iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners have been left in the cold ever since YouTube Live officially launched last week, with the devices’ YouTube app serving up error messages like “could not load movie” instead of a live stream.
YouTube relies on Flash to deliver live video, and Apple doesn’t support Flash on its mobile devices. Sources within YouTube told me live video will be served to mobile platforms eventually, but there are no immediate plans to extend the live platform to iOS. However, that doesn’t stop a new web app called YTLive that seeks to serve these live videos to iOS users.
Here is how it works: You go to YouTube Live on your iPad or iPhone, copy the link to the stream you want to watch. Then you go to YTLive.co, paste the link into the web app’s form, and the live feed starts playing. The video app also supports full-screen playback, but occasionally seems to have some buffering issues.
YTLive mastermind Wajdi Saoud told us it took him a couple of hours to develop the app. He decided to use Google’s App Engine to host his creation — mostly because it was easier than dealing with a CDN — but the platform choice could also be seen as a stab at Google. After all, if the stream is coming from YouTube’s servers and the app is hosted by Google as well, what is stopping YouTube from officially supporting iOS live streaming?
Either way, YTLive.co is a neat hack, which comes just in time to watch the Coachella festival on the iPad. It remains to be seen however how long it will stay up; YouTube and it’s content partners haven’t always embraced third-party additions to the video site’s platform. For example, Vevo pulled its music from the YouTube API after mash-ups like Muziic made it available without ads.