How to Start Live Streaming

Streaming live video can be intimidating to some, as it may be difficult to understand how to get started.  If you’ve been pondering the idea of streaming live, this article may help you get started whenever you are ready.

Here at Primcast, we have put together a knowledge base, with step by step instructions, to help you start streaming with various software or hardware encoders. We’ll explain what encoders do here in this article.

What is Live Streaming?

Live video streaming is the same as television broadcasting, but through the internet. It is the delivery of video content online, and is usually accessible on any device, depending on your setup. The demand for internet accessible video content increases exponentially each year, which has driven the streaming technology to evolve very rapidly. Primcast has been streaming live since 2004, adapting the earliest live streaming technologies from Abode and Microsoft. We’ve since grown to become one of the leading streaming providers for both Radio and Live Video.

How to Start Streaming Live

Are you ready to join the millions of users already broadcasting live video? You’ll need a camera, an encoder and live video streaming service from Primcast. You can choose any camera, however a good HD camera is recommended. You will also need an encoder, to take the video from the camera and send it to our streaming servers for distribution. Our encoder of choice, is the small yet versatile, Cerevo LiveShell 2, which can be purchased directly from us. Your HD camera must have an HDMI output, in order for it to work with the LiveShell 2.

If you don’t have the budget for an HD camera and hardware encoder, you can stream directly from your desktop or laptop, using any webcam and Flash Media Live Encoder (free). If you already have a Primcast account, our support team will remotely assist you with the setup.

Looking to re-stream an existing TV Channel?

You will need authorization to re-distribute that content from the channel owner. Although Primcast does not monitor your stream content, we do have to enforce copyright laws if we receive notices that you are broadcasting without authorization.
To broadcast an existing channel, you can use a Teradek VIDIU Pro for 1080p streaming or a Cerevo LiveShell 2 for up to 720p streaming. Both encoders have HDMI inputs, which means that can be connected to any cable or satellite box.

How do Viewers Access my Broadcast?

Your audience can view your live stream directly through your website or Facebook, depending on your account type. Our support team will assist you with the integration.

Start your free 5 day Trial Today!

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Live365 Alternative – Worried about Live365 Closing?

Live365 announced in December of 2015, that it will be shutting down its operations at the end of January 2016. Thousands of broadcasters are left with less than 30 days to find a comparable provider.

Most of Live365 employees were laid off, when it’s offices were vacated at the end of the year. Why did all this happen? All of live365’s investors pulled right after the Copyright Royalty Board announced the new royalty fee schedule for 2016, which no longer makes includes special rates for small broadcasters.

The following message was sent out to all Live365 users late December 2015:

Dear Live365 Listener,

For 17 years, Live365 has offered small webcasters the opportunity to stream music and talk programming, providing an alternative distribution channel for diverse, quality content on the Internet in a legally responsible way.

Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board, the governing entity for establishing the sound recording royalty rates that are paid to copyright holders, has published the new rates for 2016-20. The previous provisions for small webcasters to opt for a percentage of revenue model were not renewed.

The current provisions end at the end of 2015. The absence of this license will make legally streaming copyrighted musical content prohibitively expensive for many small to mid-sized Internet broadcasters. Live365 relies on this license for many of their broadcast partners and, as such, has hard decisions to make regarding their future in the streaming industry.

Two weeks ago, Live365 faced an additional blow, losing the support of its investors who have helped the company with its mission for over a decade.

The company was forced to significantly reduce staff and is now actively looking for partners to help continue the service into 2016. At this time, Live365 is planning to keep their stations active while getting the word out about this investment opportunity. With nearly two decades of Internet streaming experience and thousands of paying customers, this could be an ideal situation for a company looking to diversify into streaming audio.

CEO N. Mark Lam has begun initial discussions with possible business partners as the company looks to new options in the new year.

Dean Kattari, Director of Broadcasting for Live365:

The true value of Live365 lies in it’s diversity of content – it’s a sanctuary where you can hear music and other content that it so unlike the template broadcasting that is heard on most terrestrial radio. These stations are the hard work of real human beings who use Live365 to share their vision with the world. It’s a home for musical discovery because many of these stations play emerging artists that terrestrial stations are reluctant to take a chance on. It would be a great loss for this to all go away.

