Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  Meerkat and Periscope make us all TV journalists

Meerkat and Periscope make us all TV journalists

The image of a TV news reporter is one that you’re probably quite familiar with. It’s almost a cliche; someone at the scene of something newsworthy, shouting into a microphone either for a direct news report or a live cross. Live TV news has put us directly in the scene of major disasters, helped to keep us informed, intermittently bored us when they’ve been filling time waiting for something to happen and provided endless bloopers you can look up on YouTube to fill time. Being news, not all the bloopers are entirely family-friendly, but that’s the essence of live broadcasting, because anything can happen, and Murphy’s well-known law often intervenes.

But what if you could be a one-person TV news reporter yourself?

It’s not that fanciful an idea when you think about what goes into providing a live stream of anything newsworthy, because the odds are very high that you’ve got everything you need in your pocket right now. The power of modern smartphones and high speed mobile networks means that, while you may not have the polish of a seasoned news reporter, there’s little stopping you from streaming whatever you’re doing to the whole world if the mood suits you.

Which is fine, but the other factor that most news bulletins have is an inbuilt audience. Viewers are accustomed to tuning into news at a specific time, or switching to a dedicated news channel, or even reading a news-centric website suited around whatever their interests might be.

That’s where the power of social media and two relatively new apps come into play, because they allow you to not only broadcast to as wide an audience as you’d like, but also to announce your broadcast to your social network, making it easy to build or grow an audience. These aren’t entirely new concepts again, but the recent launch of Meerkat and Twitter Periscope, both iOS apps only at the time of writing seems to have captured the popular imagination.

Both apps work in essentially the same way, built around the Twitter social network. Periscope is the slight newcomer, but as the name might suggest, it’s an actual product of Twitter itself, whereas Meerkat works from an external company. Both allow you to link in an existing Twitter account, announce a broadcast and then start broadcasting whatever’s in front of your iOS device at the time, whether it’s newsworthy content of major importance, or just something interesting happening nearby. From within either app you can see who’s actually watching your live stream, and even watch their Twitter-based interactions around your stream. Meerkat allows you to save your livestream when you’re done to your iOS device, whereas Twitter Periscope offers either device based saves or online saves, so others can watch concluded streams after the event. There’s some obvious benefits in either approach depending on whether you want to share to a wide audience that may rewatch and retweet your stream, or keep your stream private apart from those who “tuned in” to watch it live.

Will self-produced video broadcasts become the new selfies? I have my doubts. For a start, to get a decent video stream up and running you need a decent upstream rate, and for a lot of Australians that’s just not a factor at all. You can broadcast from mobile networks, and that can work quite well because most of those feature quite high upstream potential over 4G LTE, but then you hit the issue of cost prohibitive mobile data costs. Still, if you do find yourself (safely) near the next big news story, the potential is only an app away.

Share

Recent News

Popular social media destination Facebook made worldwide headlines recently, and not for the kinds of reasons that Facebook might want to be noticed. That’s because for a roughly 12 hour period, access not just to Facebook, but also Instagram and Whatsapp — all services owned and operated by Facebook — consumers worldwide had issues connecting… More 

There’s a well-known test that taxi drivers in London have to sit, called “The Knowledge”, that can take years to pass, detailing just about every street in the UK’s very disorganised capital road system. It’s tough learning that many roads, although it may have side benefits, with some studies suggesting that London black cab drivers… More 

Not that long ago, Apple surprised everyone by updating its line of Mac Mini computers. The Mac Mini isn’t like any other Mac that Apple sells. Where much of its output is in laptops, or the 2-in-1 style iMac computers, the Mac Mini is instead a “headless” computer — a fancy way of saying that… More 

There’s been a lot of speculation around foldable phones in the past 12 months, fuelled by the hype from the manufacturers busy producing devices that can fold from phone to tablet and back again — or even crazier concepts, like phones that become slap bands when you place them around your wrist. That latter idea… More