TORONTO – ENTERTAINMENT – Have you ever gone shopping with a food snob? Aisle after aisle, they talk about how each item is bad for you and how the number of preservatives in there should be considered criminal. To them, food is best when it goes straight from the garden to the gullet – when it’s at its freshest.
In terms of media and how we consume it, live streaming is very similar to this “pure and unadulterated” mentality that your health-focused friend preaches. The content is happening somewhere else in the world and is happening (nearly) at the same time for your viewing pleasure, but, unlike agriculture, live streaming is a fairly new concept.
At first, it started out as a nifty way to, in a sense, be in two places at once, but now it seems to be most useful in journalism and gaming. Starting with the latter, if we look at live gambling, we can see that because of live streaming, you no longer have to be physically at a casino to play games in the casino. Here we’ll use Guts.com as a reference point. Playing a number of live games is possible on this online casino site, for players with Guts have access to not just a couple but 39 live games going at once. That’s quite a few cameras to set up, but it increases the number of ways people can enjoy the games they love. Because of live streaming, you don’t have to take an hour-long drive to your local casino or, even worse, spend the money for a plane ticket to Las Vegas. If you have a computer, you have a way to (virtually) be in Vegas.
And why stop there? Live streaming allows us to be anywhere. If you look at Facebook or Youtube and any sort of political coverage, you’ll see just how much live streaming has done for journalism. From the newspaper stand to the phone in your hand, outlets can bring their content straight to viewers as it happens across the globe. If you check out livestream.com you can even see a couple of past broadcasts by various news sources such as Fox News or The New York Times. More importantly, viewers have now been given the chance to be the viewed. Many sites across the web offer streaming services to people with the proper setup, and said setup might only cost a few hundred dollars – a small price to be given the chance at global recognition and to talk about matters from your specific point of view. However, mainstream organizations have done their best to keep up with the little guy as they have also seen spikes in breaking events since offering live streamed events according to an analysis by digitalnewsreport.org. Regardless of who people are watching or who is streaming, it’s always nice to have more options.
As it turns out, live streaming has also given gamers more options as twitch.com and other gaming broadcast services have spawned myriad streamers to enjoy on a regular basis. In contrast to news, that already had plenty of public exposure by way of television, this has propelled gaming to new heights as pre-recorded videos were only available on Youtube. That was practically the only gaming content available. With live streaming, though, you can watch someone playing your favorite game anytime during the day. While it might seem strange that a medium known for getting people to do more than just watch has benefited so much from streaming, you also have to realize that viewers are often able to interact with the players they watch by chatting with them. The experience has become so pivotal in gaming that an article by arstechnica.com asserts the trend has been a complete game changer for the medium.
Now, if we take a step back for a second, it’s also worth noting that the first band to livestream a performance was a garage band called Severe Tire Damage in 1993. Looking at the effects it has had on music now we can see that bands are offering audiences a chance to listen to music before it’s released or enjoy concerts without having to be at the physical venue. It’s a move that has allowed fans to look at bands more intimately and more frequently.
Ultimately, live streaming is a more personal endeavor. Once a stream is over, it might be recorded but it’s not live. It gives viewers an almost tangible connection to what’s happening in front of them, and because of this close bond it forms, we can be sure to see it more and more. Who knows, with technology growing as quickly as it is, we might even see live streaming overshadow pre-recorded content as we watch everything through images projected from our watches.
Who doesn’t want that?