GoPro cameras have struck a chord by helping people capture and share video of cliff jumps, sky dives and surf wipeouts. Livestream wants to put viewers in the action as it's happening.
Livestream, a major site for broadcasting real-time video over the Internet, updated its iOS app Monday to add live-streaming from GoPro cameras, the rugged recorders that owners attach to cars, surfboards, bike helmets and their own bodies.
"We've received hundreds of requests to add this kind of capability. People try to hack it and live-stream GoPro to a computer, but obviously a computer is not an appropriate thing to carry in an action sport," Max Haot, chief executive of Livestream, said in an interview.
Factors like the improving audio-visual capabilities of today's cameras, smartphones and tablets as well as the widening availability of high-speed mobile networks have spurred a rise in live-streamed video over the Internet -- the number of times somebody broadcasts live on Livestream every month has risen more than 70 percent versus a year earlier.
Combined, those factors have made live-streaming not only higher quality but also more accessible, which has affected events both large (live-streaming was) and small (live kitten cams have proved enduringly popular.) Adding GoPro to the list of cameras supported by Livestream opens up more possibilities of where live broadcasting can go.
The new GoPro feature of Livestream's iOS app connects a broadcaster's iPhone to the Wi-Fi network of the GoPro camera. By tapping a button on the phone app, the touchscreen locks and the feed from the GoPro camera begins to automatically live-stream. So long as the phone stays within range of the camera's Wi-Fi signal and has access to a 4G mobile network, Livestream broadcasters and viewers can take their filming anywhere they, their phones and their GoPros can go.
The app also supports live video filters, allows posting of snapshots to the feed and includes chat functions with viewers whether standing still or jumping off a cliff. The live feature works with all previous versions of GoPro cameras, and the company believes it should work with, unveiled last week, but it hasn't confirmed support for the new camera yet.
To show how the feature looks in action, Livestream has an archived demo video of streaming a live bike ride, featuring co-founders Haot and Phil Worthington, and will be live-streaming kite-surfing from 10 a.m. PT to 1 p.m. PT (1 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET)) Monday.
GoPro was not directly involved in the development of Livestream's app update; the company declined to comment.
"People are watching on Livestream because they want to be connected, they want to be there. What does it feel like to do a wing-suit jump and to see the jump at the same time?" said Haot. "It's live TV, and it makes you feel part of it."
Updated at 5 a.m. PT: with rescheduled timing of kitesurfing event.
Watch Livestream's GoPro kitesurfing event: