live video to remote computer?
December 30, 2009 12:16 PM   Subscribe

Hello. Is it possible to send a live video/audio signal to a remote computer in another state?

I'd like to send live video to a disabled friend in Missouri of the sites of Southern California. So I would be wandering around outdoors with a digital camera, and I would want it to be sent to his computer live. I have a duo quad core Mac Pro and he has a fast PC. Is that even possible?

thanks in advance
posted by ConnieL to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can stream video/audio with Ustream and (I believe) set it up so that your stream is password protected. That would allow you to limit the ability of people to find/watch the stream to just your friend.

Beyond that, you'd need a camera capable of sending the video/audio. If you are stationary and doing it from a computer, that is pretty easy as any webcam would do. If you want to do it remotely or on the go, your biggest issue is internet connectivity. A cell-phone w/ video capability is your best bet (Iphone, Motorola Droid).
posted by tommccabe at 12:24 PM on December 30, 2009

Something like Justin.TV? It's been a while since I've visited it (looks like it's not all life-casting now). But when it was just the founder he wore a webcam clipped to his hat, fed into a laptop in a book bag and I believe a 3G card (maybe this could be replaced by wifi, depending on the area).
posted by syntheticfaith at 12:25 PM on December 30, 2009

Or if you do have an android enabled phone, check out the application QIK, which on some phones does allow live streaming.
posted by syntheticfaith at 12:26 PM on December 30, 2009

The answer is "Yes, but not necessarily for a price you're willing to pay."

If what you want is to take a video camera and directly send streaming video to a computer on the internet, that's going to be problematic. I don't know of any net-capable wireless cameras, or any cameras with a transmission range more than a couple of hundred feet, if that.

But there are quite a number of wireless video cameras which can transmit their information to a receiver somewhere nearby. A little google-fu reveals a large number of potential devices, mostly geared for home security, but a number which look like they might work just fine.

The catch is that you're going to need 1) a computer to which you can connect the receiver within a relatively short range, and 2) a means of connecting that computer to the internet. This almost certainly entails a laptop and a wireless broadband subscription, neither of which is terribly cheap. The latter will probably cost more than the former over a year. Once you can get the camera to send video/audio to the computer, and the computer to connect to the internet, you can use Skype or a similar service to do a video call easy as pie.

So for $75-200 ($500-600 if you don't already have a laptop) plus $80/month, yeah, you can do this easy. But I'm not aware of a way of doing it for less.
posted by valkyryn at 12:29 PM on December 30, 2009

What kind of cellphone do you have?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:37 PM on December 30, 2009

how about logmeincom. works like a champ for me.
posted by chasles at 12:39 PM on December 30, 2009

QIK also works with S60 phones, and is what I'd use for this.

Well, that or skype.
posted by pompomtom at 1:32 PM on December 30, 2009

Why not use Skype?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:37 PM on December 30, 2009

Yeah, Skype does this for free: video and voice over the internet. Just do that.

However, I don't have any idea how you would send the video from the camera to your computer, ConnieL. That's sort of the magical-sounding part of this. Could you at least begin to tell us what kind of camera you have? I mean, you told us about the computer, but the computer doesn't really matter very much; what matters is the camera. Most video cameras don't just send video wirelessly, so this is likely to be the biggest difficulty.
posted by koeselitz at 1:59 AM on December 31, 2009

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