“Church Satellite Broadcasts Available Online,” Ensign, Sept. 2006, 76
Web users will be able once again to see and hear the prophet speak live through video streams online in next month’s general conference.
Beginning with the first major test at the April 2006 general conference, the Church partnered with BYU-TV to provide live video streams of general conference in English through a link on LDS.org.
The Church had previously provided live conference video streaming online, but the cost became prohibitive per user when it was last available on LDS.org about three years ago.
Last year BYU-TV offered to provide the service, and the partnership began when the Church linked to BYU-TV to provide live video streams of the Joseph Smith celebration and the 2005 Christmas devotional.
Ron Schwendiman, manager of Internet coordination in the Church’s Curriculum Department, says the service “enables English speakers who are not able to get to a building or who are unable to receive it through other means to be able to watch conference live on their computers.”
Through this technology, more than 200,000 live online video connections from more than 126 different countries were provided during general conference in April. Of the sessions, the Sunday afternoon session had the most Internet traffic with 108,312 connections.
Brother Schwendiman said some interruptions in the service occurred during conference, but feedback has been mostly positive as the Church and BYU-TV continue to work to understand how to best use the technology to provide another venue to access conference.
Web users who have a high-speed Internet connection can go to the broadcast page on LDS.org during live Church broadcasts and click on a link that will take them to BYU-TV’s live video stream.
BYU-TV launched in 2000 and has regularly broadcast Church content for programs such as general conference, the Young Women and Relief Society general meetings, and Church Educational System firesides.
BYU-TV had previously provided a limited number of online video streams, but in November 2005 it partnered with a company that provides mass video streaming capability on the Internet. The technology allowed BYU-TV to provide online video streams to thousands of viewers. The technology also allowed viewers who live on the other side of the globe, where conference airs during the middle of the night, to access sessions at a time convenient to them.
BYU-TV also offers a Windows Media stream for Mac, Linux, and other users (www.byutv.org/streaming). The Church provides Windows Media video archives of the conference broadcasts at www.lds.org/broadcast.
Although the live video stream is currently available only in English, discussions are ongoing about the possibility of providing the live video streams in other languages such as Spanish and Portuguese.