul, French Montana, Fetty Wap, as well as Mariah Carey and Rick Ross who were both recently added to the lineup. It all goes down at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ on December 5th @ 8:00pm (EST)

Do you have an upcoming event that you would like to broadcast and share with the world? Ustream makes it easy to get started! Take a test drive and gain access to advanced features & audience insights that you cannot find anywhere else and see why major media companies look to Ustream as the leader in live streaming.

Highlights from Streaming Media West 2015

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We had a blast in sunny Huntington Beach, California for the 2015 Streaming Media West conference! Between the line up of amazing speakers and meeting with all of you at the Beer Garden & Networking event, it’s difficult to pick our favorite moment of the trip. That was until we heard that Ustream took home 3 Reader Choice Awards, which definitely takes the cake as the best part of the show.

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Live Video Platform
Winner: Ustream
After taking home this award for 3 years running, it’s a no brainer that Ustream is the best in the business for live video streaming. Simple enough for beginners, yet powerful enough for professionals, Ustream is the destination for anyone looking to livestream video on the web. Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself!

Advertising Solution
Winner: Ustream LiveAd
The readers have spoken and for the 2nd year in a row Ustream LiveAd technology retains the crown as the leading Advertising solution for live & pre-recorded video. Leverage the power of our massive global syndication network and learn more about your audience with richer analytics than you will find anywhere else. But don’t take our word for it, reach out to one of our account representatives and find our why clients such as HBO and Cisco come to Ustream for their online video advertising needs.

Enterprise Video Platform
Winner: Ustream Align
Our Ustream Align platform made its debut early this year and is already starting to make waves, winning the award for the best Enterprise Video Platform. Inform, educate, and inspire your workforce with easy to use tools that keeps everyone on the same page. Ustream Align is optimized for internal communications, keeping your video secure, minimizing the impact on your network, and reducing the need for IT support making it the perfect internal communication solution for your business. Ready to get connected? What are you waiting for!

We hope to see everyone again next year!

Ustream Wins Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards

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The Streaming Media West Readers choice awards the only awards ceremony in the online video industry where the customers have their say in what online video products and services they could not live without.

This year’s awards brought in 250 nominations and opened the voting to StreamingMedia.com readers to select their favorites. Over 3,500 readers voted and casted in a total of nearly 36,000 votes across 29 categories, ranging from Streaming Media to Streaming Media Producers. Finalists were announced in mid-October, the winners were announced at the Streaming Media West show in Huntington Beach, California

Ustream is the winner of 3 Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards!

  • Streaming Platform (3rd year in a row!)
  • Advertising Solution (2nd year in a row!) – Ustream LiveAd
  • Enterprise Video Platform – Ustream Align

To try out our award-winning solutions, visit Ustream.tv

Video is the Leader of Content Marketing

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When content marketing first came on the scene, text-based content was the norm: white papers, email promotions, and e-newsletters were crammed with words, words, and more words.

Today, with terabytes of text being published online every minute, consumers have had their fill. They’re craving a more interactive experience. And now that video technology is more accessible than ever, marketers have no excuse not to give it to them.

Still think video content is just a “nice-to-have?” Check out the latest statistics from HubSpot:

  •       55 percent of people watch videos online every day.
  •       Video takes up 57 percent of consumer Internet traffic.
  •       Online video now accounts for 50 percent of all mobile traffic.
  •       Using the word “video” in email subject lines boosts clickthrough rates by 65 percent.
  •       52 percent of marketing professionals point to video as the content type with the best ROI.

“Too expensive?” Not anymore.

Not so long ago, only corporations could afford to create and publish professional-looking videos. Fortunately for small businesses, video content marketing no longer requires a five-figure budget. Today, even the smallest businesses can record videos (of good quality) with a low cost HD camera, edit them with cost-effective apps, upload them to a video streaming platform, and easily embed them on a blog, website, or a social media account.

Streaming’s gone mainstream

When we look back on 2015 in the future, many of us will remember it as “the year streaming went mainstream.”

With the growing popularity of video streaming mobile apps (including Ustream), more businesses than ever are using live video. Why? It helps generate a buzz among current and potential customers through:

  •       Live product launches
  •       Virtual conferences
  •       Brand exposure
  •       And more!

So if you’ve been holding back from adding video to your content marketing mix, there’s never been a better time to jump in. Your audience is demanding it. Video content has never been easier to create and publish. Streaming video lets you capture the excitement of live events.

Not convinced?

Check out how SONY gained millions of viewers for their PS4 launch by streaming live online.

Come meet the Ustream team at Streaming Media West!

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Will you be attending Streaming Media West? If so, we’d love to meet you.

If you’re not familiar with Streaming Media West, it’s a 2 day conference where you can learn everything you would want to know about streaming video and have a chance to network with industry professionals. If you are at the conference, come meet the Ustream team at the Beer Garden and Networking Event we are sponsoring on Tuesday Nov 17 at 6pm.

You can see the full program for the conference here.

The Secret to a Positive Company Culture

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Company culture has become an emerging incentive to join a new organization. However, employee empowerment is the true secret factor in creating a positive company culture. Without employees feeling appreciated for their dedication to their role, a healthy company culture cannot be cultivated.

Here are 3 ways employee empowerment results in a positive company culture:

1. Consistent communication is practiced.

70% of US employees are not engaged or are actively disengaged, according to a Gallup study. Communication plays a major role in inspiring your team towards achieving common goals. You can communicate using multiple mediums, such as: email, slack, phone conferencing, meetings, video, and more.

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Just this month in our office, we used our Ustream Align platform to broadcast our townhall for our employees located in Hungary. We have a townhall every Thursday to clarify company objectives, reveal achievements, and introduce our new employees.

2. Managers trust their employees expertise.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.41.30 AM(Cameron Robert, The Chronicle)

The perk of hiring qualified employees is trusting them to fulfill their tasks without hindering their decision making. Some managers are known to micro-manage their team, rather than encouraging them to utilize their skillset that initially granted them their employment. Modifications can always be applied but it is critical to enable your workforce to produce their assigned projects freely. Employees that perform to the best of their abilities are the ones that feel valued and respected.

3. Project progress and deadlines are reviewed.

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 11.31.57 AM(Asana)

In order to maintain company productivity, management must keep track of the progress of their workforce and deadlines. In our office, we use Asana for our weekly Marketing meetings to go over upcoming tasks and check-off finished projects. It is also a great method of aligning our workforce to be aware of how a particular task is essential for the completion of another. By reviewing responsibilities, employees are motivated to finish assignments on-time and deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion.

All employees want to be appreciated for their efforts. Frequent communication plays an important factor in motivating your workforce. Management should enforce structure while providing employees the freedom of accomplishing their tasks as they deem necessary. In order to have a positive company culture, employees need to be appreciated.