The cost of doing live TV-style production has plummeted in the past decade. Not so long ago, doing a live multi-camera shoot would require a studio and switching equipment that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. Then along came the NewTek Tricaster, which delivered much of the functionality of a studio in a small form factor PC box for less than US$10,000. [The Stream Breeze drops that cost down to about $4,000 now. –Ed.]
Even 10 grand is a lot to spend if you're just getting started in the video broadcast arena. Thankfully, the folks at Telestream offer a more affordable option with the software-only Wirecast platform. The company has just released Wirecast 4 with a thoroughly updated user interface, new title templates, improved Flash encoding and more.
Wirecast already included picture in picture support, playback of pre-recorded video, audio and images, and simultaneous encoding to multiple bit-rates. The software allows live switching between multiple input sources and chroma-keying with green screens. The Pro version adds support for HDV and wireless IP cameras as well as 3D virtual sets.
The standard version of Wirecast 4 is US$449 while the Pro edition is $995; both can output to QuickTime, Flash or Windows Media streams. Wirecast 4 is available in both Mac and Windows versions.
[You might also take a look at BoinxTV, which TUAW has used for onsite production at Macworld Expo and elsewhere. BoinxTV's solution for web streaming is a bit more convoluted than Wirecast's direct support (it requires a third-party capture utility like CamTwist or the $29 GrabberRaster) but for studio recording it covers a lot of the same ground. It starts at $199 for a sponsored edition. –Ed.]