Saturday, July 29, 2017

3 international news channels that live stream on YouTube

When I moved into my apartment in upstate New York a year ago, it was the first place I ever lived where I had the option to get cable. I guess the fact I decided not to doesn't quite make me a "Cable Cutter," since I didn't really have one to cut in the first place. Still, a big part of the decision was the fact that there are now just so many options: Between Netflix and Prime Video, I can stream as many TV series as (and in fact more than) I could possibly want, and unplugging the existing coaxial cable that runs across my house to the TV from the wall and into a $9 rabbit ears antenna gave me several local and regional news channels and more PBS and NOVA stations than I can keep track of—mostly in 1920x1080 HD, no less.

One noticeable hole though was continuous live national/international news. Certainly there are now streaming services like Sling TV that you can pay $20 or so a month for to get that. But when you add that on to what you're paying for Netflix and Amazon, it starts to get confoundingly close to what you'd be paying for cable. There are also lots of illegal streams of major cable news stations that pop up here and there during major news events. But they're extremely inconsistent, require some searching and are, well, illegal. 

The TV I bought when I moved in is a smart TV—one of a number of cultural and technological changes that happened while I was overseas in a less-than-developed country from 2014-2016—and it supports a YouTube app. So I was excited to discover another change: There are now a number of perfectly serviceable international media outlets that stream all of their programming live on YouTube, which I can now watch seamlessly on my TV. It may be you've already known about this for years, but just in case, I thought I'd share three of my favorites below.

1. Al-Jazeera English

Solid world news coverage, decent US coverage, and hands-down the best Middle East coverage on the planet (I'm allowed to make that judgement, so be quiet). Typically alternates between news updates every half hour with subtitled documentaries in between with longer news hours at set times. As long as Qatar doesn't cave to pressure from from the other Gulf states and give them the ax, I will be enjoying this one here:

2. Sky News 

So this is a British news channel (well, I think they have channels in other European countries, but the one that streams live and in English is from Britain). So naturally, some of the news is UK specific, but they have good Europe stuff, and even serviceable summaries of US news. And hey, if the news event is in the UK/EU, all the better. I happened to be watching it the morning that the the whole NHS ransomeware attack hit and new all about it a full five hours before it became headlines in the US. Check it out here:

3. Bloomberg

Kind of like CNBC, but with more of an international bend. Good business analysis. Lots of coverage from Abu Dhabi and Beijing and places like that, but with US market coverage too. One note on this one: Pretty much all of these play without adds, but whereas Sky and Al-Jazeera just switch to showing world weather reports during the ad segments, Bloomberg has these newsfeed updates that flash on screen, and the music loop they play in the background is so annoying I actually start to wish they'd play ads instead. Just a word of warning. 


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