Compared to traditional media outlets, the Huffington Post has been committed to reader involvement since its incarnation. With moderated comments, plenty of op-ed pieces, news aggregation, and original reporting, the site provides an entertaining mix of media for the digital reader. The Huffington Post expanded its reporting in August with HuffPost Live, an online streaming video site, and released a HuffPost Live iPad app in November. Both iterations of HuffPost Live offer an entertaining and interactive way to get the latest trending topics and headlines.
Overview of HuffPost Live:
The HuffPost Live network features a diverse cast of anchors with backgrounds ranging from university professor to Al Jazeera anchor. The network relies on the skill and impromptu performance of the anchors as their roles go above and beyond delivering scripted stories. Anchors lead group discussions, moderate debates among HuffPost watchers tuning in via webcam, interview expert guests, and also deliver summaries on current topics. In addition, both guests and anchors do a nice job of handling the inevitable issues that come with VOIP group discussions so that lag and audio issues don't become distracting for viewers.
HuffPost Live currently features 12 hours of live broadcast each day from New York and Los Angeles. When the network isn't airing live content, it streams highlight segments from the previous days' programming. The network doesn't shy away from controversial topics, highlighting issues ranging from gay marriage to America's class divide. The network does a great job of curating its on-air guests to provide opinions from all sides of an issue.
The HuffPost Live Website:
The HuffPost Live website packs plenty of features into a well-designed, user-friendly format. The video player is in the top-left side of the screen and includes pause and full-screen features. Underneath the video player there are quick links for sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and an embed code for blogs and websites. Each video segment is tagged with meta-data providing host and guest information. Below the video segment is a list of links to other media that provide more information on the topic, include Huffington Post articles, articles from external news sources, and YouTube videos. This layout makes it easy to follow the discussion at hand, and to get involved via the various user engagement tools.
To the right of the video player is a chat box that lets viewers leave text or video comments on the current discussion. Like most chat features, comments range from astute to irrelevant, but are still fun to observe. In addition to the chat box, users can get involved in the current discussion by hitting the "Be An On-Air Guest" button. Users will be routed to a Log In box that allows them to access the on-air feature via pre-existing social media accounts or by creating an account with Huffpost Live.
HuffPost Live iPad App:
In addition to tuning in to HuffPost Live with a personal computer, viewers can access the networkÂ with Boxee, Roku, PlayStation 3, and Apple TV. In addition to these streaming entertainment devices, viewers can tune in with the HuffPost Live iPad app.
The iPad app uses Quicktime for streaming video content, and features a lay-out that's very similar to the HuffPost Live website. The app lets users toggle between information pertaining to the topic at hand and viewer comments, making it easy to catch-up when tuning in mid-segment. In addition to share buttons that link to Twitter, Facebook, and email, users can become on-air guests by using the web camera right on their iPads. Although the streaming quality of HuffPost Live is pretty reliable, there is a pause/play button that lets viewers reload the feed in the case of lag.
If you're looking for a combination of opinion-based reporting and the latest trending topics, HuffPost Live is worth checking out both online and on the iPad.