How to Stream Your Desktop in Video

From one of the better Web designers on the planet comes this question:

Been following your work for years, and totally digging the new live stuff you’re doing. Very entertaining. I was hoping you might have any clues for me as to a problem I’m having, as I have a feeling you’ve come across this situation before in your work.

I’m looking for a codec or some kind of application that will allow me to take a stream of my Windows desktop and turn it into a video source that’s usable for input in other apps. To explain, what I’m trying to do is create a live uStream feed of my desktop, namely for applications like Second Life that I’d like to stream to friends. I know I could just use FRAPs or another screen recording app, archive it and then share it that way, but I’m looking for something a little more real time.

You could go with the free VH Screen Capture Driver – which only gets a mention because of its pricetag, not because of its power. There’s the robust Camtasia Studio with Live Output [disclaimer: they’re one of my sponsors]. A gawdy WebcamMax (with PIP possibilities) offers the most flexibility. NOTE: the much-ballyhooed SuperWebcam has been known to dog even the fastest systems, so it remains on my “not recommended” list.

It’s actually a sad state of affairs with Windows-based webcam software these days. Just about every webcam app for Windows pales by comparison to OS X equivalents. Camtasia Studio is likely overkill for what you’re trying to do here, leaving WebcamMax as your best option (even with its kludgey interface). Maybe we could convince Camtasia to create a watered-down (read: free) app to help jumpstart the livestreaming scene on the Windows platform? It honestly shouldn’t take much to create something fun, functional, clean, and easy to use.