UTrailMe - Live Video Streaming

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For those times when capturing a video and then uploading it afterwards is all too much hassle, for example, something spur of the moment at an event, this is a nice idea. 'UTrailMe - Live Video Streaming' for Windows Phone 8 does exactly what the name suggests, posting a link to your Facebook, Twitter or VK social accounts. All a friend has to do is click the link to see your 'live' video stream from your phone in a player on the utrail.me web site. OK, it's not 100% live and there's the link to follow, but the application works and seems quite well thought out.

The kicker, of course, is that sending video wirelessly over wi-fi or 3G/4G isn't instant, plus the utrail.me server has then got to transcode the video stream in real time and then deliver it to a friend, watching the player on their laptop or desktop. All of which means around a seventeen second delay from real time. It's unlikely that this delay is a showstopper for most users - after all, 17s is pretty close to 'live', but it's something to be aware of.

Something else to be aware of is the data used - reckon on a minimum of several megabytes of data for uploading a minute of footage on the lowest quality setting, and much more (up to 20MB/min) if your connection is fast and you set the quality higher. So watch that you don't exceed what's sensible on your data tariff.

Screenshot, UTrailMe

The app opens with some colourful intro slides, giving you an idea of how the system works...

Screenshot, UTrailMe

Here I opted to give UTrailMe my Facebook credentials - obviously it'll need to post for me with the crucial video link.

Screenshot, UTrailMe

An example of how it looks on the social network - friends see a thumbnail image and clicking on the main 'What I see...' link gets them a VGA-ish streamed video player in their browser.

Screenshot, UTrailMe

While streaming, there are useful status flags along the top of the display and more detailed tech information along the bottom. Here, by filming my own utrail.me video player, I'm starting to get a nice psychedelic effect!

Screenshot, UTrailMe

You can adjust streaming quality if you're very conscious of bandwidth and cost - I left things on 'auto'.

Of course, there's the debate about whether user video needs to be strictly 'live' - sometimes taking the time to shoot video more carefully, trimming off bits and editing before uploading can pay dividends, even if it means a ten minute delay for a one minute clip. And you'll get far higher overall video and audio quality that way. Going down the 'streaming' route inevitably means bandwidth/encoding/playback compromises at every stage and quality suffers fairly horribly.

Interestingly, the developers do admit that this is only an 'initial release'. They say:

As soon as we get feedback from you, we'll roll out next update. What's possible to come: + 100% offline mode for recording (and upload when connection is available) + adapt quality to bandwidth while streaming (now one can do that manually in settings) + sharing to groups + location services support + push notifications + integration with apps

An interesting option, at the very least! You can download UTrailMe here in the Windows Phone Store.

Source / Credit: Windows Phone Central