With millions of daily visitors, YouTube has become an ideal platform for government agencies to keep the public apprised of breaking legislative developments. Content traditionally reserved for public TV or meeting rooms is now increasingly being live streamed, as the Minnesota House of Representatives is showing. House Public Information Services, a non-partisan office of the Minnesota House of Representatives, broadcasts select meetings live on PBS and cable when the House is in session, but also delivers a live stream of every meeting room to YouTube, relying on AJA’s HELO to stream meeting content to potential viewers 24/7.
Looking to enhance the accessibility and quality of each stream, House Public Information ServicesEngineering Director Michael Simonds recently modernized the agency’s workflow, bringing streaming in house and upgrading image quality from SD to HD. “HD is everywhere now, and before using HELO, our feeds were downconverted from 1080i and streamed in SD to our website using a third-party service. That level of quality just wasn’t cutting it anymore, especially for the cost, but fortunately technology like HELO has made it easy and affordable to stream HD content to better cater to audience viewing habits,” shared Simonds. “With HELO, we can live stream high quality content straight to YouTube, so anyone who is interested in meetings or debates on important issues can open up the YouTube app, find the stream they want to view and tune in directly from their computers, phones or other portable devices; it’s improved the viewer experience and saved us a ton on streaming costs.”
HELO’s support for closed captioning was another key consideration in the workflow overhaul, as the office strives to be ADA compliant for the public. Latency also played a large factor in the decision. “HELO’s closed captioning support is huge and a major reason we decided to go with it,” noted Simonds. “The devices have also helped us reduce latency by nearly 90 percent– going from one minute to five seconds; that’s a noticeable improvement and perfect for the kind of talking heads content we’re covering.”