Network-on-demand technology, specifically on the TV, on-demand Internet video technology. Through this technology, the traditional TV set connected to the Internet, the Internet, the latest in appliance technology applications. Its origins can be traced back to Microsoft's Venus Project, but due to high cost, can not enter the actual size of the promotion. In 2009, technology represented by UPTEK team effort, dramatically reducing the cost of technology for network-on-demand technology into the home, into the living room as possible.
Webcasting of Parliament Standard Note: SN/PC/1761 Last updated: 24 July 2009 Author: Paul Lester Section Parliament and Constitution Centre This note provides a brief overview of the webcasting service provided by the UK Parliament including its historical development. Information is given on the webcasting services in the devolved assemblies as well as in selected Parliaments around the world. Contents 1 Current service 2 2 Background 3 2.1 Early moves 3 2.2 Outcome 3 3 Rules of coverage 4 4 Webcasting in other parliaments 4 4.1 Devolved assemblies 4 4.2 Selected other parliaments 4 This information is provided to Members of Parliament in support of their parliamentary duties and is not intended to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. It should not be relied upon as being up to date; the law or policies may have changed since it was last updated; and it should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice or as a substitute for it. A suitably qualified professional should be consulted if specific advice or information is required. This information is provided subject to our general terms and conditions which are available online or may be provided on request in hard copy. Authors are available to discuss the content of this briefing with Members and their staff, but not with the general public. 1 Current service ‘Webcasting’ is the use of the world wide web to deliver live or delayed versions of sound or video broadcasts. As part of the effort to make Parliament more accessible and relevant to the public, the webcasting of the Westminster Parliament began on an experimental basis on 8 January 2002. This was the first time the UK Parliament itself had made its proceedings continuously available online – although the BBC, Press Association, ITN and Westminster Digital also had licences to use parliamentary material on their websites. On 26 October 2003 a permanent and fully funded service went live from the Houses of Parliament. The Video and Audio section of the Parliamentary website (www.parliamentlive.tv) currently carries live and archived coverage of all UK Parliament proceedings taking place in public, including debates and committee meetings of both Houses. Viewers are able to listen or watch proceedings live, or listen from the start of a session if they have missed its start. The material is then available from an on-demand archive for 12 months. The site has links to order papers and background papers and also carries videos explaining how Parliament works. As many as 18 live streams are available simultaneously. Coverage of debates in the chambers of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, sittings in Westminster Hall and up to four committees at a time receive full audio-visual coverage. During 2006-07 a trial took place to establish whether automated webcam systems could be used to achieve full audio visual coverage of committees that were available in audio only. Since the trial, the Broadcasting Unit has provided enhanced online coverage of committees through the installation of webcams in some fourteen committee rooms. 1 The Video and Audio site is operated by The TwoFour Group on behalf of the UK Parliament. The Director of Parliamentary Broadcasting monitors adherence to the rules of coverage laid down by the Committee. The full Parliamentary tape archive is administered by the Parliamentary Recording Unit and can supply tape, CD and DVD recordings of proceedings at modest cost. Debates from the two chambers have a live captioning facility which identifies the current speaker and the subject under discussion. Select committee coverage has links to detailed notes for visitors outlining the specific business that day and a further link to each committee’s home page on the Parliament website. Links to standing committee home pages are also available. The webcasting archive system is currently being hosted by The Two Four Group who are also involved with developing increased functionality through the audio and video site. The webcast content is delivered through Windows Media format and the site offers full broadband quality video, and audio at bitrates which equate to the quality of FM radio. 1 As at September 2009. Information provided by the Director of Broadcasting, 2 2 Background 2.1 Early moves The drive to webcast Parliament came from the Broadcasting Committee. The Committee's first report of 1999-2000, The Development of Parliamentary Broadcasting, 2 commented that: In the earlier part of this Report, the Committee has described the history and the current situation concerning the broadcasting of Parliament—but what of the future? The Committee considers that webcasting, i.e. broadcasting Parliament over the internet, could offer the way forward. The Committee was interested to note that on 17 ay 2000, the Opening Day of the Scottish Parliament's meeting in Glasgow was carried live on the internet, as a pilot for future use of the web to broadcast the Parliament. 3 The Group on Information for the Public, which comprises officials from both Houses of Parliament, conducted a study into the possibilities for webcasting. The recommendations produced by the Group, including the recommendation for a one-year pilot project, were accepted by the Clerk of the House of Commons. In October 2001 the then Leader of the House, Robin Cook, stated in answer to a parliamentary question from Margaret Moran that a pilot project to “...explore the potential of webcasting” would begin in January 2002. 