Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Email that Makes it All Worthwhile

Yesterday I got the best piece of feedback yet on HLN. It was a letter from a graduating student expressing her appreciation for the live streaming of the commencement ceremony at Loyola University Chicago. It's emails like this that tell me what I'm doing is really worthwhile. With the Horizon League Network we were able to bring this graduating student closer to her family and was able to make the occasion even more special.


"As if I wasn't grateful to this institution already, Loyola University does something that makes me appreciate it even more. Last Friday, as I walked down the stage to receive my Master in Social Work, my extended family was able to joing in this celebration thanks to Loyola's initiative to broadcast commencement ceremonies in real-time online video. Several members of my family gathered that evening at my father's home and cheered every time they saw me and, particularly, when my name was called to receive my diploma.

I honestly say that my achievement has greater significance now after knowing that my father, back in my natal Puerto Rico, joyfully watched my graduation ceremony. His health has been greatly compromised due to cancer treatment. So I promised pictures and did not dare to suggest any traveling. Then I received the information about Loyola's online video. Hopeful I told my brothers but still did not know if in fact was going to work for them.

Knowing that same Friday night that my father was, in a sense, among those attending my graduation ceremony was and still is a great gift to me. I spoke to him the next morning and he was still overjoyed, amazed by the technology, and impressed with how well Dr. James Marley pronounced my name. I know that my father was already glad for my accomplishment. However, this broadcast added to our celebration. Thanks!


Student X"

Monday, May 12, 2008

To Flash or Not to Flash

When thinking about content delivery the one thing that always comes up is compatibility. Streaming in Windows Media the past three seasons has given us a good amount of compatibility, but it still lacks the overall reach of Flash. The penetration of Flash is somewhere in the 98% range and also allows for some really exciting possibilities around and within the player.

With that said, Microsoft's Silverlight platform (my last post) is attempting to bridge the gap between WM and Flash. Another area where Flash isn't as advantageous is on the CDN side, where bandwidth charges are still higher for Flash delivery. I truly enjoy the experience that MLBAM has created with the new MLB player. It combines Flash and Silverlight. A good move by MLBAM as it has the functionality of Flash, yet the consistent streaming of Windows Media through the Silverlight plug-in.

As things develop for HLN v2.0, this is one of the major items on the table. We will also be exploring social community, increasing non-sports related content, developing a linking strategy and much more.

HLN Fact: Last weekend, the Horizon League Network webcast its first official non-sports related event with resounding success. Loyola University Chicago had live streaming video available for its 138th annual commencement, and it was watched by over a thousand unique viewers.