OwnCast is sort of the Fediverse’s alternative to Twitch, and lets people set up their own independent live streaming servers with built-in chat windows. People can follow OwnCast accounts from Mastodon etc. and they’ll see a post in their timeline when the stream goes live. They can also use their Mastodon account in the chat.
How do I find OwnCast streams to follow? How do I follow them?
If you want to try following a stream from Mastodon etc, click on the stream’s Follow button, usually just below the video window. Alternatively, you may see people mentioning a stream in posts on Mastodon etc, and clicking on the mention will bring up its profile page including a follow button.
What happens when a stream goes live?
If you’re following a stream from Mastodon etc and it goes live, a post will appear in your Mastodon etc timeline telling you about it along with a link to the livestream.
How do I verify my identity in chat? Can I use my Mastodon etc account to sign in on the chat?
Yes, you can verify your identity by connecting an OwnCast chat account to an account on Mastodon etc. Alternatively, you can register for a reserved name on the OwnCast server without needing an account anywhere else.
To do either of these things, click on the name button at the top of the stream and select Authenticate.
Do I need to register to chat?
No. By default you will be automatically assigned a temporary name made of two random words, and you can just chat using this identity. You can change this temporary display name without registering by clicking the name button at the top and selecting Change Name.
Bear in mind though that anyone can use an unauthenticated name, and authenticating is the only way to reserve a name.
How do I host my own livestream on OwnCast?
OwnCast runs on free open source software, so anyone is allowed to set up their own server. You will need a bit of technical knowledge to do this, but there are various options to make it easier explained at the quickstart guide ⧉.
Alternatively, you could approach someone who already runs their own server and they may be able to accommodate your stream on there.
Does OwnCast have emoji and things? What about donations?
There’s an emoji picker, and streams can be optionally set to display chat emoji in the main video window.
There’s no built-in bits-style donation system, but you can mention your donation links from other platforms in the stream.
Is there a video-on-demand (VOD) feature?
You can record streams locally and upload the recordings to accounts on PeerTube, which people can also follow from Mastodon etc.