First announced last week, live video streaming service UStream.tv's iPhone app is finally out and free for downloading. It lets you view live and pre-recorded UStream content from the comfort of your phone. I was using it to watch some of the inauguration coverage earlier this morning, however for most it will simply be a way to get at pre-recorded content from their device.
The app lets you both search and browse through UStream content, and will begin playing shows almost immediately. Included is live user chat, which is displayed below or to the side of the video, depending on how you're holding your device. You'll need to be logged in to see and leave comments, otherwise the space simply stays grayed out.
The one big caveat with this app is that you need to be connected to Wi-Fi to use it, as the app does not yet work over 3G or slower EDGE networks. Attempting to use it without being connected to Wi-Fi simply kicks you back to your phone's home screen. The same thing happens if you go too far out of range of that Wi-Fi network. I see this as the one big deal killer, since you may not always be near a Wi-Fi connection when wanting to access UStream programming.
Besides video, the standout feature is the audio quality, which is comparable to what you'd get on your computer. This is no doubt due to requiring Wi-Fi. The audio I was getting from CNN's inauguration feed came in loud and clear.
Not so hot were the frequent stutters and dropped connections that made me miss several chunks of live footage while watching a buffering screen. If UStream can iron out some of these kinks and let users get a more lightweight stream over 3G, this app would be a real keeper.