Hang w/: Real-time broadcasting from one phone to many [Review]

If you’re a fan of broadcasting tools like Google+ Hangouts and Ustream, you might want to give Hang w/ a try. Developed by MEDL Mobile, Hang w/ is a social networking app that lets you virtually “hang with” people using real-time video.

Instead of recording a video and waiting for it to upload, this app sends real-time video from your mobile device to many as it’s being recorded. You can create your own broadcast from any place at any time. Just create your free channel and start to build your following.

Creating a channel is simple, and required when you launch the app. Just create an account using your email address or Facebook account. You’re not obligated to broadcast, but you do need a profile to browse/view. You can also upload a picture and share a short bio. If you want to start broadcasting, you’ll have to set that up separately, via My Settings.

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According to the app’s FAQs, Hang w/ is supported through ad revenue. As more people tune into your broadcast, you’ll get a share of the profit. For this reason, you’ll have to give Hang w/ the email address associated with your PayPal account or mailing address if you prefer to receive a check. Videos go live with a pre and post-roll ad, and you’ll receive payments after your channel has earned $100 of ad revenue — for most broadcasters (read: non celebrities) this could take a while.

In addition to creating your own channel, you can also follow other content creators — including the likes of Timbaland, Venus Williams, Ali Landry, and Jimmy Kimmel. It’s a great way for celebrities and public figures to offer fans a behind-the-scenes experience. Follow your favorites and Hang w/ will send you alerts when they go live.

The home screen is divided into five different categories: Broadcasting Now, Featured, Most Popular, The Hang w/ Team, and Most Active. Tuning in has been hit or miss. I’ve come across users who just stare at the camera while listening to music, while others chat with their audience through the comments.

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I didn’t stumble upon anyone particularly entertaining or interesting, but I guess it depends what you’re looking for. A lot of broadcasters chose shirtless or up-close-cleavage shots to represent themselves, so I wasn’t very optimistic about tuning in. That said, Timbaland and Jamie Kennedy have a decent amount of broadcasts under their belts, so there’s promise for some worthwhile discoveries.

The app itself is inviting and very user-friendly. Video quality obviously depends on your connection as well as the broadcasters’. I tested over a wi-fi connection and didn’t run into any problems. A couple of videos I watched were kind of choppy, or the video froze while the audio kept running. It’s possible they were recording using 3G or 4G connections. Otherwise using Hang w/ was issue-free.

[iTunes]

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