You may have already begun to hear the growing buzz around two relatively new mobile video apps. Well here is the brief overview of what they can do, how you can use them, and which one is best.
By Russ Gethings
What is Meerkat and Periscope?
Basically they are free live video streaming applications for your smartphone or tablet. (iOS only at the moment, although Android versions are in the works).
They allow you to instantly stream live video - of an event, or any happening, or even just yourself going about your day, and instantly notify your Twitter/Social media followers. In turn your followers can engage with each other and you during the live stream.
The apps are designed to facilitate live video streaming for any purpose, from the purely narcissistic, through to citizen journalism, and everything in-between
Live video streaming is of course not new - but being able to stream live video at this quality, and this easily, from a mobile device for free is ground-breaking - and available to anyone right now.
You could stream a key note event or opening event live, report live from an incident or happening, share your working practices or procedures with a select audience, hold Q&A's, broadcast news, stream a meeting or presentation live, etc.
Differences between the apps
Both are very similar - here are key features
Periscope lets you broadcast live video to the world. Going live will instantly notify your followers who can join and comment (and provide instant feedback via animated hearts)
Pros and cons
Replay: When your broadcast is over, you can make it available for replay so viewers can watch later. Replays currently last 24 hours. You can delete your replay at any time.
Private: If you want to broadcast to specific people, press the lock icon before going live and choose who you want to invite to your broadcast.
Twitter: You can choose to share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter by tapping the bird icon before you start broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a link so that your Twitter followers can watch on the web (or in the app)
Notifications: You can notify your followers when you go live and be notified when others you are interested in go live with their own streams
Hearts: Periscope keeps track of how many hearts you get from your viewers. The more hearts, the higher you get in the “Most Loved” list.
Meerkat allows you to stream live video from your iPhone or iPad to all of your Twitter followers at once. Press 'Stream', and instantly your live video stream shows up in your follower's Twitter feeds.
When your followers also have the app, they will also get notified with your live stream and can watch, comment and interact with it using the app.
Pros and cons
Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.
Streams will be pushed to followers in real time via push notifications.
People can only watch it live. There are no reruns.
You can save your streams to your phone, but Meerkat will never keep them.
Watchers can retweet any stream to their followers in real time.
Everyone can watch on web.
Which one is best?
It's too soon to favour one over the other - however it’s worth noticing that Periscope is owned and produced by Twitter. As both apps utilise Twitter, it may be that Periscope will be treated more favourably (as was Vine over other micro-video blogging apps)
In fact Twitter has already been a bit heavy handed towards the rival Meerkat, and since it was launched disabled some of its early features.
The main benefit of Meerkat over Periscope is its simplicity. There's zero learning curve involved. It’s so easy to use and get up and running that even a child could do it.
However for me the overriding benefit of Periscope over Meerkat is the ability to replay your live broadcasts, and allow followers to see your live steams after they have already been aired live - which if they missed your live stream is extremely valuable.
But for now the jury is out on which one will reign supreme - so I advise that you download both apps and have a play.
How to get the apps
Simply download them via the Apple App Store or via iTunes - links below:
You can follow Russ on Twitter here
Image via Russ