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Sinclair stations deploy bonded cellular backpacks for local newsgathering

LiveU, a pioneer in portable video-over-cellular newsgathering, has signed a long-term agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group to provide backpack-based transmission equipment for at least 20 of its television stations that produce local newscasts.

“LiveU’s LU60 technology provides us with an efficient and nimble way to get our reporters out into the field, bringing the news home to our viewers in the quickest manner possible,” said Del Parks, vice president of engineering and operations at Sinclair.

Sinclair’s decision to purchase the portable and compact LiveU systems began after Bob Shrader, chief news photographer with WZTV, tried out the gear in a round of field tests over several months in and around Nashville, Tenn.

“This system is rock solid and allows us to deliver reliable live transmissions from the field during our morning, midday and evening news shows,” Shrader said.

Mike Savello, LiveU’s vice president of sales, said Sinclair’s main concern was reliability and resiliency, meaning the system had to work well and work consistently when they needed to be live for a breaking story.

LiveU’s flagship LU60 product is a bonded 3G/4G LTE backpack with proprietary RF technology for transmitting up to 1080 HD video with very low latency. Bonded cellular technology, which came on the news scene in a major way over a year ago, has been challenging the cost-effectiveness of satellite trucks.

While satellite trucks offer more reliable service, they are far more expensive and don’t allow flexible over-the-should transmission of HD video. Cellular service, on the other hand, depends on available cellular bandwidth to be available when broadcasters use the equipment.

LiveU’s backpack/handheld solutions 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.

With customers in more than 60 countries across five continents, LiveU’s solutions have been used at high-profile events, including the 2012 US Presidential Campaign, 2011 British Royal Wedding, Academy Awards, GRAMMY Awards, Super Bowl, NBA All Star Weekend, Brazilian Carnival, World Cup in South Africa and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.