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Feeding the Beast The world is hungry for instant news and entertainment, but the latest technology is keeping it well fed by Lorna Garrett, Director, Garland Partners Limited I t might sound cliché, but it is definitely true: the news never sleeps. With a third of the year still left, 2013 has already seen a host of events that have captured the world’s attention. From the anticipation of a royal baby to the devastation of hurricanes, tornados and bombings, from encounters on the sports fields to clashes on the battlefields, whatever is happening, the world expects to see it as it plays out. Not only do viewers want it live, they want to be provided with a host of peripheral information: reactions, history, opinions, instructions, and statistics. One technology helping to meet this demand for immediate news is portable cellular 3/4G video uplinking. Broadcasters and online media outlets are using a range of devices — from backpacks to smartphones — to capture broadcast- quality video that is transmitted in high or standard definition instantly from any location. For those needing to be moving or on scene quickly and who don’t have a reliable fixed link — or cannot afford one — this is the solution. The pioneer developer in this field has been US-based LiveU. BBC News has been using video-over-cellular technology for several years with units now deployed across the UK. To further enhance its global newsgathering abilities, we recently assisted the broadcaster in expanding its use of the technology into several other countries. BBC News uses video uplinking units over a variety of networks, including 4G/LTE. Numerous other global news agencies have been using LiveU’s units to bring coverage to viewers of events the scale of Hurricane Sandy, the Boston bombing, and the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado. On a small side street in London, hundreds of media outlets spent days camped out around a hospital to claim a space from which to announce the birth of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first child. While most media outlets were limited in their movements because they had to stay in the line of sight of their satellite trucks, UK production company Kickoff TV Productions Ltd, used a LiveU LU40S that let them move around the area. The result: much more compelling and innovative coverage, including numerous man-on-the-street interviews. 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 81 SEPTEMBER 2013 For global broadcasters, high-quality content from foreign bureaus needs to be relayed back to the home studio fast. Point-to-point contribution encoders and decoders are a cost- effective solution, with companies such as Teracue, NTT, VBrick and Media Excel continuously making improvements to their offerings to meet the changing demands and opportunities. Hosting a live event is another way the global audiences’ thirst for immediate news and entertainment is being fed. Meeting this demand are the technologies providing reliable, high-quality web streaming platforms from such providers as Allegro, Media Excel, and Cisco. The sports industry has taken advantage of both video-over-cellular technology and web streaming to build their audience by providing expanded coverage for fans. British Eurosport intercuts a range of UK-specific content with its overall Eurosport feed. Viewer experience of such events as the French Open tennis, MCE British Superbikes, Masters Snooker, and the Tour de France has been enhanced with player interviews, practice match coverage and personal moments. We have worked closely with several Premiership football clubs to provide live video coverage of matches at home and abroad, including coverage of several pre-season tours of the Far East and America this summer. LiveU’s cellular uplinking technology has proven a real advantage to just ‘pitch up and stream,’ cutting preparation time and cost. In addition, pre- and post-match interviews with managers and players are being transmitted, often using portable H.264 HD contribution links, an encoder at the ground and decoder in the editing studio. Sports franchises have been offering this live content on their websites. The result is enhanced communication with fans.