I watched Obama’s inauguration ceremony LIVE last night, on CNN and BBC. There were a number of video sites that were streaming the show including the likes of Hulu and Joost. However, I chose these sites because they were smoother than the rest. CNN only began to break up halfway through his speech, forcing many people to switch over to the Beebs.
What surprised me most was that I could actually watch the whole ceremony live on my meager Slowmyx connection. Anyone who knows our local broadband provider knows that their connection rates are highly unpredictable and typically much slower than advertised. Considering that I subscribe to a 512k connection and the videos were streaming in at 512k, I was quite impressed.
As for the actual ceremony itself, it was quite interesting as I had never seen a presidential inauguration before. It was funny when Obama had some problems with his oath taking bit and that it caught the justice by surprise as well. I guess that someone must have been extra nervous. I also liked the speech that he gave, trying to bring people together for the coming battle.
This got me thinking about my HTPC again. If 512k is enough to stream a live news feed, I might actually double that to a 1M line when I have my HTPC up, just so that I can watch online TV and not bother about installing Astro at home. I personally feel that Astro is a money sucking pit with terrible service. It has not seen an upgrade in service level quality since its early days. Just like almost everything else in Malaysia, Astro is a frakkin’ monopoly.
Therefore, it has had no incentive to upgrade it’s services. For one, it has definitely got the technological capability to bring in some wide-screen HD channels. There is even a growing market for such a service with new televisions being sold as wide-screen HD capable systems. There is even a menu entry for 16:9 in its settings, which incidentally does nothing. Seriously, besides carrying more “on-demand” SD channels, there seems to have been little change to its service.
Enough of my rant. I don’t have Astro at home anyway. So, setting up an IP-TV (so to speak) at home should be part of the HTPC functionality. Now, the only problem would be actually finding channels that would stream content to Malaysia. However, that is a problem that I can easily remedy. So there, I now have another reason to set up a HTPC in my living room.