PBS Launches Online Streaming Video Portal
The PBS Video site officially launched on Wednesday, April 22, and it is currently labeled as a "beta." In the short time that we played around with it on a Windows Vista system, it was very stable, if not sometimes slow to connect; however, we had trouble getting most videos to play when we perused the site's different show offerings using Firefox on a Mac (running Mac OS X 10.5.6 and Firefox 3.0.9).
The site already includes a healthy selection of shows, with the promise that more shows will be added every week. Some of the shows already available include, The News Hour, Nature, and Antiques Roadshow. Eric Freeland, Senior Manager of Digital Video for PBS, states that new videos will even be added the day after they air; and that The News Hour will be available online on the same night it airs, immediately after the broadcast. The PBS Video site even includes some exclusive content, such as Time Team America, which won't be first broadcast on TV until July.
When you first land on the site, it displays a "Featured Programs" carousel, from which you can choose from a number of highlighted shows. You can also choose to browse through a "Features Collections" carousel. The site also includes a "Browse by Programs" option, a "Browse by Topics" option (with choices such as Cinema, History, and Technology), and even a Search box that let's you conduct a custom search (we searched for "Neil deGrasse Tyson," which netted five video results--all were episodes of NOVA scienceNOW). Other browsing options include "Most Watched" and "Most Emailed" sections. In addition to controlling the video playback timeline and including play/pause, volume, and full-screen playback controls, the video player also includes links for "Share," "Email," and "Own It"--the Own It link allows you to purchase the DVD or iTunes version (if available) of the show.
PBS Video Portal Walk Through from PBS Engage on Vimeo.