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P O O L    S H O O T E R

The Adventures of FastMikie
in search of Truth and Beauty in the art of pocket billiards.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Free Streaming Video: Everybody's Doing It, even me!

It seems like free streaming video for pool matches started relatively recently, maybe about a year ago.  The first I saw was produced by The Action Report
and it was very well done.  It seemed like it would have been very expensive for all that bandwidth, and the cameras, etc.  Little did I realize that the bandwidth was free, because they used the services of Ustream.tv.   Later, the IPT - International Pool Tour started doing some free streaming, also using Ustream.tv.

That got me to checking out just how difficult it would be to do a live, streaming video directly from FastMikie's Fun House (my living room!).  So I pointed my browser to Ustream.tv and nosed around and a few clicks later and my MacBookPro was sending live streaming video around the planet.  Well, ok, nobody was watching because nobody knew about it, but hey, it was working!  

It wasn't the best clarity because I was using the built-in webcam on the Mac.  I tried to hook up my Hi-Def video camera for a much better streaming video, but that gave me some challenges at the time.  That's the next step.

Last night I was watching The Reno Open being streamed by AZ Billiards using Justin.tv. The video was only a little jerky, but it was still good enough.  Things can only get better.

Soon enough there will be a ton of sites streaming pool, from pool halls to garages and basements and living rooms all over the world.  Truly a thousand channels and nothing worth watching, most of the time.

Once in a while, like today, there will be more than enough.  For example, at noon Pacific time, the Reno open finals will start, and a world away, the Mosconi cup will also be running, probably concurrently, and both streaming video to anyone who wants it. Watching both at the same time could cause brain damage!  

The benefit I see for myself to broadcast from my own home table is Learning. For example, my instructor El Maestro, could watch one of my practice sessions from his home, or wherever, and not have to make the long drive to be here in person.  He could watch my pattern play and make comments either via text or on the phone, which could be on speaker phone, or even another video chat setup such as Gmail or Skype.  The possibilities are expanding!

One thing missing at this time are features I get with TiVo, such as time-shifting, or subscribing to a video, having it automatically recorded for later view, or pause the live stream, replay, slow-motion, etc.  These will surely come as the technology evolves.

What fun!


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