4 The Leader made clear his own views on the subject in a memorandum, dated 12 December 2001, to the Modernisation Select Committee, saying that “it should be routine for live coverage of public committee sittings to be available through the internet”. 5 2.2 Outcome The House of Commons Commission reported on the relative success of the pilot project in its annual report of 2002-03. During the first year there were more than 200,000 visitors to the site and the average viewing time was 10 minutes. 6 During the year that the project was running, a specialist consultant was employed to analyse feedback and data from the pilot. His report and recommendations were widely discussed, including with the Broadcasting and Information Committees. On 14 July 2003, the then Chairman of the Information Committee, Michael Fabricant, announced in a parliamentary answer that the experiment would be made permanent. 7 The House of Commons Commission’s annual report 8 , published the same month, stated that the following proposals had been put to the House of Commons Commission and agreed: • the establishment on a permanent basis of an enhanced version of the current webcasting service, including wide screen format, improved audio quality and captioning; • the launch of new channels offering audio coverage of all committees meeting in public, supported by information pages about the committee being webcast and its work; 2 HC 642 1999-2000 3 Ibid, para 84 4 HC Deb 25 October 2001, c322W 5 Modernisation of the House of Commons: a reform programme for consultation, HC 440, 2001/02, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmselect/cmmodern/440/44003.htm#a5 6 House of Commons Commission, 25th annual report, 2002-03, HC 806 2002-03, p38 7 HC Debs 14 July 2003, c51w 8 Op Cit, p38 3 • the establishment of a limited archive, allowing on-demand viewing over both the internet and the Parliamentary Network for a period of up to a fortnight, with the possibility of more advanced options in future; • making webcasts available on the intranet, subject to improvements to the Parliamentary Network. 3 Rules of coverage The Broadcasting Committee discussed webcasting in its report on rules of coverage, published in June 2003:- Webcasting offers a real opportunity to extend coverage of the work of Committees. A permanent webcasting service will begin later this year. This will include audio coverage of all Committees meeting in public and there are plans to install webcams in a number of Committee Rooms at a later stage. The webcams are likely to be capable of giving only an unchanging overview of a Committee Room. The fixed nature of webcams means that most of the rules of coverage will not apply. However, the direction of the shot for a webcam might need to be defined in the rules of coverage and there should be further discussion on whether the public gallery should be shown in webcasts. Any shot of witnesses would be likely to include part and possibly the entire public gallery. Any shot of the Chairman and the Committee will show only the back of the witnesses' heads. Given the constraints of the cameras, a balance will need to be struck between the risks associated with showing the public gallery, which in some cases might encourage disorder, and the need to show the witnesses. On balance, we feel the cameras should be positioned so as to give an overview of the room, showing the witnesses, but should limit, as far as is possible, how much of the 9 public gallery is shown. 4 Webcasting in other parliaments 4.1 Devolved assemblies The Scottish Parliament was quick to develop a comprehensive webcasting service. All the Parliament’s proceedings - committee and Main Chamber business - are streamed live over the internet. Proceedings are available within 24 hours of the relevant live session and the sessions are archived for one calendar month. Viewers can also see “Holyrood Highlights”, a weekly studio programme looking at recent parliamentary business. Further details can be found at www.holyrood.tv. The Welsh Assembly began live webcasting of its proceedings on 15 October 2002 although the archive of recordings actually runs from June 2002. Plenary sessions and a number of committee meetings each week are broadcast although vision is only available for meetings held within the main Assembly building in Cardiff. Speeches in the Welsh language are simultaneously translated into English. The webcasting service can be accessed at www.senedd.tv. 4.2 Selected other parliaments Many other parliaments webcast their proceedings. Selected examples are given below: 9 The rules of coverage, Broadcasting Committee first report session 2002-03, HC 786 2002-03, para 26 4 • The Parliament of Australia webcasts proceedings of the Senate, House of Representatives, the House’s Main Committee, and various Committee sittings. These are available via http://webcast.aph.gov.au/livebroadcasting/. • The Parliament of Canada webcasts plenary and committee sittings for both Houses at http://www.parl.gc.ca/common/webcast.asp?Language=E • The German Bundestag webcasts plenary and committee sessions at http://www.bundestag.de/aktuell/tv/index.htm. • The French Senate is available at http://videos.senat.fr/video/seance_direct.html, and the French National Assembly at http://www.assemblee- nationale.fr/seance/seancedirect.asp. • Proceedings of the European Parliament and its committees can be viewed via the ‘See & Hear’ page - http://www.europarl.europa.eu/eplive/public/default_en.htm?language=EN 5
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