SNG Costs Less With BGAN

We’ve seen live or near-live video news reports on CNN or the BBC where a journalist uses an inexpensive terminal to uplink to a satellite — alone. No truck, camera operator, teleprompter or boom microphone. At first the frame rate was less than perfect, but hey, it’s live and very cheap. Packs up quickly, too.

Inmarsat’s BGAN service is getting better now. Upgraded equipment on the ground, and in orbit. Traditionally, they’ve promoted themselves by helping extremely remote locations connect, like this Polish expedition on Mt. Everest.



As with the Slingbox Traffic Web Cam in San Francisco, TV news people are getting more creative in using this new technology. We read in Broadcasting & Cable last week how WDIV in Detroit covered the Bayview-Mackinac Yacht Race from Lake Huron:

When WDIV Detroit covered the Bayview-Mackinac yacht race last month, it didn’t rely on traditional microwave or satellite equipment to pull live video from the middle of Lake Huron.

Instead, the Post-Newsweek NBC affiliate used a combination of IP-based streaming technology and wireless EVDO and broadband satellite transmitters to provide live broadcast and Website coverage of the four-day race, which drew more than 250 competing yachts.

WDIV is one of a growing number of news organizations to use the Streambox from Seattle-based Streambox Inc., an IP-based streaming device designed with broadcasters in mind. Costing around $20,000, the system includes a laptop loaded with proprietary compression software that is used to encode and stream images and a rack-mounted receive device that features professional video connections and is designed to interface with conventional broadcast equipment.




$20,000? Even the smallest SNG Trucks cost much more than that. How long before Streambox and NewTek’s "truck-in-a-box" change the game? Probably sooner than we think.