Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Friday night live // The return of Sidepodcast's live streaming

Published by Mr. C

This year's NAB Show 2012 provided six days of welcome distraction from the fallout of F1's visit to Bahrain. Always a highlight of my year, the most recent NAB offered up a wealth of exciting new products, technologies and ideas that conspired to put live shows back on our agenda.

Live audio and video streaming became a hallmark of Sidepodcast's output back in '08 and '09, when we attempted to broadcast anything and everything we could, for as long as we could and as often as we could. We were obsessed with pushing boundaries and discovering new means of making F1 more interactive and enjoyable to follow. As fabulous as it was though, going live was cost prohibitive and eventually we could sustain the expense no longer.

We have, on occasion, looked into resurrecting the idea, but each time faced a number of insurmountable hurdles for one reason or another.

This past week however, inspired by knowledge learned from people and companies attending NAB, we managed to cobble together our first live show in two years. Be sure to listen in full and follow along with the live comments if you missed it.

To keep costs manageable, we've ditched moving pictures this time out, settling for an audio-only approach. With any luck we can still maintain the atmosphere from previous events, despite a lack of visuals. That said, we have managed to squeeze in a number of noteworthy improvements.

Whenever, wherever

In the past two years mobile internet usage has rocketed and we've been busy in 2012 redesigning this site to better serve readers and listeners on the move. Previously, streaming content to mobile devices had proved mighty tricky, but affordable technology has come quite a way of late, to the extent that tuning in via iPhone, iPad and a number of Android devices is now relatively painless. Theoretically, you could listen in and comment along with a live show from anywhere there is a half sensible phone signal.

Closer to home

Instead of delivering streams from a single location in Europe, live audio is now copied to at least 24 locations around the globe. Users are seamlessly connected to the nearest end-point and this greatly reduces the chances of playback problems. We have more to experiment with in this area and the number of global locations should increase over time, but initial feedback seems to confirm that streaming was considerably more stable than during previous attempts.

That authentic cinema experience

While 10.1 surround sound may have been touted by some high falutin' companies in Las Vegas last week, we've succeeded in dragging ourselves out of the mono era and found a switch marked 'stereo' - we're live streaming like it's 1925. Sadly though, we are lacking an additional machine to handle multiple conversations, so interactive shows such as Sidepodpanel may be out of reach for a while.

Despite all the technological advances, live recording still poses immense challenges. If you're as into this kind of thing as we are, plenty more information can be found on the official NAB site. Going live is more expensive and takes up more time, but we cannot pretend that it's not a damn sight more fun. Expect a few weeks to pass before the next live adventure, but be sure to join in the next one... won't you?