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More streaming video fun: a first look at Qik Live for iPhone

The folks who first showed us video streaming live from an iPhone, Qik, now have an official (non-jailbreak) app available in the App Store.

Like Ustream Live Broadcaster, Qik Live [iTunes Link] is a free iPhone app that streams live video to a web page where friends, relatives, and the world at large can watch and hear what you're currently doing. Qik Live has a very streamlined interface that's simple to use. You'll need to sign up for a free Qik account before you start blasting your video to the world, but you can do that from within the app. The app runs on iPhone 2G, 3G, and 3GS devices on 3G or Wi-Fi networks.

Once you've launched the app and logged in, a pre-broadcast screen appears showing a live image. Settings are changed by tapping on a 320 x 240 landscape image to bring up a small menu. The menu options include muting/unmuting sound, turning chat on/off, setting a video to private, editing the title and description of a broadcast, choosing where to share the video, or sending the last stream to someone via email.
To save batteries, the Qik Live preview turns off the camera after about 90 seconds. Broadcasting is a snap: you start by tapping the red camera button, and stop by tapping the icon a second time. Between those two taps, everything you're pointing the iPhone's camera toward is being sent to the Qik servers and recorded. There was a lag time of about 7 seconds in the broadcast.

Between Qik Live and Ustream Live Broadcaster, Qik is definitely easier to use, but Ustream doesn't lag as much -- in my unofficial tests, there was only about a 2 second lag. Ustream Live Broadcaster provides a much more real-time stream to your viewers than Qik Live. The Ustream broadcast app doesn't have a chat function (the Ustream Viewing Application and Qik do), but it does allow switching to a lower resolution image for streaming in low-bandwidth conditions while Qik Live doesn't. Qik Live records the stream for you on the server, while Ustream Live Broadcaster can record directly to the iPhone. Finally, Qik Live can geotag your streams with user-defined accuracy, while Ustream does not.

Regardless of which app you choose to use, there are embed codes available for dropping a live stream into a web page. With Qik Live and Ustream Live Broadcaster already available in the App Store and more apps undoubtably on the way, 2010 is going to be a fun year for live video. There are screen shots for your viewing pleasure in the gallery below.

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