A woman texting on a smartphone


Written by Matt Frazer


For those who can’t attend a funeral in person, webcasting makes it possible to attend virtually. Increasingly popular, webcasts of funerals are the latest fusion of technology and personal service.


Just about everyone who uses a computer is familiar with the concept of webcasting. Business meetings, seminars and university courses are all offered in real time, broadcast over the internet and archived for access at another time by anyone with scheduling conflicts.


Although it might seem a little unusual at first glance, webcasting is also ideal for funeral services. Family members and friends are routinely separated by distance, and sometimes they’re unable to attend a funeral in person. Many circumstances can prevent people from traveling in such a situation, such as work obligations, family needs, illness, the frailty of the elderly, soldiers stationed overseas, or advanced pregnancy that makes travel inadvisable.


Sometimes the difficulty is economic, with the price of gas or an airline ticket making a long trip out of the question. Although they would otherwise attend, those experiencing tough times financially are forced to stay at home.


With advanced technology making funeral webcasting simpler and more accessible, more funeral homes are offering to webcast funeral services. Funeral directors invest in a few pieces of equipment such as a camera and devices to connect it to a computer, and software to enable them to stream the service in real time online while recording it at the same time.


After the funeral, the video is usually made available for a length of time agreed upon by the family and the funeral director. Depending upon the needs and wishes of the family, this time period can be as short as a month or two, or as long as several years.


In addition to viewing the service online in real time, or watching the archived video, virtual attendees are able to leave condolence messages on the funeral website, and often can also upload photos or even video clips. This exchange of messages and memories can be very comforting for all involved.


Given the emotions that can overwhelm those who do attend the funeral in person, they often take advantage of the opportunity to watch the video of the service online, at a later time. They may listen to a moving eulogy or a personal tribute that was offered at the service, appreciating it even more in a quiet time at home. They might also note the presence of others at the funeral that they might have missed at the time, and have the opportunity to acknowledge and take comfort in the support of others.


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