Periscope, the video-streaming app on iOS and Android devices, is undoubtedly the success of the century – but it has some serious failings, which we plan to address.
The figures speak for themselves.
Four months after it launched on March 26, 2015, on August 2 the Periscope app surpassed 10 million accounts. That equates to over 25 years of watched time live every day. It is now localised in 29 different languages.
It is not the only game in town, however. There is also Meerkat, which was launched a month ahead of Periscope. Like Periscope, Meerkat is big business, attracting over $12 million in funding.
So what’s not to like?
The big issue is that Periscope is not available on any of the billions of desktops running variants of the Windows operating system, nor on any Windows phone. (It can be run on Windows via an Android emulator, a dodgy work-around at best.)
There are several issues with Periscope, which are being dealt with. For instance, at first the app could only be used in portrait orientation, but this has now been addressed so far as the iOS version is concerned. The Android app has a tendency to mirror-image what it is streaming, so left is right, and vice versa.
On an iPad, it depends on there being pace available if it is to be saved to camera roll. And this option must be chosen immediately after streaming ceases. While a stream is available on Twitter for 24 hours (after which it is automatically deleted), there is no direct way to save a stream to Youtube.
(However, the good news is that if “save to Vimeo” automatically from the camera roll has been made the default, it will appear there almost immediately.)
When the app begins to broadcast on iPad, by default it streams from the rear camera. Switching from that view to the front-facing camera, showing the operator, has to be done while on air, with unavoidable camera wobble. This is achieved with a double-tap on the screen, but this cannot be done before the broadcast begins.
There is no zoom or macro ability.
The only way external audio or video can be incorporated in a stream is by pointing the camera at the screen (this is what was done, for instance, during a recent HBO transmission of Game of Thrones). Quality is dependent upon TV resolution, of course.
All these issues are why the technical team behind this CTRL-V IT blog has decided to develop a Periscope clone, called UPscope.
Initially UPscope will be developed for Windows, but we are also developing the file-sharing capabilities so more effective and professionally-styled telecasts can be transmitted.
Integration with Meerkat is also under development, so that streams can be made available via Meerkat’s Katch and the #lookats chat facility.
♦ Go to http://bit.ly/upscopefunding
to help fund this project.