Justin.tv: Looking Back on the Free Video Streaming Service

Remembering the popular video streaming service

A screenshot of Justin.tv.

Justin.tv was shut down on August 5th, 2014 so that its parent company could focus on growing its spin-off streaming video platform, Twitch, which is now owned by Amazon and is one of the most popular platforms for streaming digital video broadcasts. We've left the following article for information purposes.

Justin.tv was a live video streaming service created to help users live stream events, parties, presentations, monologues and more—to anyone in the world in over 250 countries. Viewers could use a chatroom on the side of the video to chat and interact in real-time with the video streamer as well as with other users.

At the height of its popularity, the site was seeing about one new video starting to stream each and every second. Users were watching over 300 videos every month.

Why Justin.tv Was so Popular

The platform was really great for communicating a message to a wide audience, especially when that audience was spread out across lots of different locations. At the time, Justin.tv broadcasters could use their live videos to motivate others to take some form of action, pass on a message, encourage people to connect with you on other social networks or tell people about a product they should purchase (or even a cause for which donations were needed).

 These days, however, many social media platforms offer their own live broadcasting tools—most of which can be done conveniently through their official mobile apps. YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram are just a few worth mentioning.

About the Viewers

Justin.tv was free for everyone, but viewers who used the platform often for watching videos had the option to sign up for a Pro account. A Pro account allowed viewers to enjoy videos from all channels without advertisements.

To view videos, users only needed a good internet connection and an internet browser that was up to date. Justin.tv worked like any video site in a web browser with no option to download it as a desktop application.

About the Broadcasters

Unfortunately for users who wanted to broadcast video on Justin.tv, signing up for a Pro account wouldn't do anything to prevent advertisements from showing up on their channels. If they wanted to get rid of ads, they had to refer to the Premium broadcasting page that offered broadcasters all kinds of storage, branding and other solutions.

Like viewer users, broadcasters only needed an internet connection, an up-to-date browser and of course a working webcam to show your video. All that was needed to sign up for a free account to get started was a few personal details and a valid email address. Once an account was set up, a broadcaster could press the big red “Go Live!” button on the top right corner and the Broadcaster Wizard would guide them through the process of getting their video set up.

Saying Goodbye in 2014

Justin.tv might not exist anymore, but there are lots of other great tools available for broadcasting live videos to an online audience. If you’re a broadcaster, there are a few things you should make you sure you have to ensure the streaming experience is a good one for your viewers. Suggestions include:

A strong internet connection: The connection you need will depend on the broadcast tool that you're using. But the better connection you have, the better the video will stream.

Bandwidth: To avoid choppy streaming, it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough bandwidth to match the settings you selected for your video. You may want to look for an option that allows you to lower the quality setting or video bitrate to make the video stream more smoothly, and if you're live streaming on mobile, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi rather than relying on data.

Camera: You can use almost any camera to stream video on most broadcast platforms, including any USB webcam and several USB/Firewire camcorders. Some may even give you the option to use the camera on your mobile device with a compatible mobile app. Obviously, more expensive and more advanced cameras will probably give you better results.

Bandwidth: To avoid choppy streaming, it’s a good idea to make sure you have enough bandwidth to match the settings you selected for your video. You may want to look for an option that allows you to lower the quality setting or video bitrate to make the video stream more smoothly, and if you're live streaming on mobile, be sure to connect to Wi-Fi rather than relying on data.

Lighting: Try playing around the lighting of your video setting. Bad lighting can make the picture look dark, discolored or grainy.