I Stream, Ustream

Televising Pool For the 21st Century

Not long ago, I played in the BCAPL National Championships. It was a lot of fun; anyone who has been to Las Vegas for these events knows, it’s a great time.

Unfortunately, my family and friends could not all go to Vegas to cheer us on, and would be doing so from afar. My gal helps out tremendously for events like this, sending out texts and updating my Facebook page to update them on our progress. This is awesome, but what if we could do more?

One day, she and I were brainstorming, and suddenly realized we had the answer in the palm of our hands. Literally!

Could we stream our matches from our smart phone?

In short, yes! After much fiddling and testing, we decided to set up our iPad to use Ustream, and we met with resounding success. My family and friends were able to watch many of my matches over the course of a week, live. Plus, they could chat with each other and with my girlfriend as well.

I love living in the future.

As you might know, I play in the Mezz West State Tour. They have a “TV table,” and every match played on this table is streamed live, for free. On top of that, they use tablets for each table to keep score, which gets updated on their website in real time. They usually have two commentators who are very knowledgeable about the game and the tour, and they have a chat room set up where people can comment on the match as they are playing. The commentators even interact with the chat room, answering questions as they go. You won’t see that on ESPN!

There are many other billiards events now that follow this same format. It is the way of the future, and we must embrace it.

These days, I have heard and read many discussions about the state of the game of pool – how ESPN will show bowling or golf on TV, but you rarely see billiards any more. That the sport is “dying,” and that there is a dwindling following.

You know what’s dying? TV. There is a tremendous dilution of viewers for most television shows these days. 9000 channels, and now competition from the likes of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and Roku. In a short time, I truly believe more and more people will abandon the sinking ship of large cable companies, and will begin embracing the idea of getting their content online.

We are at the beginning of this paradigm shift, and it’s time that pool rides that wave. Do you want to see great pool? Go online. Jump onto those live streams, and get involved in the discussion.

Best of all, give something back. Donate a little, and show the streamers that you support the hard work they do to consistently provide us with quality HD content.

We’re never going to get back to the days of ESPN broadcasting epic pool matches. We don’t need them. We are the Online Generation, and we are the pioneers of the streaming world. Let’s embrace it, encourage it, and support it.

Posted in Article, Table Talk, Television, The Break / Rackem / Stroke Magazines