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.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Jerk, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:24am


    Wonder how long it'll be until someone files a lawsuit because they 'patented the concept of using portable video for news broadcasts'


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    nunya_bidness, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:39am

    laughs at own jokes

    wonder how long it will be before someone makes a lame patent joke about this article, just to sell spam...


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Poster, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:49am

    Re: Patents

    Just what we need, more Spinning Sign Patents.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    nunya_bidnass, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:49am


    Wonder how it could be spam if he didn't put a link in?

    Oh, wait, maybe he uses those cookies to keep his info pre-entered.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Charlie, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:53am

    How long until their EV-DO provider notifies them that streaming video is against their terms of service? The article mentioned $60/mo for the EVDO card, which implies they didn't work out a special contract (which would likely have had higher rates for an exception).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    nunya_badass, May 9th, 2007 @ 9:59am

    Re: idiot

    the link in the name is some advertising site, you retard.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Shaggz, May 9th, 2007 @ 10:03am


    The Commodore Amiga provided high-end video editing, in the mid 80's. They used it for those crazy wipes on Home improvement. This is old news. Please move on. Nothing to see here.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    nunya_bitchass, May 9th, 2007 @ 10:08am

    Huh, he must really have done something to p_i_ss YOU off...

    My name isn't advertising, but I stand by what it IS for...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    nunya_bidness, May 9th, 2007 @ 10:12am


    I was referring to the link in the Anonymous Jerk reply.
    You guys need to chill out.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Ajax 4Hire, May 9th, 2007 @ 11:10am

    You are right, hotlink on "Anonymous Jerk"

    how clever.
    See if this works.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2007 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: idiot

    HA HA

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    ranon, May 9th, 2007 @ 1:19pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    ehrichweiss, May 9th, 2007 @ 2:38pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    ehrichweiss, May 9th, 2007 @ 2:47pm


    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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