Streaming CES: How We Did It (from TechCrunch)

Notice how the pack has six(!) modems, each connecting to different mobile networks. In order to manage your risks, you have to be able to spread them!

Amplify’d from

As the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show wraps up today, we’d like to share a few secrets. The CrunchGear writing team, with support from TechCrunch TV, provided more than 20 hours of live CES video coverage, taking our viewers right to the industry and media access only exhibit floor. For a look at video highlights, check out Hundreds of Twitter questions were answered in real-time, giving our viewers a chance to interact with the company reps and win some giveaways. We also got a lot of questions on how we did it.

The traditional, old-school way of broadcasting a live event would involve driving up a satellite truck with a C or Ku band transmitter. Or, getting a special expensive video fiber circuit connected at the venue. But, that would only allow a video feed from a single location. Otherwise we’d need multiple circuits or time to drive and set-up the sat truck at different locations.

We used a LiveU mobile package provided by our live streaming partner, Ustream. The livepack fits in a custom designed backpack. It takes a firewire input containing video and audio from a camera. We used our Panasonic HVX200a camera and some wireless microphones and a camera LED light. The livepack has 6 data modems and attempts to connect to 3 different mobile phone networks (ATT, Verizon, and Sprint). The signal is put back together by LiveU and then sent to Ustream for live streaming distribution.

The LiveU livepack we used has been out on the market for a year and a half. It’s used by streaming video providers Ustream and Livestream, in addition to broadcast networks. It’s been used at all kinds of sports event and the Grammy Awards. A new HD livepack started shipping last week. It contains 6 to 12 cellular connections (including T-Mobile), and supports Verizon LTE 4G and Sprint and ClearWire WiMax 4G. The new units also feature SDI, HDMI, and analog input, in addition to FireWire. And they output SD and HD to 1080i.



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