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Watching Tonight's Presidential Debate Online 349

farkinga writes "For those of us that no longer have a television, live TV events can be a challenge to watch. Fortunately, tonight's Presidential Debate has attracted the attention of most US broadcasters, many of whom will provide online viewing options. Leading the way is Hulu, a joint venture between NBC Universal and News Corp, who will stream the Fox-branded feed tonight — assuming they worked out the bandwidth issues that came up during the second debate!"
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Watching Tonight's Presidential Debate Online

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  • Live? (Score:5, Informative)

    by clone53421 ( 1310749 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:34AM (#25383513) Journal

    I'm more interested in a recorded version, since I'll be busy during the actual debate... :/

  • Linux? No CNN. (Score:5, Informative)

    by arhhook ( 995275 ) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:35AM (#25383525)

    I tried during the last debate to watch it on CNN.com/live but it appeared their video player didn't allow Ubuntu/Firefox to connect. After further research, they use some vbscript in their code. I'll definitely watch it, just not with CNN.

  • This presumes that one would want to subject themselves to a public hanging of rights in effigy.
  • by ccandreva ( 409807 ) <chris@westnet.com> on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:38AM (#25383579) Homepage

    I have TV. I still set my MythTV to record it, and started watching about an hour in.

    Why ? So I could use time-stretch to watch it at 1.5X speed. They take forever to say the simplest thing.

    Time stretch is amazing. Get done in less time, without everyone sounding like chipmunks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )

      How does time stretch work? (Yes I googled it, all I get is a bunch of how-to about installing myth-tv.)

      BTW, /., logging in the new way sucks, change it back to the old way that has been changed for a while now without reason? Used to be able to log-in WHILE making a comment. Now, follow the log-in link, log-in, take you to the front page rather than the comment you were going to reply to. Why make it more of a hassle and less convenient than it used to be?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bugeaterr ( 836984 )

      I have MythTV, but it only records what Obama says. ;)


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zarf ( 5735 )

      I have TV. I still set my MythTV to record it, and started watching about an hour in.

      Why ? So I could use time-stretch to watch it at 1.5X speed. They take forever to say the simplest thing.

      Time stretch is amazing. Get done in less time, without everyone sounding like chipmunks.

      My MythTV box died a while ago and that time-stretch feature is by far the number one thing that I miss. I am going to replace my MythTV box just for that. I'm not aware of any other DVR that does that. It's an awesome little feature. The debates would have been so much more interesting in time-stretch.

  • Anyone happen to know where one could pickup MP3's of the event? archive.org has a few debates from last time around, but nothing current, and I have not been able to pick them up.

    iTunes used to have them the last time I used iTunes. Sadly, my Mac died a long time ago, and I haven't been able to sign on to the iTunes store in a *long* time.

  • Multicast (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mknewman ( 557587 ) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:41AM (#25383637)
    This is why Multicast would have been so nice, one feed goes out to anyone who wanted it. The current point to point way of distributing video is a quick and dirty solution, where multicast is eligant.
    • The thing I never understood is how do you get everyone watching at the same time? If Antonia starts at 8:00, and Bob starts at 8:04, how is a multicast going to help?
      • by blhack ( 921171 )

        The thing I never understood is how do you get everyone watching at the same time? If Antonia starts at 8:00, and Bob starts at 8:04, how is a multicast going to help?

        It would work exactly the same way that a television does.

        That is, a television with several [hundred] gigabytes of storage space, and [usually] over a gig of memory. You'd be able to cache it.

        • So Bob misses out on the first 4 minutes of the stream?
          • by blhack ( 921171 )

            So Bob misses out on the first 4 minutes of the stream?

            Not if Bob's client has the ability to cache the stream as it is coming in.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by clone53421 ( 1310749 )

              Yeah, but he'd have to start the client at 8:00 anyway. Assuming the feed doesn't exist until then, he wouldn't be able to set it up beforehand either.

      • Multicast is not for 'prerecored' material, it's for a live feed.
      • Bob missed the first 4 minutes.

    • Could you imagine the elegance that the spammers would be able to manage if multicast were allowed?
      • You have to 'subscribe' to a feed on multicast. All the channels go out but until you connect to your peer and ask for the feed it does not start being sent. Spammers would never be able to use it because they would never deliver any messages. It's meant for audio/video also, not text.
  • There will be plenty of live streams with it on Ustream.TV

    On last debate there were over 4000 simultaneous viewers on a stream and it worked fine.

  • At this point? I'm watching the NLCS.

  • by jskline ( 301574 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:45AM (#25383705) Homepage

    I for one have a High Definition TV receiver plugin for my laptop and it coincidentally can also record and time shift. So I can comfortably place it aside and let it record the thing for me to watch later when I have the time and its in high definition to boot. Online viewing right now just plain sucks.

  • My challenge (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:46AM (#25383715)

    My challenge with anything video online is my ISP's bandwidth caps. I am capped at 60GB per month combined download and upload. Streaming video can add up fast! My issues with Firefox only showing a black box for CNN's streaming video was solved. I do not know who solved it...CNN or Firefox folks. But it's good news nonetheless.

    I will probably be on the road while the debate is going on...but have Mythbuntu programmed to record the show, including all the pundits' takes after the debate.

    The trouble is, MythBuntu creates huge files (2.2 GB for just 1 hr), making disk space run fast. I just wish my man success. Can you guess who it is?

    • A 500 GB drive costs about $70 these days ($50 if you're willing to trust small dealers). Is 30 cents per hour (reusable) really a problem?

