Freelance consultant for digital heritage

Live streaming video from the Nokia E71

Recently, while on holiday in Penzance, I saw some spectacular waves breaking on and over the sea defences. It was so amazing, I wanted friends and family to see it as well. I’ve had Qik installed on my phone for a while, going largely unused, so I thought that I’d load it up and give it a try.

Qik allows the E71 (and other S60 phones like the N95) to stream video direct to the web, where people can view it via an embeddable Flash player:

I had a good 3G signal on my E71, so I muted the sound in Qik’s settings (so that we could talk without the world hearing me say “wow!” repeatedly) and set it to “normal” quality (which is less than 320×240), then hit the “stream” button, and away it went, beaming live video to the world.

Qik’s interface on the phone is very simple. It tells you how long you have been streaming for, and what the delay will be for people watching via the web. Sometimes there is a delay (perhaps due to network congestion), but I found that it didn’t take long for the network to catch up, and the streaming video to be more or less instantaneous.

So how do people know that you’re broadcasting live video? When I opened my Qik account (which is free, by the way), I linked my Qik account to my Twitter account. Whenever I broadcast a video, a tweet is sent from my account to all my followers with a link to the live feed. In turn, my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook account, so people on Facebook can see too.

If people want to, they can chat to you while watching. Qik allows viewers to use a text chat window next to the Flash viewer (if you’re watching on Qik’s website) to interact with other viewers. All chats are displayed in the viewfinder on your phone, superimposed over the lower half (not on the streamed video itself, or the archived video). You can then answer questions (with your voice, of course), for example.

When you have finished streaming, the URL for the live stream remains the same, but links to an archive of the stream, which can be watched at any time.

There are other solutions out there for the E71 (I’m aware of Stickam and but since I’ve been so impressed with Qik, I’m not sure I’ll try them!

Link: My videos on Qik