Thursday, September 29, 2011
Back in the early 2000s, I believe all three of the top Houston TV stations were live streaming at least one newscast to the Internet through Broadcast.com. Then it all ended.
Technology wasn't the reason for the end as much as usage rights issues. Seems commercial actors wanted to be paid for appearing online. Until the means to black out commercials for live broadcasts was figured out, live streaming newscasts was on hiatus.
Now it seems the trend is making a comeback. The most recent Houston station to start the live stream is KHOU 11. Even more noteworthy, the Belo station is live streaming its newscasts through its main station app (available on iPhone and Android platforms). I am unaware of another station doing that at this point.
The difference between the two platforms is you have to press play to start the video on the iOS version which then opens a new window. On Android, you press play and the video starts in the app screen (pictured here).
For those who like the behind the scenes looks, if you watch the stream before a newscast starts, you might get a chance to see some promos and other stuff (the rest of the time the screen will be dark). I even got a chance to see Gene Norman and his Number tape the last Astrocast of the season (a weather segment that plays in Minute Maid Park during Astros games). Based on the team's record, probably better I got to see the Astrocast for free at home versus paying for a ballgame ticket.
The station has also launched Facebook pages for its reporters recently and I have seen instances where you can watch a newscast live through those pages (currently I do not see that option available however). The station has something in common with Charlie Sheen, both use Ustream to broadcast to the Net. Maybe I can start dialing the KHOU Ustream account up on my Roku player and watch more promos and Astrocasts (next season that is) in between newscasts.
Great timing by the station, because I've had lots of Californians write in asking if they can watch former KABC anchor Lisa Hernandez when she debuts on KHOU in late October.
KHOU is not the only one sending live newscasts to a potential worldwide audience. KPRC 2 has been live streaming newscasts through its website for a few years now.