The folks at Channel Storm are showcasing Live Channel. The company describes it as “the first and only software solution for producing and broadcasting live media.” Live Channel broadcasts in QuickTime Streaming format.
Live Channel is designed to empower any person using a DV-equipped Mac to produce and broadcast on any network. It replaces the functionality of a traditional TV studio, requiring no special hardware or technical expertise, Amon Tavor, chief technical officer of Channel Storm, told MacCentral. Plus, it has an integral streaming server so it can broadcast, both in local networks and over the Internet, without any external server.
Channel Storm released version 1.1 of Live Channel last week. Live Channel 1.1 main feature is Live Presenter, which allows the synchronization of rich-media presentations with the live broadcast, including PowerPoint slides, photos, graphs, animations, text and interactive elements like forms, chat and hyperlinks. Version 1.1 also adds support for Mac OS 9.2 and QuickTime 5.0.2. A Mac OS X version is in the works. The update also offers additional automated functions and streamlines the registration procedure.
Live Channel is in constant use by professional production companies, business enterprises, universities, K12 schools, hospitals and other entities for live broadcasting of various news, training, educational, entertainment, creative and corporate events, Tavor said.
Live Channel is based on Live Render, a proprietary technology for real-time video rendering, requiring no special hardware. Channel Storm has several patents pending on the fundamental algorithms of Live Render. Live Render enables transitions between sources, a combination of multiple sources, and 2D and 3D video effects, all in true color, with real-time anti-aliasing. Among its functions are video transformations, 3D wrapping, convolution filters, color-correction, color-keying, blending, alpha and compositing.
Live Channel enables the incorporation of multiple live sources (such as video cameras, microphones, and Internet streams), recorded audio and video clips, as well as still images, graphics, animations and text titles into any broadcast. The software enables switching between different video and audio sources; mixing of multiple audio sources; video transitions, such as fades, dissolves and wipes; and overlaying of text and images — all in real time, according to Channel Storm.
Live channels can be viewed on any Mac or PC, and can be embedded within Web sites, and viewed using any Web browser that has the QuickTime plug-in. Or they can be viewed in a separate window, using QuickTime Player.
Live Channel runs on any Mac with built-in FireWire and requires Mac OS 9.0.4 or higher, QuickTime 4.1.2 or higher (version 5 is recommended), and at least 64MB of RAM. To produce live content, Live Channel requires audio and video input devices, such as DV & USB cameras, analog & digital microphones, and more. To broadcast, Live Channel requires a connection to a local network or to the Internet. An Internet streaming service isn’t required unless the broadcast is aimed for a mass audience.
There’s a free version of Live Channel for personal use, which limits a broadcast to five viewers. Commercial users can purchase the US$3,000 professional version.
“We’re offering the free version so that people can get acquainted with our software,” Tevan said. “We think it fits in perfectly with Apple’s focus on a digital lifestyle.”
Channel Storm has signed distribution agreements with partners in the United States, Canada, Japan and several European companies. They’re looking for business partners that can help turn Live Channel into a “one stop” shop for real-time production and broadcasting, Tevan said.
Version 1.1.2 is already in the planning stages. It will add the ability to record live broadcasts and save them as QuickTime movie clips so that they be viewed later on the Web. Tevan said that Live Channel is a product that looks a few years ahead to a “brave new world” of content variety and creativity.
“It’s good for education and specialty broadcasting,” he said. “We believe that in the days ahead, there will be lots of channels broadcasting to specialized and niche audiences on the Web.”