The rumored launch of Yahoo!’s live video service became reality tonight at Live.Yahoo.com. I’m covering it live, in video below. It looks pretty good though early tests are experiencing scaling issues already. Apparently, the company that gets more web traffic than anyone on earth is incapable so far of handling 400 people watching 30 live video streams. Actually, a flood of early adopters just came in via Twitter and the thing promptly broke – completely as far as I can tell.

The service combines many of the best practices developed by early explorers of the medium, tiny startups that must be very worried tonight. Part BlogTV, part Mogulus and just plain better than UStream – below is a live player and some key points of differentiation. For an in depth discussion of why live video is going to be huge, see this post I wrote last year and the discussion in comments.

If this player is down, try my page at http://live.yahoo.com/marshallk

Coolness

As many as five participants can do video and audio on one page together.

Chat gives users choice over fonts and colors.

Yahoo! magically grabs usernames in some circumstances but not all. Cookies, bits of cookies.

An API is already offered. That’s great.

It’s Yahoo! so it should be able to scale…oh nevermind.

Update from Richard: the service was going fine until more than 5 people showed up. I didn’t grab a screenshot while it was in working mode, but for a brief time Marshall was live blogging RWW on Yahoo Live: