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Home page of Justin.tv displaying Justin.tv's headquarters.
URL http://www.justin.tv/
Slogan "Live Streaming Video"
Type of site Live video broadcasting, Video hosting
Registration Optional
Available language(s) Various
Owner Justin.tv, Inc
Created by Justin Kan, et al.
Launched March 19, 2007
Current status Active

Justin.tv, founded in San Francisco by Justin Kan, is a network of diverse channels providing a platform for lifecasting and live video streaming of events online. The original Justin.tv was a single channel that evolved into the Justin.tv network of thousands of diverse channels. Paul Graham, of the seed capital firm Y Combinator, initially funded US$50,000 to Justin.tv.[1]

Justin.tv has been compared to EDtv, Being John Malkovich, and The Truman Show.[2] Wearing a webcam attached to a cap, Kan decided he would wear the camera 24/7, and he began streaming continuous live video and audio at midnight March 19, 2007.[3] The novelty of the concept attracted media attention, and the resulting interviews included Ann Curry on the Today Show (April 2, 2007), Tom Merritt on the first episode of CNET Live, Nightline (April 6, 2007) and World News Tonight (April 8, 2007).


[edit] Background

Justin Kan speaking at Gnomedex in 2007

Justin.tv follows the tradition of sousveillance, i.e. the recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity. Justin.tv builds upon other previous similar projects also featuring 24/7 live Internet streaming including:

[edit] Technical details

Originally, the mobile broadcasting hardware consisted of a proprietary Linux-based computer in a box, four Evolution-Data Optimized USB networking adapters, a commercially produced analog to MPEG-4 video encoder and a large Lithium-Ion battery with eight hours of running time. The setup currently used is one wireless EVDO networking card and a wearable computer (a Sony Vaio TX in a backpack)[5]. The video is streamed at ten frames per second from Kan's location using a commercial off-the-shelf product from on2 (Flix(R) Publisher for Live Broadcasting)[6]. Justin described his project as "lifecasting."[3] The computer is responsible for taking an encoded video stream from the camera and sending it to the main website. The backpack and system was developed by Kyle Vogt,[7] one of the four Justin.tv founders. At times in the past, the computer overheated in the backpack, and the video feed stopped. This was mitigated by a switch to standard laptop hardware, running Windows and the Adobe Media Encoder. While Justin.tv claimed to be live 24/7, the stream frequently went down. Kan removed the capcam at night, switching to a camcorder on a tripod. The Office Cam, run in 640x480 high resolution (usually minus audio), shows the main office area where the Justin.tv staff works.

[edit] Expansion

In the summer of 2007, Justin.tv became a platform for more than 60 different channels.[8] Beginning July 21, 2007, channels were listed by popularity, starting with the most popular on the left. The Directory at the top of each channel in the Justin.tv network shows which channels are live and which are not broadcasting. Depending on the entry time, a visitor might see only a small selection of the available channels.

By August 2007, channels were being added at an average rate of two a day, with content covering both lifecasters and event streaming. The international locations range from Australia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and France to the Netherlands and Sweden. In some cases, a lifecaster might travel from one country to another, as was the case when Lisa Batey traveled from Brooklyn to Tokyo and Kyoto in 2007 and 2008. Not all the participants have mobile equipment, however, and most simply transmit an image of themselves sitting at their computer. During this same time frame, singer-songwriter Jody Marie Gnant and others began lifecasting independent of Justin.tv on Ustream.tv and elsewhere.

On October 2, 2007, Justin.tv became an open network, allowing members of the public to register and broadcast.[9] By April 10, 2008, Kan stated in an Interview with Tom Merritt that Justin.tv had signed 30,000 broadcasting accounts.[10]

On March 14, 2008, Justin.tv added selectable Categories for broadcasters including: Featured, People & Lifecasting, Sports, Music & Radio, Gaming, News & Tech, Animals, Entertainment, Divas & Dudes. [11]

On Friday, June 27, 2008, Justin.tv added networks to the site, in which the user can make their own network with a forum, and officers that act as moderators for the network.[12]

On Monday, October 27, 2008, Justin.tv added Headlines which allows users to make reports on other broadcasters doing interesting things on the site, which then becomes edited and published for all users on the website to read and comment.[13]

