When I watch news on TV my attention is constantly drawn towards the ticker scrolling at the bottom of the screen, because I find it more convenient to read the headlines rather than wait for the news readers to read them aloud to me. Keeping track of current events on the Internet is a completely different affair. Here you are in complete control of what you want to read or see and when. RSS feeds serve this purpose. One way to read them is in your preferred news readers, at your own pace. Another way to read RSS feeds is to have them scroll in your desktop just like in TV news channels. That way you can nibble at the news one byte at a time, as they come without putting too much effort on your part.
In this article we will look at 5 awesome desktop news ticker that will stream custom news right to your desktop.
EasyDeskTicker docks to the top or bottom of the screen and displays news as a scrolling line from a collection of RSS feeds. The desktop is resized and shifted so that the dock is always visible and always on top. When you find something that looks interesting you can click on it to open the full article in your web browser. You can pause the ticker by clicking or hovering the mouse pointer over it. Or minimize it by pressing the middle mouse button, and quickly change feeds by hitting the F2 key. You can also scroll the ticker back and forth using the scroll wheel.
EasyDeskTicker does not look very polished, but is highly customizable – you can adjust the frame size, scroll speed, font size and color, ticker position, message divider, show summary, mouse behavior and more. It is also possible to add multiple ticker lines, each of which can be customized independent of each other.
NewsBliss is a fantastic looking desktop news ticker. It can be made to attach to the top or bottom of the screen or as a floating newsbar. Clicking on a news item opens a box with a preview of the article. You can pause the ticker or skip to the next feed using buttons on the ticker.
The program comes built in with thousands of feeds grouped into all sorts of topics you can think of – cars, beauty, entertainment, blogs, gardening, humor, medicine, law, parenting …. it’s exhaustive. Someday I have to explore this list. It’s an amazing collection. You can also add your custom feeds or import an OPML file.
One thing I like about NewsBliss is that you can view the messages currently in the stream in form of a list. It’s a good way to check if there is anything interesting.
You can group feeds together, hide feeds older then a certain age, setup alerts for new items etc. But there is nothing you can do to customize the appearance, not even the scroll speed. The default speed is comfortable, but may appear a little slow for some people.
All in all, a very good news ticker.
FeedRoller is a vertically scrolling, as opposed to horizontally scrolling, news ticker that can be placed either at the top or the bottom of the screen. The ticker displays random feed items, one at a time, from an assortment of feeds that you configure to use with FeedRoller. The ticker hides when you mouse over and comes into view when the mouse pointer is moved away. You can customize the age of the news items displayed, the pause interval of each item, scrolling speed, colors, etc.
A variety of customizable hotkeys allows you to pause the ticker or open the current item in the browser using the keyboard. When you don’t want to be disturbed for some time, you can suspend the ticker for a set period of time with the push of key.
Other features include OPML import/export and auto-suspend when full screen application or games are used. FeedRoller is available in the portable format too.
Snackr is a cross platform Adobe AIR based news ticker that can scroll feeds either horizontally or vertically across your monitor. Snackr will pull random items from your feed list and scroll them at your preferred speed on the monitor. When you find an item you like, you simply click on it, and a small preview box appears with a link to the post or the article itself. Additionally, you can share the article on Twitter, Digg etc right from the preview box.
The nice part is that it can connect to your Google Reader account to pull unread feeds. So you don’t have to setup your reading list again. Alternatively, you can import an OPML file of your feeds.
Snackr may have a few points on the plus side, but there are also a few glaring omissions. Customization option is limited – apart from scroll speed and transparency, there is nothing much you can adjust. Vital customization options like font size and background color are off limit. Besides, the ticker obstructs view of anything underneath. Unlike FeedRoller which moves away when you bring the mouse pointer, or EasyDeskTicker which shifts the entire desktop up or down, Snackr just stays smack on top of everything.
If you are looking for just one source of quality news, you will like BBC Desktop News Ticker. It’s easy to set up – simply choose the news topics you are interested in, set update interval and optionally the scroll speed and you are done.
The ticker has two view options. You can either view the latest news headlines in a ticker at the bottom or top of your desktop, or receive hourly updates in a small pop-up window.
You cannot add custom feeds, naturally – this ticker is strictly BBC. But if are a news addict, you don’t need anything else. You can totally customize your news feeds you topic or geographical area. You can also receive live sports updates, such as scores, and even BBC programme alerts.