Live video streaming

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Live video streaming

Postby RedLantern » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:08 pm

Now that smartphones are getting cheaper and more popular, and the quality of the cameras is increasing dramatically, I'm wondering if anyone's thought about the next logical step. Sites like and have free apps for Android and apple phones where you can record video like you normally would except that you can have a "channel" where people can go to your account on one of these services and watch a live real-time (3 second average delay) video as you shoot it from anywhere in the world.

What I'm wondering is if any railfans use these services? Watching a youtube or vimeo movie is cool and all, but watching something live as it's happening is cooler. I'm thinking, if you have a compatible smartphone, sign up for a free account and put the app on your phone. Then if say you get a cab ride (legally) or you're seeing some really rare power, or there's a major derailment that you happen to be close by, any railfan with a smartphone could be a live news reporter.

With these apps, as you're broadcasting live, your phone is still recording the video, but at the same time, while your video is streaming, it's being recorded on the server so you have two copies with one already on the server in a youtube-style player. This way if your phone gets lost or broken you still have your videos already safely online.

Say you know a fellow railfan who would love to be trackside with you to see a certain special or something, but due to health or work is unable to join you, now they can see exactly what you're seeing as you're seeing it.

My suggestion is that if anybody's watching a major event unfolding, post the link to your channel here (and appropriately in any other rail forums/groups you belong to) with the time you're going to start streaming, (say you're chasing a special, just say to check my stream every now and then between the train's departure time and expected arrival time).
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Re: Live video streaming

Postby gprimr1 » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:32 pm

I've considered this as well, but for web chat and stuff.

From what I've found, the big issues are:

1.) Battery life: Camera+ contrast TX (transmitting) is going to eat a lot of battery, very fast.

2.) Signal: While it can be done on 3g, it requires a decent signal. A train moving in and out of populated areas may not hold a signal. Also, sending to multiple people requires eve more bandwidth.

3.) Heat: the phone is going to get hot, and as a result, the radio may run into trouble.

4.) Carriers: Some cell careers don't allow broadcasting via 3G.

There may be a way to do it using Amateur TV if you are a licensed HAM radio operator.
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