[edit] Pranks

Justin.tv has been targeted by pranksters. Because the site released its call-in number, a user was able to spoof the caller ID on phone calls, using an IP Relay service. On March 21, 2007, a user called the San Francisco Police Department and filed a false report about a stabbing in the apartment. Viewers witnessed two police officers entering the apartment minutes later. The following day, someone reported a fire at the apartment. Six firetrucks immediately responded, but because this occurred outside, it was not caught on camera. The San Francisco emergency services then put Justin.tv's number on a list which requires a confirmation call before responding to any emergencies.[14] Kan changed his number and kept the new one private. Other Justin.tv lifecasters have also been victims of pranks.[citation needed]

Justin.tv has also been targeted by hackers. Some events include exploitation of XSS vulnerabilities, spam to influence removal of a user or XSS worms.

[edit] Live Suicide

On November 20, 2008, 19-year-old Abraham K. Biggs committed suicide while broadcasting to a room full of viewers on his Justin.tv channel by ingesting an overdose of benzodiazepine and opiates. He was also struggling with bipolar disorder[15][16][17][18][19] Biggs posted his suicide note online, as noted in The New York Times:

Much of the evidence of Mr. Biggs’s suicide and the reactions of users was removed from BodyBuilding.com and Justin.tv after his death was confirmed. But according to a chronology posted by a fellow user, Mr. Biggs listed the pills he had obtained and posted a suicide note that he had copied from another Web site. He directed people to his page on Justin.tv, where anyone can plug in a webcam and stream live video onto the Internet. In a chat room adjacent to the live video, the “joking and trash talking” continued after Mr. Biggs consumed the pills and lay on his bed, according to the user, who said he tried to reach the local police from his home in India.[20]

The boy's father, Abraham Biggs, Sr., says those who watched share some blame in his son’s death.[21]

Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel stated, "We regret that this has occurred and respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time. We have policies in place to discourage the distribution of distressing content and our community monitors the site accordingly. This content was flagged by our community, reviewed and removed according to our terms of service.”[22]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Live From San Francisco, It's Justin Kan's Life
  2. ^ Yang, Jeff. "Asian Pop: Man with a Cam" San Francisco Chronicle, March 27, 2007.
  3. ^ a b Coyle, Jake. ABC News: "Justin Kan Vlogs 24/7 at Justin.tv," March 27, 2007.
  4. ^ http://wearcam.org/carpe/index.htm
  5. ^ TechCrunch announcement of the Justin.tv launch
  6. ^ http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/prnewswire/NYTH05704102007-1.htm
  7. ^ Kyle Vogt
  8. ^ Guynn, Jessica (2007-05-29). "Can't get enough Justin? You can watch Justine: 'Natural star' ready to take on leading role in the latest around-the-clock Web show". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/05/29/BUGUEQ1V8B1.DTL&hw=ezarik&sn=001&sc=1000. Retrieved on 2007-08-24. 
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Nick (2007-10-02). "Justin.TV Teams Up With On2 And Opens Network" (in English). TechCrunch. http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/10/02/justintv-teams-up-with-on2-and-opens-network-finally. Retrieved on 2007-10-05. 
  10. ^ Merritt, Tom. CNet Live. [1], April 10, 2008.
  11. ^ Kan, Justin. Justin.tv Blog. [2], March 14, 2008.
  12. ^ Justin.tv Blog: Biggest Release Ever!
  13. ^ http://blog.justin.tv/2008/10/new-feature-headlines.html
  14. ^ TechCrunch - Viewer Prank: Police Raid Justin.tv
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ Gannes, LIz. "19-year-old Commits Suicide on Justin.tv," NewTeeVee, November 20, 2008.
  17. ^ "Suicide on lifecasting site?", iReport, November 20, 2008.
  18. ^ Wired
  19. ^ bodybuilding.com forum
  20. ^ Stelter, Brian. "Web Suicide Viewed Live and Reaction Spur a Debate," The New York Times, November 24, 2008.
  21. ^ MSNBC
  22. ^ "Horror as teenager commits suicide live online," Times Online, November 22, 2008.

[edit] External links

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