While Live365 is going through this process, we understand that our listeners will have questions about how all of this will affect their service so we have provided a simple FAQ section to help answer some of them.

We thank you for being part of the Live365 family and hope for the best in 2016.

Rock on,
The Last of the Live365ers

Where Does This Leave Broadcasters?

Primcast is a privately owned company, streaming live since 2004.  We deliver fully managed, unlimited radio and video streaming services, backed by our 24/7 expert support staff.

What About Licensing Fees?

Primcast does not include licensing fees as part of the cost of our services, however we are one of the only few broadcasting service companies that provide monthly Royalty Reports. These reports will help you keep track the songs you have played and your listener hours, in order to calculate your fees. Primcast will also guide to getting your station licensed or block your US listeners to avoid the fees. The fee schedule for 2016 is available here.

Your First Month Is On Us!

Move your station to Primcast and enjoy your first month of service free. Just mention Live365 when you call 1 917 284 6090, or through our live chat.

Get Started Today!

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Dedicated Servers provided by Primcast

Dedicated Servers are the perfect solution for high traffic projects and also if you need privacy, security, or your website and online applications require too many resources to be deployed on a shared server. You can choose between various operating systems including Ubuntu, CentOS, Redhat or even Windows 2012. The ordering process should allow you to choose whatever you think that suits your needs. Our dedicated servers are housed in data centers in the United States and Europe, allowing you to choose a server closest to your location. It usually takes 24-72 hours for us to have your server set up and released from the day we receive your order.

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Wowza Streaming Server AddOns offered by Primcast

Wowza streaming server AddOns are tools that will help you deliver, transform, enhance, protect, and manage your media streaming for live or on-demand content and even on broadcast recording. By using Wowza Server Hosting provided by Primcast, you will be able to have access and enjoy some new experiences using Transcoder , nDVR or DRM addons.

Wowza Streaming Server and Transcoder AddOn

Wowza Transcoder AddOn provides the power to receive a live stream, decrypt the video and audio, then re-encode the stream to fit the specified playback devices. Wowza Transcoder provides real-time audio and video transcoding and transrating feature. It will decrypt audio and video in multiple formats and re-encode them to properly key-frame aligned H.264 streams for adaptive bitrate delivery. Adaptive bitrate broadcasting using Wowza Streaming provided by Primcast would help a lot the wowza streaming mobile devices feature that you can read more about here.

Transcoded content can be broadcasted as a single bit-rate stream to any of the Wowza streaming server protocols that are supported or even to RTMP / HTTP Dynamic Streaming, Apple HLS and Silverlight Smooth Streaming using adaptive bitrate. Using the same server configuration the transcoder addon provides converting your broadcasted content incoming from IP cameras, Software and Hardware encoders, and any other live sources to H264 encoding in order to have the stream broadcasted everywhere.

Wowza Streaming Server and nDVR AddOn

The nDVR addon that can be enabled over your Primcast Wowza streaming server will give your viewers a whole new experience while watching your content. nDVR represents a  consumer service where real-time broadcast is captured in the network on the Wowza Media Server allowing the end user to access the recorded program at will, rather than being tied to the broadcast schedule.

The addon provides trick play features such as pause , play and rewind, all of them while the stream is being live broadcasted. This functionality is placed completely over the server and viewers will not have to have anything extra installed on their viewing devices.

Wowza Streaming Server and DRM AddOn

DRM addon represents an integration solution that offers one of the best solutions to Wowza streaming customers that need studio-approved security for premium content broadcasting. The feature provides on the fly encryption for a large variety of playback devices supplying integration with multiple third party DRM key management systems.

Wowza streaming live or on-demand content is encrypted on-the-fly with Microsoft® PlayReady® or Verimatrix® VCAS™ for delivery via Apple® HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) and Microsoft Smooth Streaming to viewers on a wide range of endpoints, including PCs and Macs, set-top boxes (STBs), smart TVs, game consoles, smartphones, and tablets.

