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Sprint adds LiveU’s bonded cellular system to its wireless service offerings

Sprint has become the first cellular carrier to offer professional-grade HD video transmission to its enterprise customers nationwide. This means broadcasters will have access to pre-configured data packages that include LiveU’s LU60 backpack system and LU40i handheld live video transmission solution.

With LiveU technology, Sprint said it would soon offer a mobile video transmission solution that delivers HD video quality and combines multiple 3G and 4G air cards for one resilient uplink. The company has signed an agreement with LiveU to include LiveU’s HD live video transmission solutions as part of Sprint’s Machine to Machine (M2M) services portfolio.

“Bringing innovative solutions to market is a cornerstone of Sprint’s business philosophy,” said Wayne Ward, vice president in the Sprint Emerging Solutions Group. “With the LiveU technology, we can showcase the use of our 3G and 4G networks for a demanding application and generate new revenues for our companies. We can also strengthen our edge over the satellite industry and other competitors with a unique video offering, allowing us to offer an even richer product portfolio.”

Bonded cellular video transmission systems, which can take the place of traditional microwave trucks or satellite uplinks to send live footage from the field back to the station for ENG operations, has been gaining favor with broadcasters looking for reliable, fast and cost-effective ways to bring the news home to viewers.

The Broadcasting Division of Gannett has supplied LiveU’s LU60 backpack cellular transmission units for the local ENG operations at the majority of its 23 television stations across the country (as part of a group-wide deal). Gannett’s stations reach 21 million households, covering 18.2 percent of the U.S. population.

“LiveU provides our local news teams with an efficient and cost-effective solution for enhancing our award-winning news operations,” said Jeff Johnson, Vice President, Technology, Gannett Broadcasting. “After testing LiveU’s backpack technology over the past few months at select stations including three of Gannett’s largest markets and using them for a variety of news and weather events, we’ve received great feedback from our news teams on the quality, ease of use and flexibility of the LU60. And LiveU’s support has been very responsive whenever we’ve needed them. Our aim is to make everyone ‘live on their shift’.”

At the recent NAB Show, Gannett unveiled its new “9NewsNow” Mobile Newsroom van at WUSA-TV (the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC), with LiveU technology integrated into a SUV-style van. The innovative mobile unit can go live from wherever it can get a clear cellular signal and be stationed a lot closer to a news event than a traditional microwave truck.

LiveU’s flagship LU60 product is a bonded 3G/4G LTE backpack with proprietary RF technology for superior resiliency, up to 1080 HD video and sub-second latency for a satellite-like experience, according to the company. The products include multiple 4G LTE/3G, HSPA+, WiMAX and Wi-Fi cellular links, which are optimized for maximum video quality based on the available network conditions. LiveU’s LU40i uplink product weighs less than 1.5 pounds (700 grams), with SDI, analog and HDMI outputs. With up to six network connections, the bonded LU40i offers 4G LTE/3G, WiMAX, Wi-Fi and LAN video transmission in a substantially smaller form factor.