Watching the Tiger Woods Apology Live

This morning Tiger Woods made his first public statement in months, holding a press conference at the PGA Tour Headquarters to respond to criticism from the media since his history of infidelity became public. But I wasn’t interested in the content of Tiger’s apology, so much as I wanted to see how the different online video streams fared during the press conference. So how did they rate?

It appears all the live video streams came from the same feed, but there were some differences in encoding quality and lag between them. YouTube’s live stream at CitizenTube had the clearest and highest-quality video in my experience, transmitting at 720p. But YouTube’s video seemed a half-second behind the other live streaming players from Hulu, Ustream, and Livestream. YouTube did have a fast startup when launched, however, compared to some of the other streams. The AP Live feed from Livestream seemed to have the slowest startup time, but once the video started it was in line with Hulu and others.

Interestingly, CNN’s video seemed to significantly lag the other provider’s live streams. This could be due in part to Turner Broadcasting using peer-to-peer technology from Octoshape for its live streams. While the plugin could lower costs for the news organization while providing a higher-quality stream, the P2P aspect might have introduced a few seconds of lag time between CNN’s stream and other live video providers.

While Ustream’s social commenting feature is one of the main draws for some people, it appears that the comments were turned off for the CBS News feed. Considering the comments that were coming in before the video started (“THIS IS SPARTA,” for instance), it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that audience participation was suppressed during the broadcast.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (subscription required): Hulu and the End of Free TV

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