LiveStation: a Review of the live streaming news online source
LiveStation.com is a London based portal that offers live news on their website. Most of the available newstations seem to cover an International perspective and seem to be mostly in either English or Arabic. Persian, Burmese, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Urdu seem to have at least one station as of this writing. There are also a few new radio stations as well as the tv network stations.
A few of the news stations also have some "on demand" news clips that can be played whenever you want to hear them.
If you search the Internet for reviews about LiveStation most of what you will find is out of date information from around 2007 to 2009, and most of these reviews mostly concern a software program that you could download to watch tv online with.
Now, in the year 2012, LiveStation seems to offer almost exclusively livestream news stations straight from their website, with no need to download anything. Or it can be viewed with mobile devices if you download their free app.
Since I could find little to no recent reviews on the site, I thought I'd share some of what I think about Livestation.com as a result of my brief, one day, interaction with the site.
What I Like About LiveStation
It seems to be a good way to get International news from many other countries (such as France, Russia...even Iran) often English and other languages. Which can give you a different perspective and reports you may not see elsewhere. You are much more likely to hear in more detail what is going on with the Euro, for example, than you would if listening to news from a network that mostly focuses on the U.S.
You do not have to rely on paying for a cable or satellite dish package to get your news from sources like CNN, MSNBC or Fox News. So it can save you some money there if you have chosen to forgo having cable or satellite, but still want a source for televised news.
The programing I watched on a handful of these stations seemed good and interesting, on par or almost on par with what I am used to watching on U.S. cable or satellite networks.
It gives you the ability to see breaking events immediately, if you are not near a tv and only have your computer or mobile device. For example, the Japanese tsunami is one of the moments in history that resulted in increased viewers for LiveStation.com.
It looks like they have added some additional stations recently, so it looks like it is growing and having more options available for viewers.
I watched LiveStation from my laptop. But it is also available to watch using many mobile devices as it has apps for iPhones and iPads, Android phones and tablets, and Blackberry. And also available on devices such as Roku and Boxee and Google TV.
What I Do Not Care For
There seems to be no way to set your preferences, such as choosing a default language or languages. For example, perhaps you want it to show only English and Spanish news stations, or maybe English, Spanish and Russian. Instead every single time you click on the Channels link it shows all the shows available in all languages, and you have to once again choose a language from the drop down menu to filter out the others you do not want to see. You also can not choose more than one language. And, as mentioned, frustratingly you have to re-choose what language you want every single time...it does not remember what you had chosen just a few minutes earlier.
It does not tell you what the news station is about until after you click on it. For example, you see amongst the thumbnails a green box that says RT. Only by clicking and scrolling past the video that is loading will you find a description that lets you know that this is a Russian based television station called Russia Today (it broadcast in English, Arabic and Spanish...but not Russian). And another one says PressTV and only by opening that page will you find out that this is an Iranian news station in English. It would be nice if they gave a brief description of the stations when you hover the mouse over the thumbnails, like how they do at Hulu.com.
Some of the channels are premium channels...but you won't know that until after you start watching them and after awhile notice that a countdown saying you only have a couple minutes left to watch before you will need to sign up for the paid version to continue watching. BBC Worldwide is one of these premium stations.
You cannot bookmark or "favorite" your favorite stations once you've found them to make viewing them easier (you could just bookmark them in your browser I suppose).
Since there is no ability to set preferences such as language or bookmark favorite stations I am not sure what the point is of signing up for an account with them is unless you choose to pay for the premium stations.
Not knowing when some stations will be broadcasting. For example, they seem to have recently added the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) as one of their stations to watch. But I have no idea when I can watch it. The site only says, "WSJ Live broadcast over 4.5 hours of live programming a day with the latest in news, elections, markets, tech, opinion, lifestyle." While I have no problem with there only being 4.5 hours in which it is broadcast...I find it frustrating that nowhere does it list at what time those 4.5 hours are being broadcast. I guess you just have to check every hour for 24 hours and figure it out yourself?
(WSJ does have a few On Demand news clips that you can watch on LiveStation.)
The video quality of some stations are not wonderful, but that does not bother me much. Choosing the paid version of that station will give you better quality and have no advertising.
Although my list of dislikes were long, none of the things are strong reasons to not use the LiveStaion to get your news. But considering the day and age we live in, with other sites like Hulu.com (that does not offer news though) that do offer what now seem like basic options of setting preferences and favorites, not having these options seems tedious when it seems like it would be fairly simple for LiveStation to upgrade their website, especially since their selection is growing.
Overall I recommend checking it out.