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Live Streaming using Windows

How to stream a Live Interactive Webcast from a Windows PC's
(Mac users, check out Alec's Guide and Mac Screencasts here)



What you'll need

Internet Connection
In order to webcast, you need a stable internet connection that provides at least 100kbs upload bandwidth (which means dial-up connections will probably not work). If you plan to have more than one or two people in a skype call or plan to use video, you will probably need a bit more than that. You can test your bandwidth at Speedtest.net , AuditMyPC.com ,or speakeasy.net . You can install NetMeter on your computer to measure and collect real time data on your upload and download speeds.

Hardware

  • Soundcard - you will need a soundcard that has 'stereo mix', 'What U Hear', or 'Wave out mix' as a recording option. If using the 'Two Computer Method', then this is required only on the streaming machine.
    Many recent Dell computers do not come with this option, but you can find information about a work around here.
  • Computer Specs - There are no other fixed minimum hardware requirements, but webcasting with anything less than 512kb RAM or the equivalent of a Pentium 4 would probably be pretty difficult.

Software


Live Interactive Streaming
Once you've succeeded in capturing all audio on your computer, there are several ways to stream this audio so others can hear.
  • Commercial Streaming Services - sites like live365.com and Streamguys.com allow users to stream from their servers for a monthly fee (US$10+/month)
  • Free streaming Services - an ever-increasing number of sites like Ustream.tv, Mogulus, Yahoo Live, BlogTV, Justin.tv, Livevideo.com, and Kyte.tv allow users to stream for free. Most of these are video based, but can be used to stream audio only.
  • Worldbridges Shoutcast & Icecast Streams - after participating in the Webcast Academy, 'interns' can apply for webcasting permission from any streaming community that is part of the network. In order to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server, you need to install a streaming program on your local computer. Examples include Simplecast , SamBroadcaster, Oddcast, & Winamp.
Streaming with Ustream
Screencast

Whichever method you use to stream, you'll need to set 'recording device' or 'audio in' to your soundcard. Most of these tools provide a way to automatically record or 'archive' what is being streamed. Webcasters may want to use Audacity to record as well because it provides a higher quality source recording and also provides a more accurate way to measure audio levels during a webcast. Below are step-by-step instructions for using Simplecast and Ustream.tv to stream.  These basic methods apply to similar tools as well.

Simplecast
Simplecast is a commerical program available from SpacialAudio.com. that can be used to stream to a shoutcast or icecast server. There is a free trial version that does not expire.

  • Open Simplecast. Click 'Start'. Then, click 'Config' and on the 'General Options' page, select your sound card under 'Capture Sound from Device'. Click OK.

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  • You should now see volume meter movement on the right side of the main Simplecast Window.

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  • Click 'Encoders'. Click the '+' sign to add an encoder and choose either 'mp3 and mp3Pro' or 'Legacy mp3'.

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  • In the 'Converter' tab, select a format. Higher bitrates (kb/s) will result in higher quality audio with less stream delay, but may cause problems for those with relatively slow internet connections.

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  • In the 'Server Details' tab, choose the appropriate server type, and enter the access information for the server you're using.

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  • In the 'Stream Archive' tab, check 'save stream to file' and browse to find the directory in which you'd like to save the recording.
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  • When you're ready to stream, RIGHT click the encoder and click 'start'. You should now be streaming. To check the stream, go to the 'listening' page for that stream (i.e. WebcastAcademy.net/live ) and click one of the media player icons. You should be able to hear what is being streamed (with a 20~60 second delay).

Ustream
  • First you will need to register at Ustream.tv

  • Then click 'Broadcast Now' or if you've created a show, click 'My Shows' and then 'Broadcast Now'.

  • Either way, the Broadcaster window should pop up. Click 'allow' when the Adobe Flash Settings window appears.

  • Uncheck 'video broadcast' unless you plan to stream video. Select your soundcard where it says 'Audio Source'. Maximize audio quality unless you notice bandwidth problems. Check your Ustream Volume setting to make sure it isn't peaking too much (volume meter will show red if so). There are additional settings and tools you can use toward the bottom of the window (Advanced settings, create poll, cohost, etc.).

  • When you're ready to start streaming, click 'Start Broadcast'. If you'd like to create a Ustream recording as well, click 'Start Recording'

  • To check your stream, go to your Ustream listen page (i.e. Ustream.tv/webcastacademy) or anywhere you've embeded the Ustream player and click the play button. You'll get some echo when listening, but should be able to hear what is being stream with very little delay.




book | by Dr. Radut