Have you always dreamed of speaking to the world but don't have the training or experience to become a professional broadcaster? Do you feel you're destined to be watched and adored by millions of people? Well, if you have a webcam and an Internet connection, Ustream.tv will allow you to start living your dreams.
Ustream started with U.S. Army Officers John Ham and Brad Hunstable who wanted to provide a new way for deployed soldiers to communicate with their families. Before Ustream, soldiers could only use a telephone or instant messenger to talk with their loved ones, limiting their contact to only one person at a time. Officers Ham and Hunstable partnered with Dr. Gyula Feher, and in the summer of 2006, they released Ustream, a "live, interactive video broadcast platform" that allowed soldiers to communicate with friends and family simultaneously across the globe [source: Ustream].
The idea is pretty simple: Provide a common area for a person to broadcast him or herself and allow the broadcaster and viewers to communicate instantaneously. According to the Ustream Web site, it allows "anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size."
Since 2006, Ustream has grown exponentially and moved from a service that helps soldiers stay in touch with their families to an outlet for hundreds of thousands of people to discuss and showcase everything from current world events to the joy of newborn puppies. In fact, the site hosts more than 10 million viewers a month and between 10,000 to 15,000 individual broadcasts every day [source: Ustream]. It requires no downloads and can be embedded just about anywhere.
Are you already dusting off your webcam in preparation for your big debut? Well, before you start sending yourself down the information superhighway, let's take a look at how this service works.