One to Watch: Qik Live Video

Kyte.tv, Justin.tv, Zannel, Seesmic and the like had better watch out: A startup we just heard about is doing live video streaming directly from cell phones. The service, called Qik, is a product of Santa Clara, Calif.-based Visivo Communications. We haven’t yet had a chance to talk to the company or try it ourselves, but if you have a fancy Nokia phone you should try to get into the alpha test.

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Here’s the big-picture idea from the Visivo about page:

Visivo is an early stage, well funded startup that is pioneering the next generation of video communication experience that is embedded into web pages and social networks and seamlessly works across all devices – from cell phone, game consoles to computers.

The Qik site describes the product as “a little piece of software that enables you to stream videos directly from your phone to the Web.” It supports both private and public video viewing, and you can automatically send your videos to Twitter as well as archive them for later viewing. Visivo’s team, lead by CEO Ramu Sunkara, has experience with video conferencing and VoIP from Oracle and SPIRIT DSP.

As we mentioned above, the technological advance of streaming live from a handset would be a step up from personal video products from companies like Kyte.tv, Justin.tv, Zannel and Seesmic — which either have a lag time for uploading video or require a videocamera that’s an additional standalone device or attached to a cumbersome computer. There are a lot of startups attacking the same market from slightly different angles, but this is one of the first we’ve seen that may have mastered video streams right from the cell phone. We’ll have to see if Qik can survive the pitiful bandwidth we get on mobile networks.

AT&T is also running trials of a live video-sharing service, as it discussed at NewTeeVee Live.

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