Back in August, Microsoft acquired Beam, an up-and-coming livestreaming site. Beam has been in the business of super-low-latency streaming for over a year, and has seen a growth in popularity since the acquisition. Since then, Beam has teased fans with the aptly-named ‘#December’ event to launch in December this year. It’s December, and Beam’s Matt Salsamendi took to the company’s blog to discuss the #December changes officially.
Here is a quick list of all the areas and topics Salsamendi discusses:
- New UI Language and Design
- Insane Performance
- Increased Bitrate/Resolution Support
- A New Homepage
- Deep Chat Improvements
- A Brand New Player
- Xbox Live Login
- A Brand New Logo
As well as a list of the upcoming changes:
- Beam on Xbox
Beam’s UI and design language has been somewhat streamlined since it launched and evolved since then. With #December, the site is streamlining further with more visual consistency across all aspects and pages of the site, as well as “new kinetic animations for transitions and interactions”.
The site’s performance has been high criticized at the same time it’s been praised, so #December will work to unify the experience with 60 FPS site-render performance. And while your mobile device may not have a dedicated Beam app, mobile web usability is also to be improved for a better experience.
Beam has supported 1080p and 60 FPS for a bit, but #December brings backend improvements that up the quality even further. Streamers can now stream at up to 1440p at 60 FPS, and the maximum bitrate has been increased to 10 Megabits per second.
The biggest and most noticeable change is that Beam’s homepage has been hugely redesigned. With more open space to showcase the featured stream(s) and streamer(s), visitors have a better and generally prettier interface to start the Beam experience off with.
While watching and chatting during a stream, viewers see the player for a lot of time, and that’s why the player has been improved even further. Beam integrated an HTML5 player a while ago, and kept Flash as a legacy alternative, but with #December, the Flash option is largely gone, making way for the smoother and better-optimized HTML5 interface. This change, as well as the backend involved, will make streams using Beam’s super-low-latency stream suite FTL even better an option as well.
Since Beam has been in the Microsoft ecosystem for a few months, and is making its way onto the Xbox with a dedicated app soon, integration with Xbox Live is coming as well. In addition to signing into Beam with a specific Beam account, users will be able to sign in with Twitter or Discord like before, but also their Xbox Live credentials. This, along with a new username system, will allow a streamer to have and go by one name and their channel bear a separate name while still being associated with the same account.
The final change as part of #December is a new Beam logo. Now simpler and flatter in design, it fits in well with the site’s new UI as well as among Microsoft’s other associated services.
Due out in the future are a slew of new mobile apps. Salsamendi calls them “hybrid applications” possibly implementing a web wrapper into a traditional coded app. The specifics for the new apps is due in the new year, as well as the apps themselves, so stay tuned for our coverage of those.
To close the post Salsamendi mentions Beam on Xbox, likely the teased-and-touted built-in streaming functionality due out as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update. FTL, Beam’s customized version of OBS Studio, will also be receiving a substantial update in the near future for streamers to take advantage of with its sub-second delay between capture and audience viewing.
If you’re not a Beam user already, you can sign up and get in on the new-and-improved experience right away. However, if you’re already a user, and have a Beam Pro subscription, you can enable these new features and changes via a beta toggle. To do so, log in and click on your avatar in the corner, click Account, then in “Use Beta Version” select #December from the dropdown, then save. Reload and go about your #December-ing.
As these features get released publicly, we’ll be covering any new features to keep an eye out for, but for now, go sign up with your Xbox Live account and get to watching some sub-second delay streams.
Via: Windows Central