Live shots via the Internet extend newsgathering reach

Move over ENG and SNG. Here comes "LNG."

LNG stands for laptop newsgathering, and it's the latest wave in a line of technology used to deliver images and sound from reporters in the field.

But unlike expensive point-to-point microwave links and satellite uplinking antennas and transmitters, LNG requires far less expense. All that's needed is a camera, a laptop computer, some proprietary software and an Internet connection.

Television journalists with the BBC have recently been equipped with one of the latest laptop newsgathering software applications, QuickLink, which allows them to begin sending live reports home.

Correspondents simply log on with any IP connection, like a satellite phone, ISDN line or Wi-Fi connection, and they are ready to send their report back to the newsroom live.

The latest version of the software supports live streaming of reports from correspondents. A previous version simply allowed journalists to transmit edited reports from their laptop computers.

"BBC Newsgathering now has Quicklink systems deployed around the world," said Peter Mayne, executive editor of BBC Newsgathering. "The system was used extensively during the Iraq war by our news teams who were in the most forward positions and being in the thick of the action needed to travel with the smallest and lightest equipment possible. We will be updating all our systems with the latest software to take advantage of the new facility that provides live feeds at low data rates."

The QuickLink software that supports live shots is scaleable depending on the available IP connection. It can operate at below 64 Kb/s and rise to 1 Mb/s and beyond. The greater the bandwidth, the better the picture quality.

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