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Summary:

A single linear stream that everyone watches at the same time? How retro. Live events are the epitome of traditional oldteevee fare. But while flipping between the many feeds of Barack Obama’s inauguration today, I found the best experience was offered by CNN Live with Facebook […]

A single linear stream that everyone watches at the same time? How retro. Live events are the epitome of traditional oldteevee fare. But while flipping between the many feeds of Barack Obama’s inauguration today, I found the best experience was offered by CNN Live with Facebook Connect integrated, making the livestream experience social in a relevant way. And I really think it points toward the future of TV.

cnnlivefbSure, the Flash upgrade installation process to run the actual CNN video was a chafe, but after the rigamarole, I loved feeling like I was in a room of friends watching the events. And not a room of friends who necessarily know each other — people from all different parts of my life were streaming into a feed of comments customized for me.

Compared to the general public commentary provided by Current with Twitter integration, Joost with Meebo (though the chatroom was full when I tried to get in), and Ustream with Ustream chat, CNN plus Facebook was so much more personal and interesting to me. OK, so it was the same “I’m so moved” and “yay Obama” comments as everywhere else — but they were from people I knew.

inauguration The one problem I had with the CNN/Facebook integration was that the live stream and comments were not synced up particularly well. Especially as the morning went on, it became particularly evident that people were still talking about Aretha while I was onto Feinstein, or quoting from Obama’s address before it had even started for me. But I can forgive a few things breaking down under such an unprecedented load. This is TV getting interactive in a massive way.

CNN is reporting 13.9 million streams by 11:45 a.m., up from a previous live-streaming high of 5.3 million streams on election day. Facebook tells us 600,000 status updates were posted to the CNN.com Live Facebook feed by 12:30 p.m. (around the time Obama’s speech was ending). During the minute Obama began his speech, there were 8,500 status updates. OK, so status updates with threaded comments aren’t the pinnacle of technology — but managing that many of them is!

Though many people reported problems with various feeds, CNN was the most stable and highest quality I found (I only had to refresh once). Hulu and MSNBC were also stable and high quality (as opposed to ABC, for instance, which I couldn’t even get to load once), but they weren’t social.

Events like the Obama inauguration don’t happen every day, but they push forward the way we see the world in more ways than one. For a different take, check out Stacey’s post about throwing in the towel on online coverage.

  1. Flash 10 has problems. I won’t install it. Which is why MSNBC.com is now my primary news site for the last couple months. Seems like a blog post I need to write.

    BUT we did have CNN HD on the TV today. Also checked out Hulu and the video quality wasn’t great. CBS’s new stuff looked quite good but I was running it without audio in the Starbucks.

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  2. [...] Obama’s inauguration was a global moment, not just in terms of history and politics but also web participation. And now, the numbers are starting to roll in for Inauguration Day web video traffic. Was it the [...]

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  3. [...] Inauguration On-Demand Whether you enjoyed President Barack Obama’s inauguration on newteevee or oldteevee, it was an historic moment for our country. But just because the moment has passed [...]

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  4. No thanks, I’ll watch my tv without the inane comments made on facebook.

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  5. [...] CNN, facebook, inauguration, obama, Technology So I was reading a blog a few minutes ago (http://newteevee.com/2009/01/20/facebook-cnn-is-future-of-tv/) about the CNN + Facebook feed for the inauguration and I have to say I was super thrilled at how [...]

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  6. I did the same as you, watching from CNN+FB from Italy. Had no problems.
    You say: “Events like the Obama inauguration don’t happen every day”. It’s true, but every year at least ones we have Olympic Games, World Cups of various sports, National big events as elections, referendum, ONU meetings, and similar stuff that regards really a huge number of people that won’t need much time to be all shown and shared in similar ways. I’m quite optimistic from this point of view. In max 2-3 years it’ll be normal to watch such events on the web through high quality channels, at least for most of the people.
    Nice post!

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  7. MYspace should buy twitter and implement it on myspace music and myspace TV. it will be a huge self promote and real time conversation plataform for the hundres of artist in this social site,

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  8. [...] has a fine summary of the Inauguration social video experiences and [...]

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  9. [...] already offered up our vision of why folks may want to brave busting through a broadband cap in favor of newteevee, but few will actually do this if they have to essentially pay by the byte or [...]

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