YouTube has started trialling a live video streaming platform in conjunction with Young Hollywood, Next New Netwrorks, Howcast and Rocketboom.
The move has been rumored for years. While the company has offered live broadcasts of individual events in the past, the video streaming technology has been supplied by third parties such as CDN Akamai, whereas the new service will use its own content delivery network.
"This new platform integrates live streaming directly into YouTube channels; all broadcasters need is a webcam or external USB/FireWire camera," says product manager Joshua Siegel. "Included in the test is a “Live Comments” module which lets you engage with the broadcaster and the broader YouTube community."
The trial will last only two days, kicking off this morning with an hour-long variety show from Rocketboom. Based on the results, says Siegel, it will be rolled out worldwide. "Bear with us as we test this new platform as there may be some bumps along the way," he warns.
While YouTube will face competition from the likes of Ustream.tv, Livestream and Justin.tv, it already dominates video on the web, with over 140 million unique visitors a month - 50 times as many as any existing live video streaming company.
Amateur film-makers shouldn't get their hopes up, though, as the service will be restricted to YouTube's official partners. The company has no plans to let ordinary users get in on the act and cause it any more headaches over decency or copyright.