There are so many things happening around the world that it’s impossible for anyone to witness them all in person – unless they have a time machine looking like a blue telephone box, of course. Luckily, one does not need a fantasy device or superpowers to watch a concert in Barcelona and still be home for dinner in Anchorage or spend the last evening of the year with watching fireworks from all corners of the globe. The technology that makes this possible is called live video streaming, and it has been improving our lives since the mid-1990s.
If television was considered a device that brought the world into our homes, live video streaming through the internet has taken things several steps further. Today, you can sit in your home in the US and watch a performance streamed from a music festival in Hungary. You can watch Earth slowly spin underneath by watching a live stream from the International Space Station. You can keep an eye on the volcanoes of Finland, watch a massive tropical fish tank modeled after the coast of Palau or play roulette at the Vegas Palms hosted by pretty dealers dressed up as Playboy bunnies. Vegas Palms provides Playboy live dealers with the finest digital video streaming technology, taking you right inside their studio – you can play while sitting at home, without having to put on pants even. All these thanks to live video streaming technology.
Internet streaming has been around for longer than many of you might have thought. The first concert broadcast live over the internet happened in 1993 when a Palo Alto, California based garage band called Severe Tire Damage streamed its concert from Xerox PARC (a research and development company). It was just the first in a line of many – their example was followed by rock legends The Rolling Stones, who broadcast their November 1994 concert live over the web. Severe Tire Damage returned online, too, as an “opening act” for the Stones. This time, the whole world (especially the press) watched.
As formats became more efficient and networks faster and more reliable, streaming has gained a lot of traction. Internet radio and audio streams became well-known for many. In time, services like Pandora in 2004 and Spotify in 2006, offering people the music that they want on the device they want it on. YouTube arrived in 2005 and started pushing the idea of streaming formats into the minds of the masses when it was bought by Google in 2006. And all this culminated in the live video streaming we know today.
Some services, like Twitch, aimed at users streaming their lives and their video games, Periscope, Facebook Live, and many others. YouTube, too, offers such services to its users, allowing us to attend music festivals and sports events, the Oktoberfest and the Carnival of Rio without having to set a foot outside our living rooms.