As Wichita’s top-rated
television news station, KWCH’s cutting-edge
newsroom has a history of testing
promising new technologies to provide
the best news coverage for our viewers.
Whether it’s software to cut operational
costs and allow us to hire more journalists,
technology that offers clearer images, or
equipment that allows us to get information
to viewers faster, we want to be the
first station in the nation to employ it.
This is why we agreed to beta test the
new Comrex LiveShot Video IP codec mobile
live unit. Our crews were eager to see if
what we had been hearing about the technology
would benefit our operation.
QUICK SETUP AND OPERATION
We found that the unit is compact and
easy to run. The video inputs (HD-SDI, composite
and HDMI) and audio inputs (embedded
or analog XLR), along with a built-in IFB
for reporters, work together to make this a
piece of gear our crews can grab quickly and
set up in a matter of minutes. The LiveShot
Portable fits onto a standard Anton/Bauer
battery plate and—unlike older portable
live units—requires little power to run. We
use Anton/Bauer ProPak 14 batteries, and
their digital readout showed a nine-hour run
when attached to the LiveShot Portable.
We also like the minimal transmission
latency associated with the LiveShot—less
than one second of delay seems to be the
norm—and the transmitted images are high
quality. We mostly use the LiveShot’s included
Wi-Fi modem to connect to a Verizon 4G
LTE Mi-Fi Hotspot.
In the past, if we wanted to go live over
IP, we’d have to plug a camera into a video/
audio device feeding a computer and put
up with less than perfect video. The Comrex
unit is much easier to use and provides
image and sound quality almost the same as
that from a traditional hard-wired live unit.
PLAYS WELL WITH SMARTPHONES
Another advantage with the Comrex Live-
Shot is its smartphone application (available
for iOS and Android), which crews can use
to control the unit. If we need to adjust the
image quality or bit rate, we’re can easily adjust
the settings with the app.
Working with the folks at Comrex has
also been a pleasure. As part of our beta testing,
we’ve been saving our live shots and
providing feedback on any issues encountered.
After a few months of running Live-
Shot, we asked about some software and/
or hardware upgrades and the company
shipped us new production units of the
LiveShot Portable and the LiveShot Studio
Rackmount to continue our testing.
To date, we’ve used this new technology
in many varying scenarios: live shots in the
Wichita metro area, live coverage after the
governor’s state of the state address from
capital building, and or coverage of breaking
news in a small town where Internet access
has sometimes been known to be spotty. The
unit has given reliable service with surprisingly
minimal delay time and relatively high
audio/video quality for the past four months.
We’ve been very pleased and think that the
unit is certainly worth the investment.
Brian Gordon is chief photojournalist
at KWCH television. He may be contacted
For additional information, contact
Comrex at 978-784-1776 or visit www.comrex.com.