WDIV Goes Mobile With Streambox

August 24, 2007
WDIV (Detroit) set sail with its new Streambox ACT-L3 Portable Video Transport solution this summer, bringing real-time video from the Highlander, a 154-foot topsail schooner, during the 250-sailboat “Port Huron to Mackinac” race.

Now incorporated into WDIV’s regular newsgathering operations, the Streambox encoder enables a single reporter with a camera to drive to the scene, set up the portable encoder, plug in a MiniDV camera, and stream content to the Internet or live broadcast. The small size of the Streambox enabled WDIV to stream live pictures from the boat over a wireless EVDO connection, or a BGAN satellite link when the EVDO service was out of range.

“The portable encoder from Streambox was attractive to us both because of the ease with which it integrates into the broadcast workflow and because it’s an affordable solution ideally suited to delivery of real-time video over IP,” said Jeffrey Liebman, news operations manager at WDIV. “It’s a versatile system that significantly outperforms videophone technology, and it has given us the means to get breaking news on the air almost immediately.”

The ACT-L3 Portable Video Transport solution sends high-quality video over low-data-rate connections such as BGAN, 3G networks, and other IP and satellite networks.

For WDIV, the Port Huron to Mackinac race represented a challenge in delivering video where the course took the Highlander up to 10 miles into Lake Huron, where wind and waves jeopardize cell phone coverage and where satellite coverage can be expensive or difficult to maintain. WDIV previously covered the boat race using a videophone and satellite dishes enclosed in bubbles and anchored to the boat with suction cups, so that video could be sent from the boat only when it was leaning to one particular side.

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