As one of the original pioneers into the live video streaming arena, Justin.tv has definitaly had an impact on live video streaming and the internet as a whole. The site has come a long way from being a sole stream of one of the founders' daily life captured with a webcam attached to his baseball cap and broadcast to the internet via a makeshift rig in his backpack. In fact hundreds of thousands of viewers regularly visit and stream content from the Justin.tv website. That is, until today of course. If you try to visit the website now you aren't greeted by the familiar homepage listing many of the top streams at the moment. No, there is just a single page that announces the end of the Justin.tv website and apps.
In recent years, the site has sort of become a wild west of streaming video channels, full of pirated copyright material broadcast to anybody on the internet free of charge. The channels were not operated by Justin.tv, all channels are created and run by the users. This means that there were tons of streams that the various copyright holders would not approve of, including channels with streams of popular TV shows and movies. This was a good chunk of the appeal of the site, but not all of it. If I want to watch something on my computer I can find it online and download it in a matter of seconds. In this sense, Justin.tv was nothing new or revolutionary. But the site was much more than just a breeding ground for pirated material. There were tons of streams that were legitimate and attracted hundreds and even thousands of viewers at any given time. Among them were people broadcasting their daily lives just like the founder did 7 years ago, radio stations broadcasting their own live video stream of the studio, and much more. The site was also an online community in its own right, offering chat rooms for each channel and other social networking features, allowing users to communicate and share ideas and voice their opinions with other like minded individuals. This, I think, is the feature that is going to be missed the most.
There is a silver lining of some sort, though. Twitch.tv, Justin.tv's video gaming counterpart is still going to remain active. Apparently this is the most popular (read: profitable) part of their business and has no become their main focus. In order to keep growing the Twitch.tv brand, they must halt operations at Justin.tv (or so they say) so that they can focus all their efforts and resources (read: bandwidth) on the one site.
What do you think about this announcement? Did you see it coming? Or are you as devastated as I am? Are there any good alternatives to Justin.tv? What site will you visit now to stream videos? Leave your comments below, I would love to know what everyone else has to say.