This morning, my wife and I watched the funeral ceremony for recently-deceased Mormon church leader Gordon B. Hinckley, live, streaming on the Web, via the church-affiliated broadcast network, BYU TV. While I've mentioned BYU TV a few times before, including in mentioning the church's semi-annual General Conference, this morning's experience was a very touching presentation, which showed where one era in the church was ending, and another was set to begin.
Having grown accustomed to the choppiness of Web video, graininess, or buffering, the contrast between that subpar experience and what BYU TV offers is worth the visit alone. At any point, I could pause the broadcast, hit the "Go Live" button to be fully caught up, or I could even click the schedule on the right side of the screen to see the programming leading into the funeral ceremony, or other content.
The way BYU TV handles television programming for the Web is the way all broadcast networks should, commercial or otherwise - giving the viewer both the option to watch live programming, or video on demand, with full start/stop functionality. That we could utilize such strong technology while also seeing a historic event was very fulfilling, knowing I wasn't compromising on the experience simply for convenience.
Hickley presided over the church for 15 years. In his time as church leader, 1/3rd of the church's current membership was baptized, and the number of temples on the Earth grew to 124, with #125, in Rexburg, Idaho, originally scheduled to be dedicated today, being delayed a week due to Hinckley's death.
As the church leaders noted in today's broadcast, there will be no jockeying for position as to who will assume the position of prophet, seer and revelator for the next era. There will be no back-room discussions or canvassing for support. The succession plans are dictated by scripture, and will follow as they have for centuries. While we're already amazed by the way the church has adapted to be on the cutting edge of today's technology, it's even more remarkable to think of where they will be at the end of the next era.
The event of president Hinckley's funeral is available to the world via BYU.tv. Go to www.byu.tv, and find the broadcast from 11 a.m. MST today.