At a Glance: Livestreaming apps beyond Facebook Live
Live video is growing more popular as a way for families to share big moments with faraway loved ones and for artists and athletes to connect with fans.
Livestreaming has also made the news in recent weeks as House Democrats used Periscope to broadcast a sit-in over gun control after the Republican majority cut off television cameras. It was also got attention when a Minnesota woman used Facebook Live to stream footage of her dying boyfriend after he was shot by police.
And it might come up during the Olympics if spectators and athletes livestream events publicly—a violation of ticketing and Olympic rules and a challenge to the billions of dollars TV companies pay for rights.
Below are some of the most popular ways to livestream from your phone:
Anyone with a Facebook account can livestream anything using Facebook’s app. To use it, tap the empty box where your status update would go. A menu should pop up with the option for “live video.” A couple of taps later, you are live, broadcasting to your friends. You can change the privacy setting to make your live video public, too. The video is available for replay once you are done. You can delete it or save it on your phone if you want.
The Twitter-owned video-streaming app made its debut about a year ago, well-timed with the exponential growth of people watching and taking videos on their smartphones. You can broadcast to select followers or the broader public. You can share your precise location or keep it private. Viewers can send comments, and streams can be shared on Twitter, Facebook or other social media services.
Seventeen months ago, Meerkat was the darling of the South By Southwest Interactive tech confab, seemingly destined to make livestreaming the next hot thing. Then came Periscope and Facebook Live, and Meerkat’s popularity dropped. The company is no longer focused on livestreaming and has instead “pivoted”—Silicon Valley speak for shifting resources elsewhere when your first (or second, or third) idea doesn’t work.
You sign in with their Twitter, Facebook, Google or Instagram account to stream live videos. YouNow also lets you “discover talented broadcasters” and video chat live with people around the world, as its website touts. Music is an especially popular broadcast topic, but you’ll find the usual stuff as well, such as people livestreaming themselves as they sleep. Zzzzz.
The Amazon-owned livestreaming service started off as a way for gamers to stream their gameplay and show off their skills. Now, Twitch is broadening its reach. It has added channels in its “creative” area for people to broadcast live music, drawing, programming and so on. You can pay a subscription fee for certain benefits on channels, and even tip performers. People can livestream from traditional computers, too—not just smartphones, as most other services require.