NAB: ViewCast offers do-it-yourself streaming

ViewCast Corp. says next week it will begin offering a streaming media capture and delivery service for small businesses. The company demonstrated its EZStream service for the first time here at the National Association of Broadcasters conference.

Using a Java applet, users can capture live or recorded media on their PC, edit, encode and publish it on to the Web. ViewCast is partnering with Activate to hosts the streams for as little as US$25 a month for about 100 views.

"We want to make it easy from a technical perspective and flexible in terms of pricing for companies to get into streaming media," says John Caufield, president of online solutions at Dallas-based ViewCast.

EZStream's Java applet needs to be downloaded by the user only once. A smart download-like feature scans the user's PC for installed hardware and only downloads the software necessary to support the target machine.

To use the service, a user selects the input (be it a file or live off a capture board), which is then captured as a .AVI file. The first release will not have built-in video-editing software, so users will have to pause the wizard and use a third-party tool to edit the .AVI file. Once edited, the wizard encodes the file and posts it to the Web, providing the end user with a link to the media.

The first release of EZStream's wizard will only support the Windows Media format. However, users can encode to the RealNetworks format themselves. The hosting service supports both formats.

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