Expensive News Vans Give Way To The Slingbox

from the in-with-the-small dept

A San Francisco news station has devised a clever way of reducing the cost of broadcasting video live from a news scene. Instead of using expensive cameras, and vans filled with gear, the station is using cheap cameras, EV-DO cards and Slingboxes, to transmit video footage back to the newsroom. It’s hard to imagine that the quality of the footage is quite as good, but the setup makes a lot of sense for things like weather and traffic cameras, which don’t require particularly high resolution. It’s also safe to assume that the quality will improve over time. The story is also a good example of how we continue to benefit from Moore’s law. Not only is cheap technology driving down the cost of computers, but computers themselves (repackaged in various forms like digital cameras and Slingboxes) are replacing traditional equipment that is much more expensive. In fact, television is one of the industries that’s most affected by this phenomenon, as video production can increasingly be done on a laptop without needing an expensive studio. In addition to the cost savings, there’s also an environmental angle, as all of this equipment that gets replaced requires a lot of power to run (particularly the news vans), further driving home the point that IT is itself green tech.

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Comments on “Expensive News Vans Give Way To The Slingbox”

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ehrichweiss says:

Re: Amiga

I’m an old Amiga fan(well I used to be till used Amiga’s cost more than a used SGI with 10 times the processing/video power) and while the Video Toaster, etc. did high end video editing, that’s not the point here. The point is that what used to take up a huge portion of your computer desk(or in my case about 1/2 of my studio) can fit in a small section of your kid’s backpack and leave them room for books.

ranon says:

Just wanted to raise an issue about the reduction in power. Agreed that there is a large decrease in power per camera unit required. But with the units becoming cheaper there are more of them. So saying that it reduces power overall is not true. Actually given the way that digital gadgets spread, I would say that there is an increase in power.

ehrichweiss says:

Re: Re:

The power required for a single broadcast quality camera is enough to put 10 standard cameras on the street and still have energy to power your cell phone for a month.

A broadcast camera in a news van will also require a mixer, possibly a non-linear editor(NLE), possibly lights, and definitely a transmitter, which will in turn require a controlled climate to keep the frequency stable. That will be significantly more power consumed compared to the setup being discussed and that is NOT including the energy required for the van.

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