By Jerry Chandler
Last year, 2016’s Dragon Con had two announcements that made certain events at the convention so much more convenient for not only attendees to see, but, in one case, for almost everyone else in the Atlanta area as well. Last year the parade was televised live by Atlanta’s CW for the first time. This allowed everyone to be able to see the parade as it happened whether they could find a spot on the ever more increasingly packed sidewalks on Saturday morning or not. The other 2016 announcement was an even bigger deal for many. That had to do with DragonConTV.
DCTV launched its streaming service in 2016 before the start of the convention. Prior to the convention, it was something of a best of from the archives service. You could see programming put up on the service that consisted of panels and events from prior years, but the service would officially go live at last year’s con. This was a huge deal for many attendees. DCTV is a much beloved part of Dragon Con for many. While waiting for various panels to start, you could enjoy the now famous bumper bits on the screens set up around some of the panel rooms. Additionally, for those staying in the host hotels, you could get DCTV on your hotel TV. That meant you could in some cases go up to your room and see panels that had filled up before you could get to the room they were being held in. It also meant that you could relax in the evening by viewing the day’s highlights.
But a part of the DCTV setup prior to 2016 was that it was limited to just the host hotels. It was basically a closed circuit TV system. You could be a Dragon Con attendee in any number of downtown Atlanta area hotels and not have access to it. You could live in the area and ride in every day, but that also meant no DCTV. So 2016’s announcement that DCTV would be available as a streaming service to anyone attending the convention who was willing to part with a measly $10 was fantastic. It didn’t matter where you were now. So long as you had a subscription and a device you could stream on, you could see DCTV anywhere. Moreover, beyond the earlier mentioned pre-convention availability, the streaming DCTV package was advertised as being active for some time after the convention in order to allow attendees to enjoy the sights and sounds of Dragon Con for weeks after the convention was over and they’d all gone home.
But, again, this was only available only if you were an attendee. Part of the deal for the streaming package in 2016 was that it required a valid 2016 membership to the convention in order to qualify for the service. This year, you don’t actually have to be attending the convention or have a valid membership for the 2017 convention in order to be able to purchase the service. This year, anyone can get the streaming DCTV service to enjoy.
But it will cost a little bit more for those of you who want it and don’t have a membership for the 2017 convention. To quote convention co-chair Rachel Reeves from the official Dragon Con Media Relations press release from earlier this week.
“Our fans have been asking for this kind of service for several years, but it took some time to put into place,” Reeves said. “We had to solve both the technical issues associated with streaming a convention of our size as well as contractual obligations with our guests.”
A limited version of the service to test the technology was offered to members only at last year’s convention.
The live streaming service, nearly identical to the video carried on the in-house channels of the five host hotels, will be available for $30 to fans who cannot attend the convention. Members – those purchasing at least a single day Dragon Con badge – will be able to subscribe for $10.”
Personally, I think this is a wonderful development. For those of you who, like me, bought their membership and were planning to go but had life happen while they were making plans, this is going to be a great way to get to still enjoy some of the things we were looking forward to seeing and doing this Labor Day weekend. If you’re one of the many who were just unable to make plans to attend this year, this now gives you the ability to see some of what will be happening at this year’s convention for a really sweet price. Depending on your schedule at home that weekend, you can even see some of it pretty much as it’s happening.
The streaming service will be available for pre-convention purchase for members at the Dragon Con online store through Saturday, August 26th. For those of you not attending this year who have not purchased a Dragon Con membership, there is a separate location online to purchase the service for 2017. Links will be provided at the end of this article.
The streaming service will start Thursday, August 31st at 12PM. The service will conclude on Monday, September 4th at 2PM.
But wait! I hear you looking at that and wondering why you should pay for a few days of service when if you’re at the con you might barely see it over the busy weekend and if you’re not there you may still not have enough time watch after paying a slightly higher price tag. Well, because that’s just when the live stream is scheduled. There’s going to be more to it than just the live stream, however.
Again, quoting from the press release.
“In addition to watching DragonConTV live over the Labor Day weekend, a DVR feature will allow subscribers to revisit their favorite programming for three months following the convention, through December 4th. The “Dragon Con DVR” will also contain additional convention coverage that wasn’t broadcast live, as well as select “classic” programming from past conventions.”
So, for your $10 or your $30 you’ll be getting months of access to Dragon Con 2017 programming as well as a few blasts from the past. You’ll have all the time you need to see anything you missed during the weekend stream, you’ll get things from the 2017 show that weren’t in the original weekend stream, you’ll get some classic stuff added in, and you’ll be able to enjoy them at home and with your friends as many times as you want for months after the convention closes its doors for another year.
Personally, I loved the streaming service last year and I have every intention of getting it this year. I would absolutely recommend to everyone, and, now that you don’t need to have a membership for the current year’s Dragon Con, now I absolutely can recommend it to everyone.
This is not only a great way to add to your enjoyment at the convention if you’re not in a host hotel, but a great way to keep enjoying the convention long after you’ve gone home. Or, if you’re having to sit a year out, this is a great way to still be able to get a little taste of the convention we all love so much.
The Dragon Con Streaming Membership at the Dragon Con Store.
The DragonConTV Streaming page.
The Press Release with more details.
An interview with one of the people at DCTV, Dragon Con TV’s official interviewer Chris “Crispy” Lloyd.
Jerry Chandler has been going to Dragon Con since 2006. Much to the surprise of many who know him and know of his devotion to Dragon Con, he had to be first conned and then dragged kicking and screaming to his first Dragon Con by his wife. He is forever grateful to her for that and can’t imagine at this point in his life what his life would be like without Dragon Con and the many, many wonderful people he’s met there and become friends with. He regrets that life happened while he was making plans this year, and his family won’t be able to attend the 2017 Dragon Con. He does hope though that everyone else has one of the best times they have this year over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta.