iChat AV evolves uses beyond videoconferencing due to limited user base

“Marc Zeedar has found a novel use for Apple Computer’s new iChat video-conferencing software — broadcasting pay-per-view soccer games to his brother across town. Zeedar, a designer, programmer and writer from Santa Cruz, California, discovered he can use his camcorder to connect his TiVo digital video recorder to his Mac. The camcorder has analog video-in jacks, which let it import video from just about any source, including a VCR or a TiVo. It also has a FireWire port, which makes it compatible with iChat AV. When it is hooked to his Mac, Zeedar can use the camcorder as a webcam for video conferencing. But when his TiVo is plugged into the camera, Zeedar can broadcast pay-per-view soccer games to others. ‘It’s very cool,’ said Zeedar. ‘He can watch my soccer channels from his home. Or anywhere, really,'” reports Leander Kahney for Wired.

“Zeedar has used iChat AV for other things, too, like remotely trouble-shooting a friend’s Mac (his friend copied error messages into the software’s text window) and making free international phone calls with the audio chat component. The one thing Zeedar hasn’t used iChat AV for is two-way video conferencing. The problem is, no one he knows has the requisite setup,” Kahney writes. Read “101 Uses for Apple iChat” from Wired’s Leander Kahney here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple can extend iChat AV’s audio and/or video capabilities into other networks such as AOL’s AIM, watch out! Right now, it’s easy to see how great iChat AV can be, if you have a broadband connection and someone else with whom to videoconference. As is too often the case with Apple technologies, Mac users know about it, rave about it, and can use it while the rest of the world blissfully types just text back and forth or use really bad videoconferencing tools that produce images comparable to those from a ’28 GE “Octagon” Scanning Disk set that makes iChat AV video look like a DLP HDTV in comparison. This could be a “killer app,” but only if Apple and partners can get it working with more people, read: Windows users.


  1. Actually, didn’t Steve mention when he showed it off that the AV portion was open sourced? He encouraged the PC world to take it and catch up to Apple. Seems that so far, no programmers are interested…and then the PC world points at us and says, see, no one can connect with you!

  2. Yeah, i can do the same thing with my Formac Studio DV/TV it uses firewire to connect to my computer, so it reads it as a digital device, so when i open a one way video conferencing with some of my friends, they are watching wahtever channel i have it on. It’s very neat.

  3. No, Jobs did NOT say anything about iChat AV being open source. He said that the videoconferencing component was based on open standards. Which standards those are he didn’t specify.

  4. Open source at Microsoft? That’s a direct contradiction. They couldn’t even leave HTML alone, but had to get their ego-driven proprietary fingers into it.

    Apple creates advanced, innovative, open standards, technology and invites others in the industry to use it, spread it and flourish with it. Then Apple gets bashed for not conforming to Microsoft’s draconian primitive ways to “be more compatible”. Rather than Apple degrading its standards to meet the masses, Microsoft can swallow a little pride (if there’s any left) and bring Apple’s open technologies to their users.

    The question isn’t “Why doesn’t Apple make this for Microsoft users?” but it should be “Why is Microsoft withholding these OPEN technologies from their users?”

  5. The way broadband is going nowadays, it’s going to be cheaper to pay for the pay-per-view event than to stream it to your brother if everyone starts doing it.

    Pay-per-view soccer? That’s sacrilege.

  6. Yep — I have a FireWire based Dazzle A/DV converter that accepts any sort of analog composite or S-video plus two channels of audio — the iChat sees the Dazzle input as a valid FireWire input — just for kicks, was broadcasting a VHS tape played on my VHS tape deck, with the VHS analog signals converted by the Dazzle box in real time, fed through to iChat and rendered full screen on my chat-buddy’s screen, on the other end of the iChat session/connection — worked perfectly.

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