Traditionally, satellite was the broadcasters’ go-to resource for delivering real-time video. Any time there was an important event or news story, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see dozens of satellite vans lined up on the sidelines, ready to provide live coverage. In today’s connected world, however, that scenario is quickly changing. With the proliferation of the Internet and second-screen devices, such as smartphones and tablets, 3G and 4G cellular wireless network infrastructure has emerged as a superior method for sending live video signals, in most instances. This article explains the three key advantages of using 3G/4G cellular wireless networks for broadcast applications compared with satellite, concluding with a discussion on which features are most important to look for when choosing a digital mobile newsgathering (DMNG) system.
Today’s broadcasters are always looking for ways to cut down on bandwidth costs, especially with Ultra HD and 4K video on the horizon. One important reason to choose 3G and 4G cellular wireless networks for live video delivery is that satellite bandwidth is significantly more expensive. With 3G/4G cellular wireless networks now available all over the world, broadcasters can deliver the same amount of content, with equal or better video quality, at a fraction of the cost of satellite.
Broadcasters can’t always predict what the network conditions are going to be like at the scene of a news story. A reason broadcasters are increasingly turning to 3G/4G cellular wireless networks over satellite is because they are prevalent across every corner of the world, offering increased flexibility. Whether it’s one of the largest cities in the world or a small town, broadcasters can easily tap into 3G/4G networks and find the bandwidth necessary to deliver high-quality video coverage.
Ease of Use
Setting up a satellite signal in a news van can be complex and time-consuming, and broadcasters don’t have a second to spare when they’re delivering real-time news coverage. With 3G/4G networks, live video distribution is instantaneous!
Most Important Features in a DMNG system
Clearly, 3G/4G networks have made a substantial impact on the way that broadcasters deliver live video content. However, in some instances, broadcasters may still need to utilize satellite. For example, 3G/4G networks often become oversaturated at major sporting events, making it challenging to send a crystal-clear HD signal. If the quality is low, viewers are likely to turn the channel off, which can lead to a loss of advertising revenue in the future.
For this reason, finding a DMNG system that can detect and aggregate (bonding together) multiple IP-based networks (e.g., 3G, 4G, WiMax, WiFi, Ethernet, and satellite) is essential. This feature allows broadcasters to take advantage of every IP network in their immediate vicinity as well as guaranteed satellite bandwidth, resulting in enhanced video quality for live TV streams.
Broadcasters should also look for a DMNG system that features a lightweight, portable design that is easy to use and deploy. A system that can be mounted on camera, in a newsgathering vehicle, or stashed in a backpack will enable additional flexibility in the field.
Erwan Gasc is CEO of AVIWEST.