Pixpo lets you set up your own Internet broadcast station
Pixpo is a neat utility that turns your computer into an Internet broadcast platform. You download Pixpo client software to your PC and point it at your content -- music, photos, videos -- and then program what you want to share into "channels." People on the Net can then view or stream your content, straight from your PC.
But who needs it? If I want to share a bunch of photos, I'm going to put them on a photo sharing site (like Tabblo, my current favorite). If I want people to see a video I've made, it's going on YouTube if I want it to be public, VideoEgg if not. If I have original music to share, I'll want to put it on a big service like iTunes (if I want to share somebody else's copyrighted music, I'll think twice). And if I do put content on Pixpo and it becomes very popular, there's no way my home PC or Internet connection could handle the load. Furthermore, I have to leave my PC on all the time for people to be able to access my files. (Pixpo plans to cache content that gets too popular for an individual's PC to handle.)
There are, however, some people who could really use this. If you have a lot of media but a small audience, Pixpo is a good solution. Who fits that description? Photographers, videographers, or anybody who wants to share media with their family and doesn't want to hassle with uploading to a Web-based service, says Colin How, Pixpo's founder. He says it's much easier for professionals, in particular, to let customers view their media straight from their PC than it is for them to hassle with uploading the images, and potentially paying for hosting. And since you don't have to upload anything to a service, "publishing" files is instantaneous.
This seems like one of those ideas that threads the needle -- fantastic if you fit into the narrow definition of who it's good for, but a bit of a stretch for most everybody else.
On the other hand, this technology could have a big payback for companies currently paying through the nose for bandwidth and storage. YouTube, for example, is spending a fortune to stream all those videos. Pixpo pays nothing for streaming -- its users do. So because of the economic benefits of direct streaming, Pixpo is of interest to companies that promote user-generated content (jargon watch: it's now known as UGC).
Ultimately, Pixpo-like functionality should be an option on UGC services like YouTube. It's good technology, but for most of us, managing yet another sharing service -- even if it's one that resides on our own computers -- is asking too much.
Pixpo will be presenting at the Under the Radar conference next week. I'll be at the event, moderating a few sessions and scouting for companies to cover. Find me there if you've got one.