Mobile phone video helps Fox News break NYC plane crash story

When a small plane crashed into an apartment building in New York City last week, Fox News broke the story with live video and audio commentary captured on a Palm Treo mobile phone.

Near the crash scene on another assignment, Fox cameraman Scott Wilder broke the story by transmitting video and audio narration directly from his pocket-sized Treo to the Fox News network.

Fox News had been experimenting with mobile phone video technology in recent weeks and had equipped its news headquarters in New York with CometVision, a mobile video delivery technology designed by Ohio-based Comet Video Technologies.

Comet Video’s software operates on a Palm Treo 700-series mobile phone equipped with the Windows Mobile operating system. The software allows the Treo to transmit low-bandwidth video over standard non-3G mobile networks.

The process, Comet CEO Howard Becker said, includes automatically connecting the Treo to a computer at the Fox News studio, and sending an e-mail to a producer or anyone else at the network, who has a link to the live stream.

Fox first used the CometVision technology on Oct. 2 during coverage of the Amish school shooting. It was later used on other stories, with varying video quality because of mobile network congestion at the time of transmission.