m-bruncatv-010909 CATV 3 begins streaming webcasts (drop) On-demand capability could be next
BRUNSWICK — Viewers of Brunswick Cable Television 3 and followers of Brunswick municipal meetings can now watch station programming live on their home computers.
Town Council, Planning Board and School Board meetings, as well as televised subcommittee meetings, can be seen by visiting the CATV 3 Web site and selecting a "watch live" link. Doing so will bring users straight to CATV 3's live feed, allowing them to watch the events as they happen.
The new capability is being implemented in several Maine communities that hope to expand the reach of cable access television and participation in municipal government.
John Goran, CATV 3's programming director, said the Brunswick station wanted to attract viewers who may not have cable or who have satellite providers such as DirecTV and Dish Network.
"We really wanted to reach more residents in Brunswick or those interested in Brunswick," Goran said. "The more who watch our station, the better."
Goran said residents at Thorton Oaks retirement community were part of the impetus for the project, because they were reluctant to sit through long Town Council meetings in person. Plus, Thorton Oaks residents recently switched to a satellite television provider that doesn't carry local access channels.
The new capability is the result of recent upgrades to CATV 3's equipment and servers, which allow the station to pipe a live feed straight to the Internet.
The feed has helpful tools for viewing, including pausing, fast-forwarding or rewinding the broadcast. However, the usefulness of those features depends on the user's connection speed. The live feed skips and pauses on a dial-up connection. High-speed connections appear to work the best.
CATV 3 doesn't yet have archives of past municipal meetings, but Goran is hoping to change that soon. Such a feature, called video on-demand, would allow Web users to watch old Town Council meetings whenever they wanted from their computer.
Goran said video on-demand is the next step for CATV 3.
"It's a monetary issue," he said. "But right now (the live feed) is up and running."
• FYI: To watch Brunswick CATV 3 from a computer, first visit the town Web
site at brunswickme.org, then click "TV 3-schedule" in the left
sidebar. After being redirected, click "watch live" from the menu.