Technology is such a ubiquitous part of life that it was just a matter of time before it became equally as omnipresent in death. In particular, more and more funeral homes are providing video streaming services that allow family members to broadcast the funerals of their loved ones online. Here's what you need to know about the service to help you determine if it's right for you.
How the Video Streaming Service Works
Funeral live streaming is a fairly straightforward process. The funeral home will either use an in-house videographer or hire an independent contractor to record the proceedings. Using specially designed software, the video and audio is translated into a digital format that is uploaded (streamed) to a website in real time where people can watch it on their electronic devices such as their computers, tablets, or smartphones.
Both the funeral home and the family members will be responsible for notifying people about the online event. For instance, the funeral home may add a note in the obituary that the service can be viewed on the internet, while family members may send out information to friends and other relatives via email or social media.
The cost of video streaming services varies wildly, with some funeral homes charging up to $300 and others offering it for free.
Pros and Cons of Streaming a Funeral
The primary advantage to streaming a funeral online is the fact that people who can't attend the funeral in person can still take part in the proceedings. For example, the funeral service of a photographer killed in Libya was streamed online, allowing the decedent's friends in other countries, such as Afghanistan and South Africa, to virtually attend when time, distance, and money would have otherwise prohibited them from participating. Likewise, people who are in poor health, have severe social anxiety, or have other issues preventing them attending can still view the service online.
Another benefit is that the video from the streaming can be saved and recorded to DVD and incorporated into a short movie about the person's life and contributions, providing a lifelong memento of the occasion for future generations.
However, unless you specify that the online video be made private, it will typically be available for anyone to see. So there is a risk that embarrassing things that may happen during the funeral will be broadcast online, potentially for the entire world to see. Additionally, many streaming video services have a chat feature so that participants can talk to each other or send condolences to family members. However, this can potentially be abused by online trolls or aggrieved individuals who may post offensive things that upset others.
All in all, with the proper controls, streaming a funeral online can be a great way to share the passing of a loved one with people who may not otherwise be able to attend the funeral. For more information about this option, contact a funeral home in your area, such as O'Halloran & Murphy Funeral & Cremation Services.