  • No Hulu for me (Score:4, Informative)

    by grouchomarxist ( 127479 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:46AM (#25383727)

    I'm an American living abroad and Hulu has region restrictions, so it doesn't work for me. Bastards.

    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Get a VPN account with a U.S. provider. Not only gives you access to U.S. content, it protects your system when you're using hotspots.

  • OGG or other? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) * on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:49AM (#25383765) Homepage Journal

    Anyone ballsy enough to stream using a more widely available, non-Flash codec?

    • Yes (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skapare ( 16644 )

      Sure, I am. Just hook me up with a few dozen OC-192 connections at each of the largest 100 cities in the country, and set me up with 1000 computers at each site, and I'll stream it in OGG Theora format. Oh, and I'll also need a satellite dish and receiver tuned to the C-SPAN channel.

    • Are you speaking of MMS? I know we're supposed to hate anything Windows, but that one works well and is implemented in most Linux distros. (It's also relatively easy to capture...)

    • Re:OGG or other? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @12:13PM (#25385451)

      Anyone ballsy enough to stream using a more widely available, non-Flash codec?

      Are you actually arguing that OGG is more widely available to the viewing public than Flash, Real, or WMV?

      It's not about "balls." It's about installed base and the marginal utility of supporting OGG compared to formats installed already on most people's machines. I'd love to see an OGG stream of the debates, but I wouldn't claim that it's "more widely available" in an attempt to suggest that people aren't supporting it for illogical reasons.

  • The only hard thing that I see it trying to get CH 2 HD in chicago.

    Fox has baseball but it will be on NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS free over the air.

  • BBC (Score:4, Informative)

    by Speare ( 84249 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @10:58AM (#25383909) Homepage Journal
    I didn't want to install some stupid plugins and codecs for other networks, so I just hopped over to the BBC for their live streaming web broadcasts. The little screen is not going to be confused for HD but there were no hiccups or dropouts for the other three debates so far. Why depend on US broadcasters when all eyes around the world are paying attention to the high-stakes face off of US political elections?
    • You beat me to it. I just double-checked and according to this page [bbc.co.uk]:

      The final US presidential debate will be available live in streaming video on the BBC news website, with full commentary, a blow-by-blow description, and analysis, from 0100 GMT.

  • Personally, I watched the first two presidential debates and the vp debate streaming live from MySpace [myspace.com]. I don't use MySpace for anything else. Quality was OK. I like that I get the feed from before & after commercial TV picks it up. More like being in the audience.

  • by SleptThroughClass ( 1127287 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:05AM (#25384003) Journal
    Hulu should offer a streaming bittorrent feed as an alternative. We discussed the technology here earlier. The client's interface could be better, but at least it's something which might help with the bandwidth issues.
  • There's also that whole "radio" thing.

  • For those of us that no longer have a television,

    Who, the Amish? They don't vote.

    Almost everybody else has free TV, for now at least. Even if you live in a really bad reception area (as I do) you can probably get one or two network stations. You might need one of those silver wirey things, it's called an antenna.

    I have one of those somewhere, but if I decided to watch the debate, I guess it would probably be easier to call up a stream. Still, I hate looking at politicians, so I'll probably resort to another obsolete technology, radio.

  • Or you could... (Score:3, Informative)

    by rhythmx ( 744978 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:10AM (#25384119) Homepage Journal
    go to the movie theater. The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin has been showing the debates [originalalamo.com]. There really is no better way to watch them than to have a burger and knock back pitcher of beer.
  • Are you casting your vote tomorrow?

  • I think that many of the TV-overendowed sports bars around here (Boulder) will be showing the debate. Of course, this ties in nicely with my theory that Republicans view politics as a sport--forget about who is right or wrong, wise or foolish, as long as the home team wins. Raaaa. It also ties in nicely with the new breed of drinking games that is springing up around this event. Hey, we should call it the World Series!
  • I think there will also be a stream available from C-SPAN [c-span.org], which will probably be preferable to the abysmal journalism of Fox News one may be subjected to at the beginning or end. It looks like a local DC PBS affiliate is also offering a live webcast [weta.org], but a) I'm not sure how much bandwidth they'll have and b) it looks like it's offered either as windows media video or through silverlight, so this may be tough if you're on Linux.

    I think that, aside from questions of capacity, C-SPAN is probably the best

  • Current does a 'Hack the Debate' live mashup of the debates with users' tweets. Anyone can tweet with #current in the message & current puts as many as possible on-screen during the live debate broadcast. I haven't watched it live, yet, but saw some vid of it and it looks really cool.

    http://current.com/topics/88834922_hack_the_debate [current.com]

  • "For those of us that no longer have a television"

    http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28694 [theonion.com]

  • Seriously, CSPAN has been doing live feeds of debates and other political events for years now. As far as I know CSPAN is the best example of the cable industry providing a public service to the internet. And YES I watched the last two debates over CSPAN's live streams.

  • by drix ( 4602 ) on Wednesday October 15, 2008 @11:49AM (#25384967) Homepage

    I can't think of a better use for streaming the presidential debates online than enabling all us expats who can't see it live on our local stations. Which is why I found it really annoying when I logged on to Hulu for debate #2 that I got a big fat denial message stating they can only serve content to people in the US. Thankfully, the BBC had it live and uninterrupted.

The computer is to the information industry roughly what the central power station is to the electrical industry. -- Peter Drucker