A mobile video streaming service Bambuser has made new inroads in Sweden. The service is much (if not exactly) like the US based Qik. Bambuser just announced that they released a widely improved version of our application for Symbian S60 and UIQ.
The problem with live mobile video is two fold: First is latency, which kills any meaningful interaction when it passes a certain very low limit. Second, inverserly correlated with the fist one, is the video quality one is streaming. Naturally, a bad quality kills not only the ablity to interact, but quite successfully also the ability to watch the video at all. These two together are the main culprits to why live mobile video streaming has delivered such a terrible user experience.
But now, in order to keep you as close to real-time as possible Bambuser will drop a few frames here and there which often still allows you to get a good video, but will also store any dropped frame or audio that can't get through while you're live and give you the option to complete your video with this data immediately after your live broadcast. This allows Bambuser to keep latency at a minimum while also providing the viewer with a perfect video when watching on demand. Read more about the release here. In addition to the released version for Symbian S60 and UIQ, we have also heard that the company is coming out with a iPhone version soon.
This in itself is newsworthy, but there's more.
Swedish TV4 used Bambuser as a part of their Live talk show "Kvällsöppet" on Swedish national TV. Bambuser was used to provide a live feed from the home of blogger Marcus Birro who couldn't be there in person but took part in the discussion from a distance.
Now, this might sound like a small thing but when put it in a historical context it can be yet again that little snowball that eventually will turn into an avalanche of mainstream. I am not sure whether the big mainstream will ever see a service just like a Bambuser or Qik, but the concept just took another step: To misquote Neil Armstrong, where this was perhaps a small step for TV4, it could be a giant leap for streaming mobile video even though nobody can tell before we can look at it from the comfort of hindsight. The exact format, device, usage culture and context and much of others things around it will change and evolve, but in one form or another, I believe, there is something interesting about to happen with traditional media practically all but dying. Streaming mobile video might be just a piece to whatever is about the emerge, but I believe it has its role to play.