Wowza Streaming TranscoderWowza Streaming nDVRWowza Streaming DRM

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Wowza Streaming content on mobile devices

Wowza Streaming – basic information

Everybody knows nowadays that a great solution to bring or have multiple viewers over your stream includes covering a wide area of devices that can play your content broadcast. Well, using Wowza, Primcast has the solution. Wowza Streaming on mobile devices has been available with Primcast since the very first moment and the hosting provided includes content available to iOS (iPhone and iPad), Android, Blackberry and even Symbian. The following article should cover all the settings you will need to configure in Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder in order to display the content to mobile devices, using our Wowza Servers.

Wowza Streaming – encoder setup

First of all you need to make sure that your streaming device supports H264 video format and MP3 or AAC audio format broadcasting. So in the Video section of the encoder you will need to choose the format as H.264 and 15FPS as frame rate. Make sure you also select Baseline 2.2 by clicking on the wrench icon near the H.264 field. The input size and bitrate will be set by you at your choice depending on the quality you will need for your stream. Our recommendation is between 250 kbps and 600 kbps for SD quality and between 600 kbps and 1.5 mbps for HD quality. For the Audio section of your encoder we recommend using MP3 format that works with iOS and Android and AAC that works with iOS, Android, Blackberry and even Symbian (few devices).  The channels feature must be set on Stereo and Sample Rate 44100 Hz. The bitrate remains on your own decision to set although we recommend 96 kbps or 128 kbps for MP3 format and 64 kbps or 96kbps for AAC format.

 

Wowza Streaming – server connection

Since we set the streaming format for mobile devices streaming it only remains that you connect to your Wowza Hosting Server using the details that will be provided on your account after signing in up with Primcast. On the FMS URL field on the right side of the encoder you will need to enter the Wowza Hosting address which will look like: rtmp://wowza.primcast.com:9999/live. By adding ‘/live’ at the end of Wowza Streaming Server address, the encoder will automatically access the Wowza Server live application. The Stream field on the encoder should be set on your decision by giving a name, simpler the better to remember and use in the embedded code or in the direct streaming links. We recommend ‘livestream’ to use on this field as stream name. Hitting Connect button under the Stream field of the encoder will prompt a login to the Wowza  Streaming Server in order to authenticate to your server and start broadcasting. After you entered the username and password for your Wowza Streaming Server you will be able to hit Start button on the bottom of  the encoder.

Wowza Streaming – mobile devices content access

‘To view the Wowza Streaming content you will either generate and Embedded Code from your own Primcast Control Panel or using the embedded code that you can find under Support section of our website ( http://www.primcast.com/flash-stream-in-jw-player-longtailvideo ). Another way to view Wowza Streaming content that you are broadcasting you can use specific links such as :

– http://wowza.primcast.com:9999/live/livestream/playlist.m3u8

for iPhone, iPad and Android 4.0+

– rtsp://wowza.primcast.com:9999/live/livestream

for Android 2.3+ , Blackberry and Symbian

For more information related to Wowza Streaming on mobile devices feel free to contact us anytime via LiveChat, Email or Phone. Get your Wowza Server today.

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The things you should know about a Smart Tv

We all know that 2012 was the year of smartphones, but 2013 will be definitely the year of Smart Tv’s. Our television gets more intelligent, and comes with gesture and voice controls, downloadable apps, face recognition and many other new features and apps.
But first of all, we need to see what are the advantages of a Smart Tv.
Well, a Smart Tv (or Connected Tv), is used to describe the new range of Tv’s, set-top boxes & BluRay players that are connected to the internet, includes a browser with Flash support and provides an interactive experience for the customer.
This type of gadget has all of the functions of a standard Tv, but the most important feature is that it gives you the possibility to access the internet. We can make a summary by saying that a Smart Tv refers to a convergence of computer-like features.
Most of the customers, which prefer Smart Tv’s insteed of Classic Tv, said that one of the most interesting option is that this kind of device provides interesting applications which facilitate the access to certain pages such as Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa (and much more), without the need to connect the laptop or computer.
A Smart Tv’s gives you access to apps, games, video playback, gesture and voice control, social networking (Social TV), web Browsing, streaming movie content, media sharing or smartphone connectivity. Don’t forget that every Smart Tv platform offers access to an online app store, from which you can download a lot of applications, which can be installed directly into your Smart Tv menu.
At this moment, having an app means to you take advantage of the great opportunity that new media givs you. You are placed on a market that has not yet been fully exploited. Among the major benefits that a Smart Tv applications can bring, one of them includes the ability to get in touch with potential clients from the comfort of your own bedroom, and especially the ability to use a single device instead of two.
At Primcast we have a special department which is in charge of Smart Tv apps and Mobile apps. Why do you need to know this? Because if you have a great idea, our development team will be able to built it. And don’t forget a very important aspect – if you have a streaming server from Primcast, you can get a free standard smart TV app especially made for you.
In conclusion, a Smart Tv brings you all kinds of benefits starting with a connection to the internet, an operating system that gives you almost unlimited possibilities to have fun and relax, but even more awsome, Primcast gives the possibility to have your own Smart Tv applications!

