New Orleans' WWL Streams Mardi Gras Parade

For Web aficionados that didn't trek to New Orleans on Fat Tuesday, local CBS affiliate WWL and Verizon teamed up to provide viewers a glimpse with the first, live virtual-view of this year's Mardi Gras parade from the float of the Krewe of Rex, the King of the Carnival.

WWL and Verizon developed "Rex Cam 2003," a video streaming system composed of a digital camcorder, a laptop and a wireless phone modem card connected to the Internet via high-speed Verizon Wireless Express Network. A WWL reporter beamed live video via from the Rex Float #19 and as the parade proceeded toward Canal Street, more than 20,000 viewers logged on to watch.

"Until recently, wireless speeds could only deliver 14.4 kilobytes per second," said Jerry Seregni, WWL's "Digital Gumbo" technology reporter, who has previously ridden the float and uploaded digital images shot with a digital camera to WWL's Web site. Verizon's Express Network, whose speeds can reach 144 kpbs with speeds averaging 40-60 kbps, became the first national high-speed data network in the U.S. last year and is available in over 900 communities.