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Live Streaming by Industry

Why Your City Council Videos Must Be High Definition (HD)

This post addresses the state of government video and makes the case that your government needs to be streaming in high definition. It's part of our series on local government live streaming.

In the past few years, the ease of producing high definition video has increased dramatically. Standard definition video is no longer the 'standard.' Due to the massive increase in HD video, viewers quality expectations have changed as well.

Nobody has ever liked watching bad quality video. But, thanks to major television networks and online platforms like Netflix, we’ve all come to deem anything less than crisp video unacceptable.

If your stream is in standard definition, you are losing viewers and presenting your municipality in a poor light. People will watch a high definition stream much longer than a standard definition stream because it is simply nicer to watch and more engaging. You feel like you are actually there. You can see the people who are speaking.

Additionally, if you have a standard definition stream these days, you’re not giving off the best perception of your city to your residents. It’s important that your city looks like it was built for the twenty-first century. If I’m a potential resident looking on your city’s website and see a standard definition stream, I would likely internalize the idea that your city is behind the times. Learn more about what civic engagement looks like in the digital age.

How to Increase Civic Engagement - Download the Guide!


Why you may have poor picture quality

Unfortunately, the picture qualities of city council meetings have often not kept up with the pace. There are plenty of good reasons for that. Historically, video cameras have been expensive purchases. You care about the tax dollars that you are spending and want to make the most out of the equipment you may have purchased fifteen years ago that still works.

Alternatively, you may have the equipment to stream in higher quality, but your arrangement with your cable provider limits you to a standard definition stream.

The good news is that high definition cameras are no longer astronomically expensive and your relationship with your cable provider is most likely no longer as limiting.

How to make an incredible high definition stream

To create a high definition stream, you need three things:

  1. A good network connection
  2. An HD camera setup
  3. A live streaming solution built to deliver great picture quality

A high definition stream is easier and more affordable than ever. There’s no longer an excuse not to be delivering a great picture to your residents.

Bonus question: What if your residents can’t view in high definition?

The process of adaptive bitrate streaming maximizes each stream for each viewer. What does that mean? If you are streaming in high definition, but your viewer is watching on their phone over their cellular network, they will still be able to watch without buffering. 

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

If you like the idea of streaming, but aren’t sure how to go about it, finding the right equipment is a great place to start. This comprehensive guide outlines various streaming trends and showcases the best equipment for live streaming.

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