LiveVideo is a video streaming site incorporating live streaming videos with social networking features. The site features videos, messaging, chat, profiles, groups, channels, photos, music playlists and blogging. All of these features can be accessed via the user’s home page on the site. Videos are the main feature of the site, with the other features incorporated around them. Video blogs can be hosted on the site, and their creation is simplified via Livecam, a browser-based video recording tool incorporated into the site.
The social networking aspects of the site are full-featured, making this site much more than a video streaming service. The Livecam capability gives users the ability to maintain a video blog and it’s easy to keep track of friends no matter where the user is located on the site. Videos are well organized and easy to search, and the channel capability makes it easy to subscribe to favorite people’s videos. The LiveVideo feature allows you to embed your content in MySpace or any other website allowing the uploading of HTML code. The LiveShow feature allows users to maintain a live video stream and chat – no recording or uploading required.
LiveVideo was launched in February 20008 by MySpace founder Brad Greenspan. It has maintained a steady growth rate since launch, and currently has well over 1 million users. The site has steadily added features and also provides support to developers wishing to incorporate LiveVideo features into their sites.
LiveVideo’s main competitor is YouTube. YouTube is by far a more popular destination for video streaming, but lacks the full-featured social networking of LiveVideo. Also, there is no Liveshow type capability provided by YouTube – videos have to be recorded before uploading. Other competitors include Mogulus.com, Ustream.com and blogTV, but none of these sites feature the level of social networking features at LiveVideo.
The overall look of the site is somewhat busy, and two menu bars at the top of the page, with some duplicate content, complicate navigation. So there is a learning curve involved in navigating the site. The site is quite responsive, and all of the features work well. Streaming video is uninterrupted, and all of the pages load quickly. The video player interface is clean and intuitive, and you can access other videos by the same person from within a video. The video recording features work seamlessly as well. There do not seem to be any browser compatibility issues with either Internet Explorer or Firefox. There is no advertising displayed on the site.
Registration is free and simple. The user is prompted for a username, password and email address, and users must be over 13 years of age to join. Email confirmation is not required. Once registered, the user immediately given the opportunity to invite their friends to join. Next the user is prompted to update their profile to begin using the site.
There are two additional levels of membership available. The two levels are called Director and Entertainer. These membership levels provide more features for people who want to create their own custom content, plus allow larger file uploads. The extra features include the ability to add annotations to videos and to add headers and trailers. There is no cost to upgrade to Director or Entertainer, but you must select a category (actor, director, producer, comedian, etc.).
LiveVideo is recommended to anyone who wishes to watch or share videos in a social networking setting. The site incorporates a unique mix of features, sort of a combination of MySpace and YouTube. Video creation is easy using LiveShow or LiveVideo, and videos can be uploaded easily using LiveCam. The ability to message, video chat, invite friends and subscribe to channels adds a very personal feel to the site. The videos have a more personal feel to them as well, and video blogging is widespread on the site.