US House Adds Live Web Video

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In a big step forward for public access online, the US House launched live streaming video today, on the new HouseLive.gov. Here is Speaker Pelosi’s announcement.

This is fantastic, welcome news, and will make understanding and watching what happens on the House floor far, far easier. The site features slick technology for streaming and searching through video, and even offers advanced customizable searches and RSS feeds.

Our 2007 Open House Project Report made similar recommendations, suggesting that:

It is our recommendation that all Congressional videos, floor proceedings and committee hearings be made available to the public over the Internet.

HouseLive.gov is a fantastic improvement, and one I’m looking forward to getting used to.

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  • This service is from Granicus, who already do a similar thing for Los Angeles and San Francisco’s City Councils, amongst others. It’s a proven system. You can see them pitching NYC at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWR37Xt5VCU#t=45m12s . The search facility is great! That, combined with the fact they also offer downloads puts them way ahead of anything in central government – including the FCC! As far as open formats go, a lot of work has gone into making Silverlight truly cross-platform and seamless – if an open format were to achieve the same degree of usability I am sure it will be widely adopted. I think that ogg downloads could be provided without too much trouble.

  • I was disappointed to see that houselive.gov requires a proprietary browser plug-in. Just as you call for data in XML over PDF, I would encourage the foundation to advocate for open web technologies, or when unavailable, technologies owned by standards organizations (perhaps h.263, etc.)

    Still it’s a huge step.