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Summary:

The Streamin’ Garage, an independent network of live-streamed pop culture commentary, is upgrading its operation to HD streaming video effective tomorrow. But the real excitement may come in 2011, as CEO Mike Rotman pushes closer to blurring the lines between web content and television.

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Get ready, movie, music, fantasy football and Dexter fans: Streamin’ Garage, which independently produces weekly shows on all those topics, is upgrading its livestream to HD quality video thanks to a new tricaster from NewTek.

The technology, according to Streamin’ Garage founder and CEO Mike Rotman (who also directs and co-executive produces Kevin Pollak’s Chat Show), is the exact same as that used by the NBA to manage their television broadcasts, repurposed for the web. “The HD version gives you a lot more graphics options in terms of lower-thirds and virtual green-screening — we can play with a lot of different things,” Rotman said via phone.

Whether those watching on Ustream (Streamin’ Garage’s live distributor) will be able to see it in HD will depend on their Internet connections, but the master footage will be in HD for on-demand distribution to Blip, YouTube, iTunes, Roku, TiVo, Sony TVs and Vizio. “It’ll be good enough for TV,” Rotman said.

The first show to go HD will be tomorrow’s live broadcast of Stripped Down Live, the Curt Smith-hosted acoustic series featuring, this week, up-and-coming soul pop band Fitz & the Tantrums. This week will also see the launch of Wide World of Warcraft, a fifth weekly series for gamers hosted by Milynn Sarley (who recently appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show) and Corey Levin focusing on World of Warcraft news, culture and gameplay.

Since launching in February with flagship series Stupid for Movies, Streamin’ Garage shows have received a total of 1.9 million live views, with individual episodes averaging 60,000 engaged live viewers. “Ustream’s been really happy — they keep featuring us. We’re pushing for two million views by the end of the year,” Rotman said.

And that will lead to 2011, at which time Rotman will start taking the currently non-profit Streaming Garage to the next level. “The first year, the idea was build this up, prove ourselves. And we’ve done that,” Rotman said. “There’s no angel investing, everyone works for free. But in 2011, we’re going to talk to sponsors, go to sales people — brand integration is always there for live content.”

In the meantime, Streamin’ Garage is bringing in “decent” revenue from ads on the Ustream broadcasts as well as YouTube and other partners. “Blip has the best money coming in for on demand,” Rotman said.

And Rotman feels closer to achieving his primary goal: Blurring the line between TV and web content. “In 2011, we’re going to do music shows, we’re going to do game shows — anything you could pitch to TV”, he said.

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  1. Mike Rotman may hate Michigan, but you cannot deny he produces some good shows and is at the vanguard in terms of defining online video.

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