Monday, April 28, 2008

Let's get on with it

Let it stream!

Councillor Drew Dilkens asked the following at last week's City Council meeting:
Asks for a report regarding the feasibility and cost of webcasting our meetings on the City web site.

AF2008 (April 21, 2008)
An excellent idea. The costs can really be as little or as much as we want. As with many other tech related issus today, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Work on leveraging resources provided either for free or low-cost.

The best case scenario would be for Cogeco to stream the meetings, as they are already broadcasting them live. Many cities that currently stream have their local community cable station handling the job, but unfortunately it seems to be Rogers and not Cogeco. I couldn't find any instances where Cogeco was streaming Council meetings.

If Cogeco does not want to handle this, it could still be easily accomplished with their permission. A PC with a TV capture card could easily pick up Cogeco's broadcast and stream it to the net. All that would be required is the PC, a hi-speed connection and capture card. Very minimal cost if this is handled by volunteers.

A fixed digital camera in the Council Chambers with an input from the Council speaker system is another alternative. Again, connect it to a PC (Firewire) and stream. This method also allows for a digital copy in case there are any issues with the feed.

UStreamTV offers a complete FREE solution to streaming, distribution and storage. They offer format conversion (.wmv, .mov, or .mp4), archiving and downloads. Did I say it was FREE? Their player can be embedded almost anywhere - City website, Facebook pages, MYSpace etc.

Canadian Cities Streaming Council Meetings

1. Oakville

2. Niagara Falls

3. Sudbury

4. Guelph

5. Toronto

6. Ottawa

7. Vancouver

8. Chilliwack

9. Nanimo

10. North Vancouver

I'm sure there are many more, but I only searched Google for about 1/2 hour.