Last night more than many other events in recent history, the world tried its hand at massively large-scale streaming over the internet a major televised event. That event, of course, was the first 2012 Presidential Debate between Republican candidate Mitt Romney and Democratic candidate Barack Obama.
More services than ever advertised the availability of an online stream of the event – two that I know of off the top of my head being YouTube and Microsoft. YouTube’s was totally free while Microsoft’s required an XBox 360 and a Live Gold subscription. I watched things the old fashioned way on the ole’ boob tube on CBS last night, but how did things go for the people who attempted to be decidedly more high tech?
From what user reaction seemed to be, not well. Throughout the entirety of the debate last night I saw more tweets, posts, and likes complaining about lag, buffering, and connection issues from those users then I did thoughts on the actual event last night. We’re living in the 21st century with computers that can fit in our hands more hundred times more powerful than the computer that brought the Apollo 11 crew to the moon, and we’ve got connections that can stream gigabytes worth of data in under a minute. Why can’t we get live streaming right?
I don’t have an answer to that. Maybe it’s just the nature of the beast, and that these sorts of things aren’t mainstream for a reason. But last night was the closest I’ve ever seen to online live streaming actually being mainstream. It’s just sad that such exciting tech did, at the end of the day, let so many people down.