This last weekend I traveled down to Houston to help webstream a stadium prayer meeting. I was thinking back to my history in webstreaming, it seems improbable to me when I have never considered myself a natural techie that I have been involved with this techie thing for over 10 years. Starting with GOD TV about 10 years ago, I managed their distribution and we started to stream the channel. Then when I moved to IHOP in 2003, the first thing we did was set up cameras in the prayer room and streamed. I remember sending a 1000kbps stream to a House of Prayer in California starting on Nov 1 2003. This was a big undertaking. I had a dream of getting an army of volunteers to man the cameras (keeping in mind the media dept at the time was me and one other guy). I remember an initial reluctance from Mike, after all back then the musical competence of our singers and musicians wasn’t perhaps what it is today (I’ll leave it at that :)). Then when my dream of getting volunteers didn’t work out getting what everybody affectionately knew as “cyclops”.
A big move forward was our new venture with GOD TV in 2007, when we did get the manned cameras. The big challenge was we had a preemie baby at the same time as we were launching it. We’ve been streaming full TV quality now for over 4 years. And now the stream goes out not only to computers, but to new fangled mobile devices (Since we launched the iPhone App we’ve had over 65,000 individual users download it). On a monthly basis we are streaming about 1 million hours of video to about 150,000 unique IPs and that is a lot of bandwidth (about 400 TB per month for techies). And we haven’t stopped yet, we have a new player coming next week. The Android App is “oh so nearly” ready to launch, so watch this space.
But the thing that is even more encouraging than the new technology are the stories of encouragement that are sent in. From people who are simply curious about IHOP, but would never come to an event to people in closed countries who can now join the prayer meeting in Kansas City, to start up houses of prayer who don’t have enough musicians, but can rely on the stream. If you’re reading this and you have a story I’d love to hear it, it is always an encouragement to our team here in KC. I’d also love to hear if you would like to join the team here in KC or if you would like our help in streaming we’re usually ready to offer advice or support.