Thursday, February 3, 2011

Livestation: proving absolutely essential for viewers without cable TV access to Al Jazeera English

Without access to Al Jazeera English I would find it nearly impossible to watch events in Egypt on US television without wanting to occasionally throw my shoe through my flatscreen. But thanks to Livestation, Al Jazeera English is available to those with computers or on their smartphones.

I have found the Livestation streams to be a bit buggy, but generally dependable. Livestation uses a dedicated app for your computer, which solves the issue of depending on the Flash player. Livestation has three iPhone apps (it really could use an iPad app), one is Al Jazeera English Live, the other two, Al Jazeera Arabic Live and Al Jazeera Mubasher Live, are obviously not for the English language market.
I especially like the data warning they have included with their app description: Please check with your operator for additional data charges you may incur using this service if you are not on a flat rate data package, in particular when using your iPhone abroad, as every 10 minutes you spend watching the channel will require roughly 7.2MB.

It is good to see that iPhone users appreciate the app and the work of Al Jazeera as reviews are very positive in the iTunes App Store.

There is an Android app equivalent here. The developer is listed as Sufi Studios, but I am sure this is the Livestation feed.

Currently Al Jazeera is having extreme difficulty broadcasting images from Tahrir Square, Cairo due to the government seizing video equipment from the Qatar-based network. But before this happened, most images from Tahrir Square seen on CNN and other networks originated from Al Jazeera broadcasts.

Let me add: I consider the fact that I do not have Al Jazeera English through Comcast a scandal.