Zoos, kitties, Beatles: We check out which livestreams are worth your time (or not)
With many public venues closing, looks like you’ll have to get your entertainment online. We review some livestreaming options that don’t involve celebrities playing guitar or putting on makeup.
Our avenues for finding entertainment looks to be shrinking by the day. Starting Thursday (Mar 26) and until Apr 30, there'll be no more night clubs, discos, cinemas and theatres, where the risk of COVID-19 transmission is high.
But if we can’t sit down to watch something “live”, there’s one form of entertainment that’s been saving the day: Livestreaming.
With many dealing with the current work-from-home policies, watching stuff that’s being livestreamed has become one option to keep our sanity intact and retain a sense of humour during short breaks and after work.
If you’re tired of watching your fave pop star or YouTube celebrity play guitar, cook pasta, work out or put on makeup, here are some of the cutest, most interesting, or just plain odd livestreaming options you can distract yourself with – and we’re gauging their entertainment value, too.
VISIT A ZOO
With zoos in several countries affected by their own respective shutdowns, some have turned to livestreaming as a way for the public to catch a glimpse of some of their cutest critters.
Two, in particular, seem to stand out, with the first being the Melbourne Zoo’s snow leopard cubs. What’s good about this particular stream is that they have set up cameras not just in the main area but also in the leopard cubs’ nest box where they sleep.
Even if you don’t see them walking about, you can catch the cute little cubs sleeping peacefully, and it almost makes you want to reach through your computer screen to give them a little pet or two (even if they might try to bite your fingers off!).
They didn’t seem too active when we tuned in however, and one can only watch so many minutes of them sleeping before tuning out.
The other zoo to make it on this list is the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, which has a webcam showing its very own giant pandas, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang.
Pandas have always been so adorably lazy that you can be sure when we heard about this livestream, we instantly clicked on it.
While there isn’t that much to do besides watch the pandas chew on yet another stick of bamboo, the sheer cuteness of seeing a panda munching happily does make up for it. Somehow, watching the pandas seems to remind us of, well, us – just sitting around and eating at home.
Keep it up, Tian Tian and Mei Xiang, you two are the retirement dream.
Entertainment value: 4/5
GO ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI
Twitch is known in the gaming community as a leading livestreaming platform. What many might not be aware of, though, is that there’s a channel called WildEarth, which livestreams directly from a game reserve in South Africa.
The channel streams twice daily, at sunrise and sunset. You can catch animals such as wild elephants, giraffes and even a hyena or two.
The livestream is pretty great because it’s taken from a first-person perspective and not like the usual style of videos you might see from a nature documentary. The animals also seem comfortable enough to approach the car, much like an actual safari trip, which almost makes it seem as if you’re right there in the heart of Africa.
The livestream even has a guide to take you through it, which is really helpful when it comes to identifying certain animals or just learning some new and interesting information.
Overall, this seems like a great stream not just for animal lovers but also those who want to know more about wildlife in general while living in the concrete jungle that is Singapore.
Entertainment (and educational) value: 5/5
Watch it: https://www.twitch.tv/wildearth
SPOT SOME WANNABE BEATLES
Beatles fans are going to be amused. There’s a webcam set up right on the corner of Abbey Road, which allows you to view the entire crossing as seen on the cover of the eponymous album.
You’re not just looking at the crossing, of course. The highlight is watching tourists from all over the world try to recreate the album cover, to the irritation of passing motorists (yes, it is still an actual road).
But there are a couple of catches. The novelty wears off after a while. And because no one’s actually travelling or even going out, what’s there to see? That said, the website does have a Wall of Fame for some of the best shots that you can check out.
Entertainment value: 2/5 (but at least 4/5 on busy days)
EXPLORE OUTER SPACE
If you want to really get out of the house, why not go all the way and leave earth altogether.
NASA’s livestream, directly from the International Space Station (ISS), offers an unparalleled view of earth from the ISS’ orbit. It will make your jaw drop as you gaze at the vastness of the oceans. Those who are really into science and outer space will want to take a look, because this may be the closest thing many can get to being an astronaut.
The downside here is that well, if you’ve seen it once (or at least over 24 hours), then you’ve more or less seen it all. Maybe you could play a game of guessing the shape of clouds if you’re getting bored, but this time looking down instead of up. On a more sober note, take the opportunity to reflect on what’s happening in the world right now – you might get some flash of insight from “up there”.
Entertainment value: 3/5
DRIVE SOMEONE INSANE
That’s literally the URL of one website that encourages you to try and do exactly that.
Streaming from Texas, this interactive livestream comes straight from somebody’s home, which shows a desktop full of gadgets and a live reader that displays messages typed out by viewers. The objective here is to use the various buttons on the website to turn the lights on the desk on and off to, well, drive the owner “insane”.
It’s a fun game for a short few minutes, even if the stream is a little bit choppy. Still, seeing the message you typed out appearing on stream does carry a brief thrill, and playing with lights evokes long-lost feelings of childish mischief.
Truly a case of “nothing better to do is it?”
Entertainment value: 3/5
Watch it (and do it): http://www.drivemeinsane.com
KITTEN RESCUE CAMERA
Need we say more? Of course we’ve saved the best for last. If you love cats but never had the opportunity to adopt one, this stream will make you want to squeal in delight.
It’s run from a private room at the Kitten Rescue Sanctuary in Los Angeles, and you can catch the adorable little furballs tumble around, eat and play with each other.
As cat lovers, this stream is an instant win in our books, and even if you aren’t really a cat person, who can say no to these cute little creatures?
Entertainment value: 6/5