NewsNet broadcasts General Conference over Interne

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Saturday not only marks the 168th semi-annual General Conference broadcast for the LDS Church, but it is also the second time NewsNet, (http://newsnet.byu.edu) will provide Real Audio coverage of the conference via the Internet.

“Because of the great generosity and cooperation of Progressive Networks and Real Audio, we are able to pull this off,” said Mark Stringham, NewsNet’s online editor.

“Of course, without permission from Bonneville Communications then we would not even have this opportunity, but with the great relationship we have with them it makes it all possible,” Stringham said.

Previously, many countries had to wait for the video version to arrive before they could hear conference, and then often only one session was available.

In April, NewsNet sponsored links on its Web site that simultaneously made the 168th General Conference available to people without access to television coverage, Stringham said. Seven foreign languages were available on the Web site: Korean, Spanish, German, French, Portuguese, Cantonese and Mandarin.

Korean will not be one of the languages on the Web site this conference.

For this conference, an extra server was added which enables Japanese and Samoan to be added to the broadcast. NewsNet had originally planned to broadcast in 16 languages for the October conference, but the necessary equipment is not yet available, said Scott Johnson, NewsNet editorial board member.

The NewsNet Web site will also have some links to the Bonneville Communications system for the English language channel.

Do-Hyun Lee, a Korean citizen said, “That is unfortunate that Korean was eliminated to accommodate the additions, I was looking forward to hearing conference on the Internet.

NewsNet has eight servers, so up to 1,600 people can simultaneously listen to the conference, Stringham said.

In April, there were more than 1.5 million hits on the NewsNet Web site. In a “normal” month there are only 300,000 to 400,000 hits, Stringham said.

“The Internet is still a relatively new thing in Brazil, and there is not a lot of access at home for people,”said Vanessa Ortolano, a visiting professor from Brazil.

“As of yet the church is mostly in the poorer population and so not many people will be able to see the broadcast over the Internet,” Ortolano said.

“At least it is a beginning, and you have to start somewhere,” she said.

Concerning the number of hits NewsNets Web site might receive over the weekend, Johnson said, “I have no idea, I have no guess, maybe in the billions, maybe not.”

“If we had the equipment and resources we could do all the languages,” Johnson said.

NewsNet is providing this service to those that are otherwise unable to access conference. So those who have televisions are asked to not tie up the Internet lines, Johnson said.

The LDS Church’s Semi-annual General Conference is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The sessions for both days will begin at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time, with the next session starting at 2 p.m. Each meeting will run for about two hours. On Saturday there will also be a special General Priesthood Session at 6 p.m. which will not be available on the Internet

Local residents can watch the conference live on KSL-TV, Channel 5 in Salt Lake City. Various LDS Church buildings in Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and throughout the United States will also receive the broadcast via satellite television.

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