Friday, July 18, 2008

Live Mobile Broadcasting with Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon

It's the middle of the summer and the heat is on. The live mobile broadcasting solutions, Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon, got some press in the tech blogs with two stories the last two days.

Beet.TV Associate Producer Kelsey Blodget, posted a new story "Kyte Blows in a Different Direction Than Qik, Flixwagon" that includes an interview with Kyte CEO Daniel Graf, who says that Kyte is really not in competition with with Qik and Flixwagon and has broader focus.
" Kyte is focused on a different market, partnering with entertainment companies including the four major record labels (Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner), MTV Europe and KROQ. It also will support any type of video content, whether online, mobile, live or recorded, while Qik and Flixwagon are primarily concerned with the live cell phone streaming of individual users. Kyte also lets users embed branded, automatically updating players on their websites and allows fans watching a channel on different sites to chat." - Kelsey Blodget, Beet.TV

I've covered Kyte before on this blog and listed the related links below. In particular, there's another interview with Daniel Graf on how Kyte is different from Seesmic, Qik and Flixwagon.

In a related story on TechCrunch Jason Kincaid posted, "Mobile Livecasting Faces Off: Qik vs Kyte vs Flixwagon" that compares the quality of three main mobile streaming platforms. They recruited Sarah Austin of to be the on-camera test subject for the quality tests and recorded a similar clip using each solution. The tests were more subjective than technical and didn't seem to have a set benchmark. Ratings issued on the video, audio and the player and Kyte edged out Qik on video and audio quality only with Flixwagon coming in third. Check out Jason's review to see all the videos.

There were some great comments on the post which listed other live mobile broadcasting applications and some pointing out that the test didn't delve into the technical specifics like this one from Ben:
"Technical comment regarding the comparison, that I think is somewhat wrong(!!!): You could clearly see the video shot on the Flixwagon video shot is much closer to the subject than Qik and Kyte. The surrounding are mostly white and compress better hence video quality of the picture will be better in this framing with all services. Another point not mentioned, I do know that both Qik and Flixwagon have quality settings - and I believe Qik goes up to 640×480 - what were the setting in each broadcast? how “live” was the broadcast? ignoring this is simply rating the default selection of each provider…"

Another comment from N95 was:
"nice comparison, but too simple, i’m afraid. i’m missing a more real-live set of tests using 3G using an adequate “no-delay” / medium resolution setting, which is more likely to be the normal setting for live-streaming, when someone is out and about. also i’m missing the technical details for each test, like resolution, bandwith used, delay, framerate, etc."
Livecast (formerly known as ComView) was also considered but they couldn't get the video to embed so it wasn't included. It supports Windows Mobile 5/6 and Symbian S60 phones, incorporates GPS and does have syndication capabilities for blog, YouTube and Twitter. It sounds like it should be great but formmy experience it actually performed poorly most likely not be a contender.

Regarding players Jason concluded that:
"Preference in the embeddable players will largely come down to a matter of taste. Qik’s player has the best styling, but it lacks the embedded chat features that are found on Kyte (Qik has a chat button in the player, but it doesn’t seem to do anything). Again, FlixWagon falls short in this area - it’s overly simplistic player is neither stylish nor feature-rich."

There are a number of other services available but none of them have had the amount of exposure and user adoption this past year as Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon. I'm currently testing all of these live mobile broadcasting platforms using a trial Nokia N95 compliments of WOM World/Nokia and so far Qik is my favorite. I plan to spend more time with mobile Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon during the next few weeks and publish my finding here on this blog.

Related posts from this blog on Live Mobile Streaming:
A few from other blogs: