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Webcasting: Bringing the Event to You
by Kenwrick Chan

Would you like to see this semester's graduation ceremony, but don't want to deal with the crowds? Did you miss the UH president's latest speech because you had a commitment to be elsewhere? You can view live events or previously recorded programs over the Web, while sitting at the convenience of your desktop or portable computer. Bring the event to you with webcasting!

What is a webcast? For most people, a webcast is simply video over the Web. Technically, a webcast is a process used to deliver multimedia content over the Internet. Multimedia that is delivered can be a mixture of audio and video, or audio only-- such as radio shows, speeches, or a music file. The audio and video can be live, or it can be stored and delivered at a later date.

To view a webcast, you will need a multimedia computer, an Internet connection, and streaming video software. Since pictures and sound are being transmitted over the network, the quality of your computer and connection will affect the quality at which you will be able to view the webcast. Check the computers on the ITS Microcomputer Recommendations for minimum system requirements. Computers with faster processors are better able to handle the continuous flow of audio and visual information, resulting in a smoother presentation. PC-based Windows systems require sound cards and speakers to deliver the audio portion of webcasts. Macintosh systems have built-in audio hardware.

Since a webcast is delivered over the Internet, you will need to have a good Internet connection. A 56Kbps modem connection should be fine for audio only events and low-resolution audio/video events. A higher resolution video image is possible from a computer that is physically connected to the campus network, cable modem, or DSL Internet connection.

Finally, you will need to install the "player" software to view a webcast. Realnetworks distributes a free client called RealPlayer Basic. You can download the software from www.real.com. Realnetworks also offers a version that can be purchased. Check their Web site for information on features of the purchased version. The free client is usually sufficient for most people.

As events are announced and webcasts are stored, we make them available on the UH webcast page at www.hawaii.edu/webcast. The UH Athletics department also has a Web page for their webcasts at RainbowSportsNetwork.com.

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