YouTube goes live to take on TV

Plan to add live video broadcasts to its 73 million clips widen website’s battle with channelsYouTube, the popular video sharing website, is set to challenge established TV broadcasters by offering its own live channels. The plans would enable YouTube’s millions of users to chat from their bedrooms, perform music or report on a breaking news story to a worldwide audience in real time. A birthday party or wedding could be broadcast live to family and friends who are unable to attend. The truly committed could start a 24-hour ‘lifecast’ of their daily activities reminiscent of television’s Big Brother.Born just three years ago, YouTube is now the second most popular site on the internet, according to the online traffic monitor Alexa Internet. It currently hosts around 73 million video clips which are watched hundreds of millions times a day. Its hits have included the teen soap opera Lonelygirl15, a jungle battle between buffalo, lions and crocodiles, and Hollywood star Tom Cruise explaining his passion for scientology.

But [Bill Thompson, a technology commentator] warned that, with the iPlayer already pressuring home internet connections, mass streaming on YouTube could stretch the network to breaking point. ‘If 10 million people are trying to stream live video, it may be the point at which internet bandwidth becomes an issue. If you’ve got a family of four and two teenagers are trying to stream video to YouTube, your emails aren’t going to be delivered, potentially.’

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