Monday, 9 September 2013

Lightweight Open (Open Source) Streaming Software Stack

Continuing with putting myself out there and sharing some of the ideas I had in the past for possible start-ups, here is one that I journal'ed in October 2006, back when really no one was talking about user-generated content or become your own private-broadcaster.  Youtube only released live channels somewhere around 2010/2011, so the emphasis for me here is that my ideas were not that wildly off... So yeah, we have most of this already, but in 2006 when I had the idea, no one really was pushing publicly for this, and it flowed naturally as a feature extension to you-tube, and now other social networking sites as well!

Posted 17 October 2006 
I imagine in the not-too-distant-future that any device with a display (reasonable size), integrated camera (this is the future), network connection (ethernet, wifi, cell radio, usb) and built-in speaker/microphone - will want to participate in the live media streaming phenomenon. Be it mobile phones, handheld games, integrated digital cameras(camera with networking, combo PDAs, etc), PSPs, GameCubes, XBox'es, STBs, etc, etc.

The numbers speak for themselves: Mobile phones have surpassed the 1 billion mark in 2004/2005. Handheld games have topped the 100 million mark; and the number of digital cameras is growing all the time. Not forgetting integrated PDAs that are GPS receivers, mobile phones and media players all-in-one.

All these devices provide for some form of content consumption. Coupled with a network connection, the next stage would be to share this content or even stream it...(Forget power requirements for now - assume the power/battery life is already sorted)

Basic Idea: Provide an open lightweight Streaming Software Stack (not a thick middleware) that can be easily ported to a variety of platforms; and integrated seamlessly with other technologies. The software will enable any device with a network connection with or without an integrated display to stream to anyone that's interested (variety of models will probably exist here). It would be better if there was an integrated camera that you could use to stream your live video (could act as video phone).

Could charge a royalty for this stack, or sell it once off - easily re-use STB middleware IPR to provide this stack - If I had my own start-up; I would definitely want to include this software stack in my portforlio!!

If this were possible (bandwidth, network & streaming issues aside) the scenario would be:
- A service provider on the web provides the facility to members of streaming content live (near realtime) or recorded
- Members will have user accounts, etc
- Members themselves will be able to setup individual user accounts that grant web surfers access to their content

For example: My portable (A/V capture) device will connect to the intermediary streaming server. The streaming server will receive and simulataneous stream the content to interested users (i.e. connected).

This will really open up the world of content sharing - literally, anyone can be a broadcaster. People can act as reporters, reporting all sorts of interesting/weird things - people can share live experiences with family/friends located at different ends of the globe, etc, etc....

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