WinBroadcaster is a new app for non-professional streamers—those who need to broadcast and record video content in order to promote their business, but are not ready to hire a professional team or invest into advanced equipment and software. We reached out to Michael Garanin, who had a working prototype ready in just 2 weeks, to speak about the product and his experience with MFormats SDK.
Michael’s pitch is about ease of use and super-quick onboarding:
With your libraries it would have been possible to build a vMix alternative, but that was never the goal. vMix is complicated, you need to figure it out. The idea was to create a very simple product for someone who needs to produce simple but stylish broadcasts. The goal was to allow users to start their broadcast in less than 2 minutes.
JustBroadcaster, the original product for MacOS, had been around since 2016. The first version even had it’s own streaming server, but when Facebook rolled out their solution, Michael decided that competing with the giants no longer made sense and focused solely on building a simple app for broadcasting.
WinBroadcaster has just the right set of features—just those that would be used by an independent coach, a social media marketer or a weatherman from Arkansas: logos, backgrounds and pre-defined CG sets, lower thirds, screen capture, chroma key, support for multiple cams and local recording of broadcasts. For the sake of simplicity, it’s even locked to 25 FPS—Michael believes that his users don’t need to get into such details. Direct integrations are made with YouTube and Facebook; everything else is supported via RTMP (Periscope, Wowza, etc.).
WinBroadcaster retails for just $25 annually. As Michael puts it:
My main competitor is the free OBS, but it is a product from geeks for geeks. They seem to believe that the more buttons they add, the better. My customers value their time and prefer to buy my product instead of figuring things out.
A vMix Call alternative
One of the planned features for WinBroadcaster is a way to dial in to the “studio”, which will be implemented via WebRTC (available in MFormats).
Without MFormats it would have been quite a pain—I know what I’m talking about since I’ve been working with libwebrtc for the Mac version.
Michael believes that this new feature will allow school kids to create their own news productions, that will look quite professional, especially when viewed on mobile screens.
The MFormats experience
In about a year and a half after releasing the Mac version Michael decided that he was ready to work on the Windows version. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to do it without a solid third-party framework to rely on:
Without your framework I’m not even sure I would have started working on the Windows version — there’s just too much pain in building apps for this platform. The advantage of Macs is that there’s much less diversity in hardware, and there’s usually Quick Sync on board.
When Michael set out to find a framework to build his solution with, he drafted a list of requirements — such as screen capturing of windows, RTMP encoding and support for popular I/O hardware. Also, his goal was to build a solid solution that would easily run on laptops and Microsoft’s Surface:
What captured my attention was GPU-powered encoding and WebRTC support. The GPU was very important since it brings battery use down, which is super-critical for my users.
The first thing he looked at was the license — our’s was straightforward and clear. Ease of licensing and not needing to pay any royalties was important.
The price was also a deal-breaker. Being an indie shareware developer, Michael considered his investment carefully: he knew that his own development resources were limited, and our product allowed him to move forward quickly.
It seems that the investment paid off: the first working prototype was ready in just 2 weeks, most of the remaining work was polishing the UI and implementing licensing (i.e. making the product sellable). Of course, Michael new what he was doing — since the Mac version of the product had been available since 2016. The conversations he had with Mac users allowed him to understand what he wanted to build into the Windows version.
I believe you have the best product on the market, and I am happy to recommend it. Also, it is important that you guys have been around for a long time. I would never suggest GStreamer for a commercial product.
Thanks, Michael, for sharing your experience—we truly hope that we can help you build an even more successful business with the new Windows version!