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DaCast is announcing today its self-serve live video streaming service after about three years of development.

The San Francisco-based company originally set out to create a peer-to-peer for live video streaming technology, as we wrote in mid-2008. But the company pivoted to make its online broadcasting platform into a self-service business, allowing video creators to live stream anything they want.

Stephane Roulland, chief executive of DaCast, says it takes as little as 20 minutes to set up a professional-looking live video stream that anyone can view. He calls it live streaming “for the rest of us.”

“This is a real game-changer, since no one else is doing it today,” he said.

DaCast isn’t charging any upfront fees, license fees, or monthly subscriptions. You don’t have to buy expensive hardware or software to set it up. The service is aimed at independent broadcasters, schools, and other content creators or owners. The company is offering a free trial, giving users accounts with 10 gigabytes of free storage, or enough to broadcast a high-quality video stream to 60 people for 30 minutes.

DaCast has partnered with content delivery network Edgecast Networks, which has a worldwide network that enables the delivery of video to anyone on the web. In other words, DaCast’s service sits on top of Edgecast’s network. DaCast’s software makes it easy to charge fees for the delivery of the live video stream to customers.

DaCast has eight employees and was founded in January, 2008. Its rivals include Ooyala, Brightcove, Live Stream, and Ustream. $650,000 of the company’s funding to date comes from Roulland himself, who has been working on video technology at a variety of startups since 2000. Aldric Feuillebois is the company’s chief technology officer.

Roulland said it took a long time to get the technology done. The original peer-to-peer multicast technology for live streaming was extremely complex and time-consuming, he said. In addition, the price of bandwidth dropped so fast that it wasn’t really worth the effort (since the technology tended to save on bandwidth costs). Roulland said the company plans to add the peer-to-peer technology to its offering eventually. The company plans to make money via the sale of live streaming bandwidth and a commission on its payment transactions and advertising.

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