From venue to screen.
Welcome to the technical tips page of our website. I'm Rob Ellmore and before the pandemic I provided all of the sound and technical management for the Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival.
With live event industry on pause, I have been "re-purposing" myself with internet and streaming. I'm delighted to help the jazz festival move in this direction so that we can continue to deliver high quality performances to your chosen device.
In this article I will go through some of the basic requirements for your internet connection and then move onto some tips for accessing our concert on your TV screen.
Without further ado, lets talk tech!
Live streaming is complex. A number of technical elements have to work together in able to deliver a truly live broadcast to you. In fact, a number of "live" streams available online are not truly "live" at all. Not the case with Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival – we like a challenge – so if you are watching a stream with us at the chosen time & date then we are completely live as it happens. To that end anything could happen, and no doubt will! In the words of Davina McCall we will be saying to our artists "please do not swear!" but there are no guarantees!
Have you been caught speeding?
Streaming requires a good internet connection your end. Very minimum is 3Mbits per second. Most people have at least 8Mbits so you should be fine.
You can check your internet connection speed at: https://www.speedtest.net/
Also consider that you may have other users in your household taking up valuable bandwidth. So if little Johnny is playing computer games, while little Jilly is binge-watching Netflix, while you are trying to enjoy our concert, you may wish to exercise some advanced parenting techniques!
What if there is a problem on the night?
If there is a problem with your stream – please do not panic. In fact what I want you to do after 5-10 minutes of trying is give up completely, switch off, walk away, and save getting frustrated!
We are only a small team (of 1) in the technical department here at Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival, and I will be down at the venue doing all I can get the stream working. Sadly I will not be able to respond to individual issues on the evening of the live stream. So please don't expect a response during the event itself.
I will record the performance on multiple devices, so please do email me and I will be able to provide you with a link to watch the performance at a later date.
If for any reason I am unable deliver the concert, and you purchased an individual ticket to the event, we will issue you with a full refund.
Thanks for your understanding and patience. Fingers crossed for a smooth event! – firstname.lastname@example.org
Watching on the Big Screen?
By now many of you will have conquered connecting your computer or mobile device to your TV. I certainly encourage this as you'll benefit from a bigger picture, better sound, a comfy sofa, and a more enjoyable experience.
In this final section I will detail 3 ways in which you can accomplish this:
2) Smart TV
Ready? Lets go!
1) HDMI cable
This is possibly the simplest way to connect your laptop or desktop to your TV. Most modern computers have a HDMI output port – and most modern TVs are equipped with a HDMI input port. All you need is a HDMI cable to connect the two together. These are available to buy online from all the usual electronic retail outlet stores. Make sure you purchase one with enough length for your requirements!
Top Tech Tip:
The connection is digital so there is no need to choose an expensive brand over a more budget option – the quality will be the same.
I've found an excellent 5 minute YouTube video on setting up a HDMI connection:
Another advantage of connecting via HDMI is the sound *should* also be transmitted down the same cable. This should happen automatically, but sometimes this requires an additional step. Make the HDMI connection to your TV first and then if the sound is still coming from your laptop speaker follow these steps:
(Mac users, I'm sorry I can't comment on this aspect as I'm not a Mac person – but everything is easier on a Mac right?!)
Left-click the little speaker icon located in the bottom-right of your screen
Left click the 'V' shaped up-arrow
Choose 'HDMI' or 'TV' as your selected playback device. Sometimes listed as "Display Audio" or "High Definition Audio"
2) Smart TV
Another way of watching our live stream on your TV might be to use your smart TV's built in web browser. This can be a very simple method as it doesn't require any cables or connections. However, some TV's are 'smarter' than others – depending on the brand and age of your set. The browser on my LG TV for example is a little "clunky". Its awkward to navigate around the page and entering text with just a basic TV remote control is very frustrating!
That said, if you have a super modern TV this maybe a good option. You will need to visit the Bristol Jazz Festival website and importantly Log In to your account first before you are able to watch.
For those of us that only have semi-smart TVs (me included) but do have a spare HDMI port, you can always upgrade your TV's intelligence by purchasing a Google Chromecast. These inexpensive clever little devices add screencasting functionality to your existing TV set. They sit in the back of the TV neatly (rather like a memory stick) so there are no messy wires or ongoing connection juggling. You use your mobile or tablet to select content (YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc) and 'cast it' to your TV.
The only slight complication with using a Chromecast to watch our concert streams is that many of the default browsers (Chome. Safari etc) don't fully support the chromecast functions when browsing the web.
Don't worry though, help is on hand. I recommend downloading the following app from the app store:
I've tested a bunch of these sorts of apps, and this one is by far the best. I have it on my Android phone and my Apple iPad and it works every time. You just use this instead of your regular web browser, visit our Festival website, log into your account and you will be able to 'cast' our stream to your Chromecast device.
The basic version is free but quite full of adverts, I highly recommend going 'pro' for a one time purchase of about £5 to remove all the adverts – and of course you can use it with any website that has video content on it that you would like to send over to your Chromecast..not just our Bristol Jazz Festival website!
You can test the functionality of this app on our website with the Insider podcasts or our video round-up page here:
That's all from me. I hope the concert is a smooth and enjoyable experience!
Registered charity no. 1149781 © Bristol Jazz and Blues Festival 2020