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The best way to promote your online radio station

The most common problem that online radio station owners have is getting enough listeners. Even though many of these radio station owners have websites and place their streams for every website visitor to listen to, it is still not enough to fill their station’s listener slots. Probably the best way to increase the popularity of an online radio is to submit it to a number of well-known online radio station directories.

There are many ways in which you could promote your station however, submitting it to online directories is the cheapest and most effective way. Internet radio directories are a quick way to promote your station and get more listeners. You can find websites who share entire list of directories where you can submit your station. These directories have thousands of visitors eager to find new and good quality music, many of which can become your clients.

 There are probably thousands of radio directories out there. However, this doesn’t mean that you should subscribe to all of them. Not only will this take a lot of your time but not all radio directories are worth subscribing to. You can start out with only a hand full of directories to subscribe to and increase the number as you go along, Whenever you feel the need to bring more listeners to your radio station.

Submitting your station to many directories will help you promote your online radio station the right way by exposing your logo, name and link to your website in all the places where listeners gather in search of a radio station.

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Build your very own radio station that practically runs itself

There are probably hundreds of thousands of radio stations on the internet right now. With such a large competition out there you may be wondering if it would make any sense at all building your own online radio station. The truth is that the online world is in a continuous expansion and there will always be people interested in your type of music or in what you have to say. Even if you don’t have the success you were expecting to have, you don’t really have much to lose starting your own radio station since the cost for starting one is quite negligible.

The first step to creating your online radio station is to determine the platform you will be using for your radio station. There are several options available to you but your best bet would be choosing SHOUTcast. This software, besides being free of charge is the complete solution for anyone looking to build an online radio station, be it a professional or an amateur one. Even though SHOUTcast is free software, you will still need to host it on a server, as you would with much any other online radio platform software. There are many online services offering radio hosting services right now that you can benefit from. You could also host this software yourself but the low cost for hosting it elsewhere and the inconveniences of having to host it yourself make this a no-brainer. Another great advantage that comes with having a paid radio hosting account is that you don’t have to trouble yourself with configuring the streaming server. The company that provides this service will handle everything for you. They could even help you start your first online stream. You really don’t need to have any sort of technical knowledge to start streaming online.

Normally, if you will be streaming on your online station your computer will have to be always on since the audio files your audience will be listening to will be on your computer. However, there is another more convenient option available that automates your radio station completely. This software is called Auto DJ and it allows you to completely automate your radio station. With Auto DJ you won’t even need to keep your computer on all the time. Auto DJ is totally worth having if only for the money you will be saving on your electrical bill. You need to keep in mind though that Auto DJ will not work without a SHOUTcast account. Once you have purchased an Auto DJ account you will need to attach it to a SHOUTcast account. The SHOUTcast account doesn’t even need to be from the same company.

Configuring Auto DJ to work with your station will be no problem at all. You only need to upload your audio files through an FTP program (if you don’t know what FTP is then you can find plenty tutorials on YouTube. Simply do a search for it and you will be amazed at how many results you will find). Once your files have been uploaded onto the Auto DJ server you will only need to create your playlists and you are pretty much done. You will still be able to stream from a live source on your online radio station by turning off Auto DJ.

Having your own online radio station could bring many benefits both socially and financially so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try.

