Owncast Newsletter April/May 2024

In This Issue

A Note From The Editor

Wow. Did anyone authorize my schedule to go this wildly? I often start the prep of a new Owncast newsletter while finishing up the one due for release, and this month was no different, but a week's overseas work travel will certainly torpedo one's plans. Regardless, here we are again, with what's been cooking in the world of Owncast.

This month, we've got some pretty big technical announcements, so don't miss them. On the featured streamer front, we've got some details on Game That Tune, a perennial fixture of the Owncast streaming landscape. If you've ever fancied the idea of having a 24/7 streaming channel that maintains a high level of engagement and interactivity, their model's pretty hard to beat.

Given the need for a little breathing room and the fact that this edition hasn't released until the end of April, I'm going to take May off to regroup and hopefully publish the next edition in early June. Thanks a big one for reading and for your support.

Don't forget this is a newsletter by and for the community of Owncast streamers and viewers. Please share it widely, suggest ideas for features, submit announcements of events you're planning, etc. Don't forget the #FediWave hashtag, and, until next time, keep the streams running.

Owncast 0.1.3 Released

Owncast 0.1.3 was released on April 7, 2024. While this is an incremental update and therefore focused on bug fixes and performance improvements, this release does include some interesting new changes that warrant upgrading your instance if you haven't already.

Among other things, Owncast 0.1.3 introduces rel="me" attributes for social links, which is extremely useful for things like verification on the Fediverse. There are also improvements to the chat that make it less noisy when people disconnect and reconnect, and it removes chat rate limiting for moderators. If you have an active chat to moderate, this will no doubt be welcome.

Of course, these are a couple of the dozens of fixes and improvements provided by community developers. Follow the link to the release to see them all and to get instructions for upgrading!

Owncasts For Roku Released

Most Owncast streamers and viewers are familiar with the Owncast Directory. This feature of the Owncast ecosystem facilitates easy exploration and discovery of streams. Moreover, because it's based on a feed of JSON data, it's easy to make client software for the directory.

For most of the Owncast project, the Owncast directory was available on Roku devices through a system called Direct Publisher. This allowed owners of JSON and XML data feeds to have them represented as a Roku channel with no development effort. Unfortunately, anyone who's used the old Owncast Directory channel on Roku knows it didn't update reliably and often had stale streams in it. Worse still, Roku cancelled its Direct Publisher system at the beginning of 2024. With that, Owncast lost its presence in the Roku ecosystem...until now!

Hot on the heels of Owncasts for iOS devices, community member Kit Aultman (the editor of this newsletter) and Owncast founder Gabe Kangas developed and published a new Owncasts channel for Roku. This should now be available for all Roku devices, and it should hopefully not suffer from the same shortcomings as the old channel.

It's early days for this app, and there are a lot of features and improvements to make. If you have interest in helping out with the project, contact Kit or Gabe to get set up. This is a great project for anyone who's wanted to dabble in the Roku SDK but not wanted to set up a full channel themselves.

Game That Tune (GTT), billing itself separately as "the Internet's only VGM quiz show" and "four guys who make a fun podcast about videogame music", have been releasing episodes since 2016. In addition to their regular podcast episodes, they also operate Game That Tune Radio, a 24/7 request-driven stream of video game music. Of course, their choice for streaming is Owncast.

What's particularly interesting about their work is the high level of interactivity they've built into the system. The GTT chatbot system provides all sorts of interactive search and request features, and it also enables a sort of weekly voting game. Each week, users can use the chatbot to "bop" the currently playing song, and every Friday afternoon features a roundup, the "Bop Ten Countdown", of the most-bopped songs from the week.

GTT Radio is a testament to the flexibility of Owncast; GTT host John Regan has contributed to Owncast to facilitate development of the GTT chatbot, and the live streaming system, a mixture of C and Lua that automatically visualizes the music and produces an endless video stream to be processed by Owncast, is available on Github for others to use.

If you're a lover of video game music or just want to spend some time with a long-standing part of the Owncast community, you're sure to find something to love, so go check 'em out.

Closing Remarks

This newsletter is the product of, and a service to, the community of Owncast developers, streamers, viewers, and enthusiasts later. We cannot be a sounding board for the community without your support. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with interesting project news, events, or other news of note, and if you'd like to help build the social fabric of the Owncast community, please consider checking out the #owncast-community channel on rocket.chat.

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