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What you should know about SHOUTcast before you start using it

There are numerous protocols that could be used to stream or broadcast media across the internet. The specialized protocols will undoubtedly help in overcoming the data transfer inconsistencies. That way you can have proper viewing and listening quality however the delivery of content has to be specific and in the proper sequential manner. For this reason, you will need to use SHOUTcast hosting to get reliable multimedia streaming.

SHOUTcast hosting is an alternate kind of web hosting service. It is typically used for streaming media. SHOUTcast is primarily a server type software. The company that came up with this piece of software is called Nullsoft. What the server does is to allow the broadcasting of digital or audio content to and from media player software using the MP3 or HE-AAC format. Professionals and hobbyists create internet radios in the same manner.

You can get SHOUTcast for free and it is able to run on several platforms. Operating this software on multiple platforms is as easy as it is implementing it. Apart from that, it is also available for using at an optional fee or no cost.

Some little known things about SHOUTcast background and usage

The server was first created in the year 1999. This streaming protocol uses metadata tags and responses starting with ‘ICY’ which stands for “I Can Yell”, the genuine name of the protocol. The domains of the protocol were registered before Nullsoft, the creator of the software. They then proceeded to change the protocol’s name to SHOUTcast, although the prefix ‘ICY’ is still in the protocol specifications even today.

Producing or listening to internet broadcasts is the software’s main purpose. Mainly because of the inexpensive way to set up broadcasting stations, a lot of these were born with the help of this amazing software. This way a large number of radio network owners and hobbyists were able to set up their own broadcasting stations much less expensive than if they were to set up a regular FM radio station or an AM broadcasting station.

How does its design work??

SHOUTcast’s client-server model has each component communicating through a network protocol. This protocol intermingle the audio data with meta-data like station name or song titles. In order to deliver web page data over the internet, the HTTP protocol has to be used as a transport protocol.

SHOUTcast has known a huge rise in popularity even since it was first launched. Using this software to build your own online radio station is probably the best way to go. With SHOUTcast hosting you will be able to develop the online radio station of any size you like.

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Smooth Streaming – what is it and why you should use it

Right now the best way to stream your videos online is with adaptive bitrate technology and Smooth Streaming is going to be your best choice. Smooth streaming can identify the available bandwidth and settle on the most appropriate bit-rate to display your video clip at. That way you don’t have to settle for the lowest common denominator in order to ensure that all your watchers will have a sleek viewing experience.

The performance of Smooth Streaming lies in the fact that you can easily transition the video quality of a media file that a player receives in real time. Consumers with high-bandwidth internet connections can enjoy high definition (HD) quality streaming while others with reduced bandwidth speeds receive the proper stream for their connection, allowing consumers across the board to have fun with a compelling, consistent streaming experience and alleviating the need for media providers to accommodate to the lowest common denominator quality level inside of their audience base.

With their increased viewing times through higher quality true High-definition experiences, firms are now capable to increase their brand interest and marketing revenues as well. They can furthermore benefit from unparalleled network scalability making use of distributed HTTP-based Web servers and offer greater quality to much more clients.

Smooth Streaming is simple enough to conduct. As an user you may not be required to do anything else besides install Silverlight on your Mac or Personal computer. On the other hand if you are a content creator you will need to upgrade your encoding software to one that facilitates encoding to the new Smooth Streaming file format.

In order to stream media assets to clients, hosting providers will need to have IIS Media Services installed on their servers. You will only need to install IIS Media Services on your origin servers. You may need to manage your edge cache/proxy structure as well in order to correctly pass through Smooth Streaming URLs.

Software developers will need to add Smooth Streaming playback support to their Silverlight applications. This is easily done using Silverlight Media Framework with Smooth Streaming Client or by simply using Silverlight player templates integrated in the Expression Encoder.

To design Smooth Streaming presentations you need to encode your videos in a particular way. The same source content would need to be encoded at several bit-rates with each bit-rate being one complete file. The advantage of this is that the user does not have to handle hundreds or even thousands of ‘fragments’ as the server will create ‘virtual fragments’ and will be able to transition between which complete file it is delivering. Presentations with Smooth Streaming can be easily created with the help of the Microsoft Expression Encoder.

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